India - SriLanka
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding a virtual summit with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on September 26, 2020. During the meeting, the two leaders will be discussing bilateral and regional issues.
- This will be the first time that PM Modi will be holding a bilateral meeting with a leader from the neighbourhood amid COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the United Nations General Assembly on the same day through virtual mode.
- During the United Nations General Assembly, PM Modi is likely to highlight his government’s “neighbourhood first” policy as well as how India came to the assistance of the countries in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
India’s East Container Terminal in Colombo
- India has engaged with Sri Lanka for various bilateral projects including infrastructure projects in Colombo, which would require a review.
- India’s East Container Terminal (ECT) project in Colombo has been facing roadblocks after it was put on hold by the Sri Lankan government a year after the agreement was signed. The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to develop the project was signed between India, Japan and the previous Maithripala Sirisena- led the Sri Lankan government.
- The new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, after taking office, appointed a five-member Committee to examine and report the concerns regarding the development of the East Container Terminal (ECT) and Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of the Colombo Port.
India’s Neighbourhood-first Policy
- India in its efforts to advance its neighbourhood first policy has planned a series of consultations with the neighbourhood countries.
- India on September 20, 2020 extended a USD 250 million loan to the Maldives in response to the request for financial assistance made by Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to PM Narendra Modi to overcome economic difficulties faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- India has also reportedly reached out to the Afghan government to extend its support to it in the backdrop of intra-Afghan talks. India has also reportedly planned a series of high-level visits from Afghanistan in the coming days.
- Besides this, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is expected to hold a meeting of the India-Bangladesh consultative mechanism at the end of the month to come with a roadmap for the next two years.