Colombo, January 4 (newsin.asia): The Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, has said that India’s only agenda in Sri Lanka is to “cooperate and collaborate” with it, and that Indo-Lankan bilateral cooperation is all about “sharing and caring” and devoid of “caveats and riders”.
Speaking here on Wednesday following the signing of an agreement by which Sri Lanka will purchase 209 state of the art ambulances with an Indian grant of US$ 15.02 million, the Indian envoy quoted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said in July 2016 that India joins hands with its dear and near partner, Sri Lanka, to cooperate on projects, “based on Sri Lanka’s own choices and priorities for development.”
India is here to help Sri Lankans achieve their goals, Sandhu added.
The High Commissioner further said: “I would like to highlight the fact that, Indian development partnership stories are written without caveats and riders. The project has created several hundreds of local jobs, and will continue to create many more. The classic features of any development story, are job creation, technology transfer and innovation.”
“I want to underline, the aspect of importance of looking objectively, at issues. The future of our two great nations, is built by leaders, who look ahead; it is built by leaders, who are passionate about their goals. If we are determined to achieve success, nothing can stop us from reaching our goal. All we need is, the determination to grow together.”
“Let me say it loud and clear, India has only one agenda in Sri Lanka, that is, to cooperate and collaborate with Sri Lanka on issues of mutual interest. For us, bilateral cooperation is, all about sharing and caring.”
Grant, Not Loan
Speaking about the ambulance project Sandhu said: “It is purely a grant project. We launched the Emergency Ambulance Service, more than a year ago, in July 2016 to be precise, in Western & Southern Provinces of Sri Lanka under an Indian grant of around US$ 7.56 million. Today, we have reached an understanding, for a further Indian grant assistance, of US$ 15.02 million for extending the service, to all other seven Provinces of Sri Lanka.”
“The project is not just about purchase of ambulances and their usage. It is about use of technology for transforming lives, around us. Through this project, we are bringing new technology and best practices to Sri Lanka. GVK is here today, and they have demonstrated their ability, to replicate success stories of India in Sri Lanka. I take this opportunity to wish them, the very best in their continued efforts,” the envoy said.
And thanking the Sri Lankan government, Sandhu said: “We are extremely pleased with the commitment from Government of Sri Lanka and its leadership, to ensure sustainability of the project. Nourishment of the project, is critical for its future, which you have already so well demonstrated, in the Western and Southern Provinces.”
Growing Cooperation in Health Sector
“It is gratifying to note, that our cooperation in health sector has strengthened, in recent years. You would recall the inauguration of a new District Base Hospital in Dickoya, in May last year, built under Indian grant assistance, in the presence of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe.”
“ We have also gifted the construction of a hospital in Vavuniya; and provided medical equipment to Hospitals in Jaffna, Kilinochhi and Mullaithivu. These are important milestones in our bilateral relations,” the envoy said.
Happiness Increases With Sharing
Quoting Lord Buddha, he said: “Thousands of candles, can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle, will not be shortened. Happiness only increases, by being shared.”
“Let us be the light for each other, let us together light the world,.” the envoy said.