Sri Lanka urged by India to focus more on investments, services

EconomyNext – India’s envoy in Sri Lanka has urged a greater focus on investments and services between the two neighbours in their bilateral relationship, which has warmed following the election of a new president in the island.

Bilateral trade witnessed an upswing in 2014 and amounted to nearly four billion US dollars in the January- November 2014 period, Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha said.

"Robust trade in goods has promoted bilateral investment," a statement quoted him as saying in a speech at the 66th Republic Day of India celebrations Monday, at India House in Colombo.

Premier Indian companies have displayed great interest in Sri Lanka and the ‘Make in India’ initiative will attract more Sri Lanka companies to invest in India, it said.

Sinha said that both countries should now focus attention on investments and services sector by forging linkages across the production and supply chains of the two countries.

The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena, who ousted former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in the January 8 presidential poll, has promised to put Indo-Lanka ties back on track after they were strained under Rajapaksa.

A Comprehensive Economic Partnership Arrangement that was mean to upgrade an existing free trade deal was stalled under Rajapaksa and is expected to be revived by Sirisena who is set to visit India in February, his first international trip after taking over.

Sinha said that India shares a "special relationship" with Sri Lanka.

It is not just geographical, but dictated by ties of shared religions, cultural practices, family linkages, linguistic commonalities, economic interlinkages, and political understanding between two democracies, the statement said.

He congratulated the people of Sri Lanka on the peaceful conduct of the elections, and stated that India "stands ready to continue to provide support and partnership to Sri Lanka in realizing its people’s aspirations."





He noted that Sirisena’s electoral victory is a tribute to his capacity to respond to Sri Lankan people’s yearning for change.

The statement quoted Sinha as saying that the "prosperity and security" of the two countries is indivisible. 

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