Colombo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday assured Sri Lanka of India’s full support to further cement the bilateral ties between two neighbours.
He reiterated India’s commitment to economic prosperity of Sri Lankan citizens and to deepen bilateral developmental cooperation. Addressing the International Vesak Day function here, Prime Minister Modi said, “We are at a moment of great opportunity in our ties with Sri Lanka. For us most relevant benchmark for success of our friendship is your progress and success.”
“As you make important choices for harmony and progress of our society, you will find in India a friend and partner that will support your nation-building efforts. I believe we are at a moment of great opportunity in our ties with Sri Lanka,” he added.
Talking about the Buddhist links between India and Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister said that the friendship between India and Sri Lanka was etched in time by the “Great Master- Buddha”.
“Buddhism imparts an ever present radiance to our relationship. Vesak is an occasion for us to celebrate the unbroken shared heritage of Buddhism. Buddhism and its various strands are deep seated in our governance, culture and philosophy,” said the Prime Minister.
He said the countries of South, Central, South East and East Asia were proud of their Buddhist links traced to the land of Buddha. He further lauded Sri Lanka’s Buddhist connection and said, “Sri Lanka takes pride in being among the most important nerve centres of Buddhist teachings and learning.”
Talking about the bilateral and economic realations, Prime Minister Modi said that “economic and social well being of people of Sri Lanka is linked with that of 1.25 billion Indians and security of our societies is indivisible”. He further mentioned India’s aid to Sri Lanka for the development projects. “India’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka amounts to USD 2.6 billion and its aim is to support Sri lanka in realizing peaceful, prosperous and secure future for its people,” said Prime Minister Modi.
India’s total development portfolio to Sri Lanka now exceeds $2.6 billion, of which the grant component is more than $436 million. India’s financial assistance to the hospital complex at Dickoya, in the central Nuwara Eliya district is a part of India’s total assistance to Sri Lanka.
The Prime Minister also said that India’s rapid growth could bring dividends for entire region, especially in Sri Lanka. “In infrastructure, connectivity, transport and energy, we are poised to scale up our cooperation,” he said.