(Text of Remarks made by Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the Joint Press Conference held in Colombo with his Sri Lankan minister of Foreign relations Mr.Dinesh Gunawardena on January 6th 2021)
My esteemed colleague and friend the Honourable Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Dinesh Gunawardenaji,
Senior officials, Friends from media, Good afternoon.
Let me begin by wishing all of you and all our friends in Sri Lanka a very happy 2021. I am delighted to visit Sri Lanka once again, and to be amidst you today. A visit to this beautiful country, with which India has civilizational ties going back thousands of years, is always a matter of great pleasure – both professional and personal.
2. I am grateful to my counterpart for his invitation and for welcoming my delegation and me with typical Sri Lankan hospitality. He extended this invitation to me when he was in India almost exactly a year ago. But due to the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic, it was not possible for me to visit earlier. But I am glad that I am starting 2021 with a visit to India’s closest maritime neighbour and partner.
3. I visit Sri Lanka at a time when both our countries are faced with daunting and common challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, I think Covid has given us an opportunity to collaborate even more closely. Reflecting our Neighbourhood First policy, India has supported Sri Lanka’s efforts to tackle Covid through timely medical assistance. I should also place on record my appreciation to the Sri Lankan Government for its assistance and facilitation in evacuation of Indian nationals who were stuck here. We are now looking at post-Covid cooperation and I carry back with me Sri Lanka’s interest in accessing vaccines from India.
Continue reading ‘“It is in Sri Lanka’s own interest that the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka are fulfilled. That applies equally to the commitments made by the Sri Lankan Government on meaningful devolution, including the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.” -Indian Foreign Minister Dr.S.Jaishankar’ »