India sees Sri Lanka as ‘trusted partner in in South Asian and Indian Ocean’

ECONOMYNEXT – India saw Sri Lanka not just as a neighbor but as a "very special trust partner" in the "South Asian and Indian Ocean family," Prime Minister Naredra Modi said at the launch of a paramedic ambulance in the northern city of Jaffna.

His comments came as India plans to start a joint venture to run an airport in the South of Sri Lanka after China was given a 99 year lease on a nearby port.

The paramedic service is backed by an Indian grant and is implemented by GVK-Emri, an Indian non-profit.

India first gave 7.5 million US dollars to launch the service in the Western and Southern provinces of Sri Lanka with 88 ambulances.

The Jaffna service was started as part of a second 15.02 million dollar grant that will see 209 ambulances being set up in the remaining seven provinces.

Prime Minister Modi joining the launch via satellite link said that the India would always remain the first responder for Sri Lanka in both good and bad times.

Deputy Economic Policy Minister Harsha de Silva took a lead role in crafting and implementing the program from the time he was deputy foreign minister.

"I thank every single person who’s helped us thus far," he said in a post. "I thank the People of India for the almost USD 23m gift. We will continue to save lives!"

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