Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

24-June-2024-Special-Article

June 24 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN INDIA-SRI LANKA RELATIONS 

India and Sri Lanka have a long-standing relationship rooted in shared cultural, religious, and historical ties.  

Recent meetings between the Indian External Affairs Minister and the Sri Lankan President have focused on strengthening bilateral cooperation in various sectors. 

Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) 

Joint Commissioning: The MRCC was built with a USD 6 million grant from India. 

Structure: 

  • Central centre at Navy Headquarters in Colombo. 
  • Sub-centre in Hambantota. 
  • Unmanned installations in Galle. 

Broader Initiative: Part of the Colombo Security Conclave, including India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Mauritius, with Bangladesh and Seychelles as observers. 

Model Village Housing Project 

  • Handover: Leaders virtually handed over houses constructed under the Model Village Housing Project and the Indian Housing Project. 
  • Funding: Both projects were funded by India. 

Energy Sector Initiatives 

  • LNG Supply Plan: Discussed the establishment of LNG supply. 
  • Petroleum Pipeline: Proposed linking the two countries with a petroleum pipeline. 
  • Oil and Gas Exploration: Advancing joint exploration projects. 
  • Sampur Solar Power Plant: Announced the construction of a new solar power plant. 

Other Developments 

  • Trincomalee Development: Discussing projects aimed at developing the port city of Trincomalee. 
  • Kankesanthurai Port Expansion: Plans to expand the port facilities. 
  • Liquid Milk Industry and Fertilizer Production: Initiatives to boost Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector. 

Historical Ties 

  • Cultural and Religious Connections: Deep ties through shared culture and Buddhism. 
  • Indian Roots: Many Sri Lankans have Indian ancestry. 

Economic Ties 

Financial Assistance from India 

  • Crisis Aid: India provided approximately USD 4 billion to help Sri Lanka during its financial crisis in 2022. 
  • Debt Restructuring Support: India was the first to support Sri Lanka in its debt restructuring efforts, working with the IMF and other creditors. 

Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) 

  • Exploration: Both countries are exploring the possibility of an ETCA to integrate their economies. 

Adoption of India’s UPI 

  • Fintech Connectivity: Sri Lanka has adopted India’s UPI service, enhancing financial connectivity. 
  • Trade Settlement in Rupees: Using the Indian rupee for trade settlement benefits Sri Lanka’s economy. 

Trade Relations 

  • Major Export Destination: India is Sri Lanka’s third-largest export destination. 
  • Free Trade Agreement: Over 60% of Sri Lankan exports benefit from the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. 
  • Investment: India is a significant investor in Sri Lanka. 

Participation in Groupings 

  • BIMSTEC and SAARC: Sri Lanka is a member of these groupings, where India plays a leading role. 

Tourism 

  • Tourist Source: In 2022, India was the largest source of tourists for Sri Lanka, with over 100,000 Indian tourists visiting. 

Significance of India-Sri Lanka Relations 

Focus on Regional Development 

  • Neighbourhood First Policy: India’s policy emphasizes the importance of its closest maritime neighbor, Sri Lanka, for regional development. 

Strategic Location 

  • Geopolitical Importance: Sri Lanka’s location near India’s southern coast, across the Palk Strait, is crucial for India’s strategic interests. 

Ease of Doing Business and Tourism 

  • Digital Payments: Enhanced digital payment systems will simplify business transactions and promote economic integration. 
  • Tourism Connectivity: Improved connectivity will boost tourism exchanges between the two nations. 

Challenges in India-Sri Lanka Relations 

Tamil Ethnic Issue 

  • Historical Concern: India has been concerned about the rights of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. 
  • 13th Amendment: This amendment, which created Provincial Councils, aimed to ensure self-governance for all provinces, including Sinhala-majority areas. 

China’s Influence 

  • Chinese Investments: India is wary of China’s investments in Sri Lanka, such as the Hambantota Port, due to its strategic proximity to India. 

Fisheries Dispute 

  • Maritime Boundaries: Issues of illegal fishing and the arrest of fishermen by both countries often lead to diplomatic tensions. 

Katchatheevu Island Dispute 

  • Ownership Issues: The dispute over Katchatheevu Island affects fishing rights and maritime boundaries between the two countries. 

Border Security and Smuggling 

  • Porous Maritime Boundary: The maritime boundary issues have led to concerns about security and smuggling, including narcotics and illegal immigrants. 

Way Forward 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission 

  • Civil War Legacy: India could support establishing a truth and reconciliation commission in Sri Lanka to address the civil war’s legacy and promote healing for the Tamil community. 

Joint Maritime Patrols and Training 

  • Maritime Security: Enhance cooperation on maritime security by conducting joint patrols and providing training programs for Sri Lankan coast guard personnel. 

People-to-People Ties 

  • Cultural Exchange Programs: Promote cultural exchanges and tourism to foster closer ties between the citizens of both countries. 

Joint Infrastructure Projects 

  • Investment: India can invest in infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, ensuring smooth progress from planning to execution. 

ETCA Implementation 

  • Economic Cooperation: Work towards swift and smooth implementation of the ETCA to reduce trade barriers and boost bilateral trade. 

Student Exchange Programs and Skill Development Initiatives 

  • Scholarships and Training: Establish scholarship programs for Sri Lankan students and collaborate on skill development initiatives to enhance educational ties. 

Conclusion 

India-Sri Lanka relations are deeply rooted in historical, cultural, and economic ties. Recent developments, including joint initiatives and projects, highlight the ongoing efforts to strengthen this relationship. While challenges remain, strategic cooperation and mutual support can pave the way for a prosperous partnership. 

Mains question: 

  1. Discuss the recent developments in India-Sri Lanka relations and analyze their significance for regional stability and strategic cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. (150 WORDS)

Details

Date:
June 24
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category:
error: Content is protected !!