Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited Sri Lanka in response to the government’s invitation to attend the ‘Naam 200’ event in Colombo on November 2, 2023. During her three-day visit, she will hold meetings with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, further strengthening economic ties between the two countries.
A highlight of this visit is the Business Summit themed ‘Enhancing Connectivity: Partnering for Prosperity,’ scheduled for November 2, 2023, in Colombo. The summit will feature a high-powered Indian business delegation spanning various industries, with prominent Indian industry bodies such as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in attendance. More than 30 Indian business leaders will participate.
This visit underscores India’s commitment to Sri Lanka’s economic recovery, emphasizing mutually beneficial investments as a priority in their bilateral relations. India is currently the largest source of investments for Sri Lanka, making the visit an opportunity for Indian industry representatives to establish lasting and productive business relationships.
Additionally, leading Sri Lankan businesses will participate in the summit, creating a platform for potential partnerships. India is already Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner, and both countries are currently engaged in the 12th round of the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) to expand their economic and commercial activities.
Furthermore, India is Sri Lanka’s largest source of tourists, demonstrating the close ties between the two nations. Finance Minister Sitharaman will also witness the signing of an MOU for the solar electrification of religious places in Sri Lanka, marking the first project under a USD 15 million grant assistance announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote Buddhist ties between the two countries.
Notably, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman played a pivotal role in expediting a multi-pronged assistance package of USD 4 billion to Sri Lanka in 2022 and advocated for a special package with the IMF to address Sri Lanka’s economic and financial difficulties. This effort led to India becoming the first bilateral creditor to provide a written assurance, paving the way for the IMF package.