Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on May 23 regarding the ongoing pandemic and discussed the likely health and economic impacts in the region. He assured the Sri Lankan President that India will continue to assist the neighbouring island in its COVID-19 response including the economic impact.
Taking to Twitter, PM Modi said that both leaders have agreed to accelerate development projects, supported by India, in Sri Lanka and strengthen investment links.
Had an excellent talk with President @GotabayaR. Sri Lanka is fighting COVID-19 effectively under his leadership. India will continue to support our close maritime neighbour in dealing with the pandemic and its economic impact.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 23, 2020
We agreed to accelerate Indian-assisted development projects in Sri Lanka, and also strengthen investment links.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 23, 2020
Rajapaksa briefed PM Modi on the steps taken by the Sri Lankan government to restart economic activity which has been dormant due to COVID-19 measures. The leaders also discussed the possibilities of promoting investments and value-addition in Sri Lanka by the Indian private sector, a move seen as an attempt to thwart China’s increasing influence in the region.
Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 20 to avert the impending crisis, but the restrictions have been eased in the view of a significant decline in cases. Sri Lanka has reported 1,068 confirmed cases of coronavirus with nine deaths related to the infection so far.
PM Modi has been holding a series of discussions with world leaders over phone calls to exchange views over the ongoing crisis and way to tackle the situation. He also held a telephonic conversation with his Mauritius counterpart Pravind Jugnauth and conveyed his appreciation for the effective COVID-19 response which has resulted in no new cases being reported for several weeks.