Dinesh invites Indian business delegation to visit SL | Daily News


Dinesh invites Indian business delegation to visit SL

Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena concluding his first official visit to India since assumption of office has invited a business delegation from the Indian Chamber to visit Sri Lanka to explore investments.

The Foreign Relations Minister who visited India on January 9–10 at the invitation of the Indian External Affairs Minister, addressed the members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on Friday with a view to enhancing investments from India to Sri Lanka, in a market that currently has an annual bilateral exchange of goods worth over US$ 5 billion.

Minister Gunawardena’s visit was part of the high-level exchanges that took place following the recent Presidential Election and a follow up to the state visit of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to India in November 2019.

During the visit, Minister Gunawardena held high-level talks with his counterparts from the Ministries of External Affairs, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, as well as Labor and Employment of the government of India.

Minister Gunawardena met his Indian counterpart Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar for bilateral talks on January 9, at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

During the meeting, the two Ministers held cordial and fruitful discussions on a wide range of bilateral issues including investment, security, fisheries, development assistance and ongoing projects, tourism, education and cultural cooperation. They also focused on the recent developments in the global political scenario.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs said the discussions revolved around the bilateral economic projects including India’s development assistance and the human resource development cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The matter of Indian fishermen and boats which are in the custody of Sri Lanka was also discussed. Foreign Minister Gunawardena has said that as announced by the Sri Lankan President during his visit that all the 52 boats in Sri Lankan custody will be released soon.

Earlier that day, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale called on Minister Gunawardena.

During his meeting with Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister Gunawardena briefed him on the new government’s policies of technology-driven economic growth, a people-centric economy and new plans for youth and skills development, while inviting the Indian side to share expertise and experiences, including training opportunities, in those fields with Sri Lanka. The two sides contemplated signing a MoU to achieve these objectives.

Minister Gunawardena also met with Indian Minister of State of Labor and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar to discuss issues of mutual interest.

The Foreign Relations Minister also visited the Centre for Science and Environment, a public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi, on January 10. Minister Gunawardena took time from his agenda on January 10 to visit the New Delhi Centre of the Mahabodhi Society of India, where he received the blessings of the Maha Sangha. He also visited the High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi and met its staff.

The Minister was accompanied at these meetings by the Sri Lankan High Commissioner Austin Fernando and senior government officials.

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