Colombo, May 26 (newsin.asia): The newly accredited Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena at the Republic Building here on Tuesday.
On this first working day as the High Commissioner after presenting his credentials on 14 May, High Commissioner Baglay exchanged views on a wide range of bilateral issues with the Foreign Relations Minister during his call.
Minister Gunawardena, welcoming the new High Commissioner, assured Sri Lanka’s fullest commitment towards stronger and deeper cooperation with India, while appreciating the continued exchanges of goodwill that are evident in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Ministry of Foreign Relations said in a press release.
High Commissioner Baglay conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurances of closer cooperation with Sri Lanka through his “neighborhood first” policy.
Both dignitaries agreed to work towards mutually beneficial trade, investment, development and political relations in the post COVID-19 new international environment by enhancing maritime cooperation, security exchanges, ensuring food and health security, enhanced assistance for capacity building and technical cooperation.
It was agreed to kick start tourism exchanges based on the ancient foundation of Hindu-Buddhist cultural affinities between the two countries. Both sides also agreed to follow up on the pending Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and other bilateral instruments.
Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha and senior officials of the Foreign Relations Ministry were present during the call.
The Indian High Commission said in a press release that the envoy also met Arumugan Thondaman, Minister of Community Empowerment and Estate Infrastructure Development and discussed bilateral cooperation for community development including the ongoing Indian Housing Project in the plantation sector and the landmark Jaffna Cultural Centre.
India is undertaking construction of 10,000 houses for estate workers, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Sri Lanka in 2017.
The High Commissioner said that India will continue to undertake high impact, community-development projects for the people of Sri Lanka, in partnership with Government of Sri Lanka.
The High Commissioner also met Chamal Rajapaksa, Minister of Mahaweli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development, Internal Trade, Food Security and Consumer Welfare. In view of the fact that Chamal Rajapaksa is a long-standing parliamentarian with ministerial experience, the envoy sought his suggestions for further deepening the traditional, multi-faceted partnership between India and Sri Lanka especially in the fields of agriculture, food security and water.