A meeting between Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was scheduled to be held yesterday (2), has failed to materialise for what government sources indicated were scheduling issues, The Morning learnt.
Rajapaksa is set to return to Sri Lanka today, after a two-day official visit to India to seek support amidst an unprecedented economic crisis in Sri Lanka. It is as yet unclear if the meeting with Modi would take place today (3) before Rajapaksa’s departure from India.
However, the Minister of Finance did meet India’s National Security Advisor Shri Ajit Doval in New Delhi yesterday. Doval is the fifth National Security Advisor of India and holds the rank of a Cabinet Minister.
According to a press release, Doval had extended a warm welcome to Minister Rajapaksa and engaged in an extremely cordial conversation with him and discussed a range of issues pertaining to the mutual strategic interests of the two countries. Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda as well as Ministry of Finance and Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle accompanied Minister Rajapaksa to the meeting.
Last week, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris told The Morning that Rajapaksa’s discussions with Indian Prime Minister Modi would be to procure foreign investment into the country.
“Rajapaksa will be going to New Delhi, India on an official visit in a few days. He will meet with Premier Modi, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, and other members of the Indian leadership. This visit is not merely to get loans. Our policy as a government is to not just get loans. But we are also focused on getting capital and foreign investments through other means – investments, business relationships, and the development of the tourism sector,” said Prof. Peiris.
Prof. Pieris noted that since Sri Lanka is currently trapped in the biggest economic crisis post-Independence, Sri Lanka should not isolate itself diplomatically.
“The economic crisis is due to many reasons, including mainly international ones such as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, to face this crisis, we must not act in solitude. We have many good relationships with many countries. There is space for us to arrive at some agreement with friendly countries. We especially have a very good relationship with India, our neighbouring country, who has come to our support in times of both economic and other needs,” he noted.