Tamil leaders, Sri Lankan President meet positive development: EAM S Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Sri Lankan counterpart GL Peiris witnessed the signing of the MoU on implementation of hybrid power projects in three Islands off Jaffna, the Indian embassy said in a statement.
Jaishankar with Tamil Progressive Alliance leaders
Jaishankar with Tamil Progressive Alliance leaders

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has welcomed the first interaction between Sri Lanka’s Tamil leaders with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as “positive developments”, saying India was consistently supportive of the realisation of their aspirations for equality, justice, peace and dignity within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.

Jaishankar, who arrived here on Sunday night to hold bilateral talks with Sri Lanka’s top leadership and attend the seven-nation BIMSTEC summit, met the main Tamil party - the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) - delegation led by R Sampanthan and Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) leaders on Monday.

The government’s engagement with the TNA also came up during Jaishankar’s call on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday. The Minister received a more detailed understanding on this subject from Lankan counterpart Prof. G.L. Peiris.

Jaishankar had also met Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) leaders - Mano Ganeshan, Thigambaram, V Radhakrishnan, Uday Kumar - and discussed the socio-economic issues of the Indian origin Tamil community.

On Friday, President Rajapaksa had sought cooperation from the minority Tamil community leaders to “rebuild the country” in his first interaction with them since assuming office over two years ago Not China, India to build three power plants in Jaffna

Not China, India to build three power plants in Jaffna

India and Sri Lanka have signed an agreement on implementing hybrid power projects on three Sri Lankan islands off northern Jaffna, replacing the Chinese venture cleared by the Cabinet last year.

In January 2021, Chinese firm Sinosar-Etechwin was awarded the contract to install a hybrid renewable energy system in Nainativu, Delft or Neduntheevu and Analaitivu off the coast of Jaffna, but was reconsidered following objections raised by India. The three islets are located close to Tamil Nadu.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Sri Lankan counterpart GL Peiris witnessed the signing of the MoU on implementation of hybrid power projects in three Islands off Jaffna, the Indian embassy said in a statement.

China last year suspended the project to install hybrid energy plants, citing “security concern” from a “third party”, amid reports of India raising concern over its location. China is one of the biggest investors in various infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka under Beijing’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But there has been criticism, both locally and internationally, and growing concerns that China has lured Sri Lanka into a debt trap.

Five more pacts signed

The other five agreements India signed on Monday include providing a maritime rescue coordination centre and building fisheries harbours in Sri Lanka, implementation of Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity (SL-UDI) programme with India’s grant assistance; establishment of modern computer labs and smart boards with customised curriculum software in 200 schools in Galle District and an MoU between Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service and the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute.

BIMSTEC member states must collectively combat terrorism, violent extremism: EAM

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday that the BIMSTEC member states must collectively combat terrorism and violent extremism as he emphasised India’s commitment to intensify and expand areas of cooperation in sectors like connectivity, energy and maritime.

Addressing the 18th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in Colombo, Jaishankar also spoke about the situation in Ukraine and said that “the maintenance of international peace and security, and even stability can no longer be taken for granted.” Turning to India’s cooperation with BIMSTEC member nations, Jaishnakar said that cooperation on port facilities, ferry services, coastal shipping, grid connectivity and motor vehicles movement are the key. “Much of what we can achieve in our national development efforts is, of course, predicated on a peaceful, secure and stable environment,” he said.

“We cannot ignore the challenges that terrorism and violent extremism, as also transnational crime and narco-trafficking or indeed new challenges such as cyber-attacks, pose to all of us,” Jaishanakar said and also emphasised that all of these affect their economic development efforts.

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