COLOMBO, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) — India looks to deepen its economic and commercial ties with Sri Lanka and has maintained that the island nation continues to be a key part of India’s “neighborhood first” policy, an Indian envoy said here on Tuesday.
India’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka, Y.K. Sinha, speaking at an event to mark the Indian Republic Day in capital Colombo, said that relations between India and Sri Lanka had been transformative in the past year and India’s total development assistance commitment to Sri Lanka was now around 2.6 billion U.S. dollars, covering all areas of contemporary relevance.
Sinha also noted the increasing air connectivity between the two countries, and the growing tourist arrivals from India in Sri Lanka. India is currently the leading market for the highest number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka followed by China.
Sinha further alluded to the strong bilateral defense ties, the testimony of which he said was the visit to Colombo by India’s largest naval aircraft carrier “INS Vikramaditya” last week.
He further affirmed that India had an abiding interest in the security of Sri Lanka and remained committed to Sri Lanka’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.