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India-Sri Lanka Sign 4 Agreements
Mar 17, 2015

In the last leg of his recent visit to three Indian Ocean countries Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and discussed bilateral and issues of regional importance. India and Sri Lanka signed four agreements on visa, customs, youth development and building Rabindranath Tagore memorial.

This was Narendra Modi's first tour to Sri Lanka. His visit to Sri Lanka was the first bilateral tour by an Indian Prime Minister since 1987.

Key Points

  • The agreement on cooperation between customs authorities will simplify trade and reduce non-tariff barriers on both sides.

  • India will provide assistance for the construction of the Rabindranath Tagore auditorium at Ruhuna University in Matara.

  • The Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in youth affairs is an important long term investment in the relationship of both countries.

  • India stands ready to help Trincomalee become a petroleum hub. IOC and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation have agreed to jointly develop the Upper Tank Farm of the China Bay Installation in Trincomalee on mutually agreed terms. A Joint Task Force will be constituted soon to work out the modalities.

  • India will provide a fresh Line of Credit of up to 318 million dollar for the railways sector in Sri Lanka. This will be used to procure rolling stock, and to restore and upgrade existing railway track.

  • Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka have agreed to enter into a Currency Swap Agreement of 1.5 billion dollar to help keep the Sri Lankan rupee stable.

  • To encourage people to people contacts India will extend the facility of Tourist Visa on Arrival-Electronic Travel Authorization Scheme to Sri Lankan citizens from 14 April.

  • Decision is also taken to set up a Joint Task Force on Ocean Economy.

  • Air India will soon start direct flights between New Delhi and Colombo.

  • Both countries will cooperate in developing a Ramayana Trail in Sri Lanka and a Buddhist Circuit in India.

  • India will organize a Festival of India in Sri Lanka later this year.

India asked for full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka. This amendment is based on the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord which was signed between the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President H.R. Jayewardene, which incorporated the devolution of powers to provinces. The amendment aims at creating Provincial Councils in Sri Lanka and enables Sinhalese and Tamil as national languages while preserving English as the link language.

Both countries also discussed the fishermen's issue. This complex issue involves livelihood and humanitarian concerns on both sides. It should be handled from this perspective. There is need to find a long term solution to this issue. It is also important that fishermen's associations of India and Sri Lanka meet at the earliest to find a mutually acceptable arrangement. It can then be taken forward by both governments.


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