Sri Lanka and India have inked seven agreements further solidifying the relations between the two countries. The Indian Prime Minister has assured continued support to Sri Lanka’s development.
The President who is on a three-day official tour of India had bilateral discussions with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The talks were held at the Hyderabad Bawan in New Delhi this afternoon. They discussed at length the strengthening of co-operation between the two countries. The Indian Prime Minister expressed willingness to support the Government’s programme to upgrade civilian life in the North and East. He pledged continued assistance for economic development in Sri Lanka. Dr. Mahmohan Singh told the President that the housing programme mooted on behalf of the civilians displaced by terrorist activities would receive India’s support.
President Rajapaksa told him that Sri Lanka anticipated India’s assistance for the 2600th Sambuddha Jayanthi festival to be organized in Sri Lanka. He solicited support by bringing the relics to Sri Lanka from India.
In the meantime, seven agreements related to social-economy, law, women’s affairs, power and transport sectors were signed today. The agreements were inked before the two leaders. Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris and India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna signed an MOU renewing the Indo-Lanka Agreement on small industries. President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary to the Indian Home Affairs Ministry G.K. Pillai signed a treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and an MOU on the transfer of settled prisoners. An MOU related to the setting up of Women’s marketing Facilities Centre and a community study centre was also inked. Agreement was also reached on exchange of cultural programmes between the two countries as well as for a feasibility study on the Indo-Sri Lanka Power Network. Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam and India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao inked these agreements. General Manager Railways T.P. Wijesekera and Indian Railways Managing Director Mohan Tiwari signed the MOU for the construction of the Talaimannar-Madhu rail-track. Several Parliamentarians of the Indian Government were present for this occasion in addition to Ministers Keheliya Rambukwella and Douglas Devenanda, Parliamentarian Sajin Vaas Gunawardena and some Ministry Secretaries.