In a significant move echoing regional cooperation and mutual support, Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana has arrived in Delhi, India. The visit is part of a larger diplomatic engagement designed to strengthen ties between Sri Lanka and India, particularly in light of the recent economic challenges faced by Sri Lanka. As a close neighbor and a significant player in the region, India has demonstrated a deep interest in supporting Sri Lanka during its economic crisis.
Strengthening Bilateral Relations
The arrival of Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana in Delhi is anticipated to facilitate further discussions and collaborations that could aid in Sri Lanka’s recovery and foster stronger bilateral relations. The specific details of the agenda or meetings which Speaker Abeywardana will attend have not been disclosed, but such visits typically involve discussions on mutual interests, economic cooperation, and regional stability.
India-Sri Lanka Economic Interdependence
Recent data from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka shows a shift in the financial landscape of the country. Credit to the Government of Sri Lanka and public corporations has overshadowed credit to the private sector for the seventh consecutive month, a trend last seen nearly 33 years ago in 1989. This trend has been consistent since August 2021, highlighting the economic challenges that Sri Lanka is facing.
India’s role in this scenario is significant. As part of its international trade policy, India has been investing millions of dollars to develop strategically positioned island chains, including Sri Lanka. The aim is to export threefold as much goods and services by 2030. The economic interdependence between India and Sri Lanka is clear, given the financial and humanitarian aid amounting to nearly USD 4 billion that India has extended to help Sri Lanka recover from its economic crisis.
Indian Diplomacy Amid Challenges
Simultaneously, India is navigating complex diplomatic waters. Despite allegations of plotting to murder pro-Khalistan elements in the United States and Canada, India’s external affairs minister, S Jaishankar, has made it clear that these issues are separate and India is willing to look into specific issues raised by other countries. This includes the ongoing probe into an alleged plot to kill Khalistan separatist Gurpatwant Sing Pannun and Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. These allegations have strained diplomatic relations between India, the US, and Canada, but military cooperation between India and Canada remains unaffected.
India’s diplomatic relations with its neighbors, including Sri Lanka, are a testament to its commitment to cooperation and stability in the region. This, along with the desire for better relations with China despite challenges, highlights India’s strategic approach towards diplomacy in the region.