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India Stays Sri Lanka's Reliable Partner Despite Katchatheevu Row: Envoy

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe - Sputnik India, 1920, 10.04.2024
Relations between India and Sri Lanka have cemented in recent years, especially since 2022, when the latter suffered its first sovereign default since independence, forcing the former to offer billions to stabilize its economy. An Indian diplomat has now reiterated these ties.
Amid a political slugfest between India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition over the ownership of Katchatheevu island that was ceded to Sri Lanka by New Delhi during the 1970s, the Indian High Commissioner to Colombo has emphasized that the latter would remain the former's most reliable and trusted partner.
"Our bilateral cooperation is expanding and diversifying. It is buttressed by India's growing national capabilities. We now cooperate in a wider range of areas including infrastructure and connectivity, deeper economic engagement, trade and investment, culture and education, tourism and people-to-people ties," the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka said during a seminar held in Colombo on Wednesday.
Though overall relations between the two neighboring nations have remained rock-solid in recent years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar's recent statements regarding the Katchatheevu island, which lies barely a few kilometers from India's southern state of Tamil Nadu seemed to have caused some sort of friction between Colombo and New Delhi.
Both Modi and Jaishankar have slammed India's main opposition party, the Congress, for handing over the territory to Sri Lanka before adding that the BJP would never have committed such a blunder if it was in power at the time.
However, Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda underplayed India's recent claims on the Katchatheevu island, stressing that these were nothing but "election noises" ahead of national polls in the world's largest democratic sovereign state.
"It is not unusual to hear the noises of claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu island during the election season in India," Devananda told reporters in Colombo last week.
India's Narendra Modi and Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the launch of real time payment linkage between UPI & PayNow Singapore on 21 Feb 2023 - Sputnik India, 1920, 12.02.2024
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