Speaker thanks India for giving govt. three more years to settle INR 550 mn loan



Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar (right) greets Speaker Abeywardena (pic courtesy parliament)

Indian VP calls for lenient policy towards poaching

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has thanked Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar for giving Sri Lanka two more years to pay back INR 550 mn loan given at the onset of the economic crisis that was to be paid in three years.

A statement issued by Parliament quoted Speaker Abeywardena as having told the Indian Minister that India provided assistance to Sri Lanka like a ‘true relative’ more than any other country.

The Parliament issued the statement regarding the just concluded parliamentary delegation visit to India.

Among the issues taken up during the discussion was the Indian fishing fleet poaching in Sri Lankan waters. The issue has been raised by Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar. The Rajya Sabha Chairman pointed out the need for both countries to follow a lenient policy when arresting fishermen, as the crossing of the sea border by the fishermen of the two countries could be accidental.

A delegation from Sri Lanka, led by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, on an official visit to India, recently, met the Speaker of the Indian Lok Sabha Om Birla. The close relations between the two countries in many aspects, including culture, were discussed at these discussions. The Indian Speaker pointed out that the close relationship between Sri Lanka and India, which has existed for thousands of years, should be maintained strongly in the future. Furthermore, the Speaker of the Indian Lok Sabha assured that India will be a strength to Sri Lanka during this economic crisis.

A meeting was also held between the Sri Lanka Speaker and the Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar. The Indian Foreign Minister stated that he will provide all support to overcome the economic challenge that Sri Lanka has to face. He also mentioned that steps will be taken to increase the number of Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka. Discussions were also held regarding expediting of visa facilities for Sri Lankans visiting India and providing free visa facilities to Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka. Attention was also paid to the need to provide a solution for the large increase in onion prices in this country.

The Speaker also invited Indian investors to invest in Sri Lanka. The Indian Foreign Minister stated that many Indian investors are willing to invest in Sri Lanka and they are encouraged to do so.

Furthermore, the Speaker expressed his gratitude to the Indian Foreign Minister for standing up for Sri Lanka’s democracy when the country’s democracy was threatened during the previous crisis.