Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry has emphasised on strong connectivity between India and Sri Lanka, highlighting how both ferry and aviation will increase people-to-people linkages. 

Speaking to World Is One News (WION)  correspondent Sidhant Sibal from Colombo, FM Sabry, on the proposal of land connectivity said, “ Connecting with each other could be a good opportunity. But the proposal, first of all, you need to study the feasibility of it, see the benefit for both countries and see that it will be beneficial for both countries and the both nations then we must go ahead with it.” 

Earlier this week, President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited New Delhi, with both countries agreeing on new ferry services among other key connectivity issues. 

Regarding the proposal on an energy pipeline, Sabry stated, “The idea is to freely flow oil, making it easier to connect. This could ensure energy security for both Sri Lanka and India at various points.” 

Both countries have also been working on FinTech connectivity, with pact on UPI being announced during the visit of President Wickremesinghe. UPI is expected to start in Sri Lanka in a few months and will help Indian tourists. 

On India’s security concerns in the backdrop of a visit of a Chinese vessel last year, Sabry assured, “We have finalized SOP and SOPs is in place…We have worked on that over a period of time in line with the UNCLOS-UN laws of seas”. 

Speaking on the two-day official visit to India, Sabry, who accompanied President Wickremesinghe, stated that discussions focused on economic partnership, mutual benefit for both countries and taking the maximum out of the expected economic growth in the region.

“So, in that everybody understands the entire growth is centred around people-to-people contact, whether it is business, social, economic, or educational thing, people are centred around that”, he said.

When asked to comment on the current economic status of Sri Lanka, Sabry said “we have made some good progress, but a long, long way to go”.

Sabry in London for Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting