Lankan President thanks India and Bangladesh for providing assistance during crisis

New Delhi, June 10 Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday expressed gratitude to India and Bangladesh for providing assistance as the island nation tries to recover from a serious economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New Delhi on Monday after attending Sunday's swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The two leaders engaged in bilateral discussions with the Bangladesh PM assuring Dhaka's commitment to support Sri Lanka's agricultural modernisation programme.

"Recalling the support received from both Bangladesh and India, Wickremesinghe expressed gratitude for their assistance," Lankan President's Media Division said in a statement after the meeting.

It also mentioned that Hasina has assured her country's commitment to assist Sri Lanka with its plan to modernise agriculture.

Wickremesinghe affirmed his commitment to dispatch a delegation of Lankan agricultural experts to Bangladesh with an aim of studying Bangladesh's agricultural modernisation programme through cooperative methods and gather valuable insights to enhance Sri Lanka's own agricultural modernisation efforts.

The leaders also deliberated on the prospect of signing a free trade agreement between the two countries. Wickremesinghe highlighted the potential for such an agreement following the conclusion of the India Free Trade Agreement.

"Additionally, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh pledged to direct private investors from Bangladesh towards investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, further fostering economic cooperation between the two countries. Consideration was given to the initiation of a passenger ferry service connecting Sri Lanka and Bangladesh," the Lankan President's office said in a statement after the meeting.

The Bangladesh Prime Minister extended an invitation to Ranil Wickremesinghe to attend the BIMSTEC Summit in Bangladesh. However, Wickremesinghe conveyed that, as the conference will be held during the election period in Sri Lanka, the country's Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Foreign Minister Ali Sabri will represent Sri Lanka at the event.

The Bangladesh PM also expressed her satisfaction with the progress of Sri Lanka's economy under the leadership of Wickremesinghe.

The meeting was also attended by Wickremesinghe's Secretary Saman Ekanayake, Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Secretary Aruni Wijewardene, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Kshenuka Senaviratne and delegations from both countries.

Source: IANS
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