India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday met with his Sri Lankan counterpart G L Peiris in New Delhi and held extensive discussions on economic and investment initiatives, fishing issues among others
India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday met with his Sri Lankan counterpart G L Peiris in New Delhi and held extensive discussions on economic and investment initiatives, fishing issues among others. Peiris’ first visit to India as the foreign minister comes at a time when Colombo has been going through a severe economic crisis.
Peiris is New Delhi on a three-day visit and is hoping to seek further assistance from India as Sri Lanka faces its worst-ever foreign exchange and fuel crises.
In a tweet, Jaishankar said, “Productive talks with Sri Lankan FM G.L. Peiris. Discussed economic and investment initiatives that will strengthen Sri Lanka at this time. Also focused on additional steps to enhance Sri Lanka’s energy security.”
The ministers also exchanged views on the “fishermen issue” and “agreed that bilateral mechanisms should meet early.”
The visit came after India had extended a $500 million line of credit to Colombo for the purchase of fuel. Last month, Jaishankar also held talks, virtually, with Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa on extending "all possible help" to the crisis-gripped country.
The current visit came amid heightened actions by Colombo against Tamil Nadu fishermen for allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters.
Recently, two Sri Lankan fishermen died after a fight broke out mid-sea with Indian fishermen, prompting intense protests in Tamil-dominated northern Sri Lanka.
New Delhi, on the other hand, sought the release of fishermen detained by the Sri Lankan government. On Monday, Jaishankar also discussed the fishing issues with Peiris and agreed to early meets of established bilateral mechanisms to resolve the issue.
The issue also gained significance as China in the last few years has actively courted the Sri Lankan Tamil community, which has traditionally supported New Delhi, and sought to increase its presence in northern Sri Lanka, a region New Delhi considers sensitive for its own security concerns.