Sri Lanka pushes trilateral agreement with India & Japan to increase growth
By siliconindia | Friday, 11 August 2023, 09:31:52 AM IST
India and Japan being active and pivotal middle powers in the Indo-Pacific region, their collaboration for project-specific support in Sri Lanka holds significance and with their proven knowledge, experience, and expertise in tackling particular growth challenges, both countries could support Sri Lanka financially and technically, suggested brought out by prominent Colombo-based think tank Pathfinder Foundation. The “Medium and Long-term Strategy for Indo-Japanese Collaboration to Support the Economic Transformation of Sri Lanka” was released here in partnership with two prominent think tanks based in New Delhi, namely, NATSTRAT and Vivekananda International Foundation and the Confederation of Indian Industry.
India is a natural trade and investment partner for Sri Lanka, considering its geographical proximity and its current “Neighbourhood First" policy. Japan has a long-standing relationship with the country providing development assistance. “A vulnerable developing country like Sri Lanka can utilize tripartite cooperation to signal its specific demands more efficiently, thereby increasing opportunities for joint projects.” Four areas Low-carbon power generation in Sri Lanka, Development of Trincomalee as an energy hub, Logistics & connectivity and People-to-people contact – have been identified in the report as broad areas of tripartite cooperation. Addressing the launch of the Japanese Ambassador to India, Hiroshi Suzuki said that India’s issuance of financing assurances to Sri Lanka at the time of its economic crisis was instrumental in accelerating the process of Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring and that it appreciates India’s engagement and forward-looking approach on the issue.
“When Prime Minister Kishida visited Delhi and gave an address on the new plan of the free and open Indo-Pacific, he highlighted South Asia as one of the major pillars, one of the priority regions in his new plan. And Japan attaches primary importance to its relations with Sri Lanka and India as indispensable partners in order to realize the vision,” Suzuki recalled. “We place the highest priority on transparent and equitable debt restructuring where all creditor entities, creditors countries, and organizations participate. An equitable treatment among all creditors. If one country is favored over another, then the entire debt restructuring will fall apart. Sri Lankan President has made it public that Sri Lankan govt will never treat any country more favorably than others and Japan highly appreciates the public commitment that President made that crystal clear.”
Milinda Moragoda, the Sri Lanka High Commissioner, also hailed the trilateral cooperation between the two countries and said that given the amount of investment required, it hence becomes an important aspect. “This I would see as the next stage of our President’s Ranil Wickremesinghe visit to India. As you know, the joint economic vision statement that was given between Prime Minister Modi and Wickremesinghe outlined three key areas. One was ‘connectivity’, the second was ‘economic integration,’ and the third was an investment. In that context, given the amount of investments that are required, trilateral cooperation also becomes an important aspect of it. So in that context, Japan, India and Sri Lanka working together. Japan and Sri Lanka have had a long association, and so is India and Sri Lanka,” the High Commissioner stated.
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