Colombo, Jan 28 (New Indian Express) – India is the single largest contributor to Sri Lankan tourist arrivals with 350,000 arrivals last year, the new Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu said.
Addressing a distinguished gathering on the occasion of India’s republic day, the High Commissioner said that there are 150 flights a week to eight destinations in India from Colombo.
The envoy further said that India’s development assistance to Sri Lanka is of the order of USD 2.6 billion of which USD 435 is in grant form.
He said Sri Lanka has a special place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “neighborhood first” policy and urged Sri Lankan businessmen to take advantage of India’s growth which is one of the fasted in the recession hit world.
He spoke about efforts to conclude an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with Sri Lanka but assured that it will be done at a pace Sri Lanka is comfortable with.
The Indian envoy assured Sri Lankans that India is committed to respecting Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity and will continue to be engaged in efforts to build a multi ethnic and multi religious country where all citizens can live in equality and safety.