India has done more for Sri Lanka than the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Union Minister for External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar, has told the Indian Express.
The IE story, filed from Ahmedabad, said: The Modi government, he [Jaishankar] underlined, is working on developing an “extended neighbourhood” that involves islands in the Indian Ocean, Gulf countries and nations in South-East Asia.
“What we are also trying to do today is for a bigger, influential and ambitious India. We are trying to expand what should be our neighbourhood. We look at what this extended neighbourhood should be. It could be islands in the Indian Ocean, nations in South-East Asia and Central Asia, or Gulf countries. The relationship with the UAE and Saudi Arabia has undergone an enormous transformation. From what was a traditionally much more constricted view of our neighbourhood, we have undertaken something much more ambitious,” said Jaishankar during a talk on “Modi’s India: A Rising Power” at the Anant National University in the city.
Pointing out how the world has become more uncertain, volatile and turbulent, Jaishankar underlined it was time to use the “complex global landscape”
for the betterment and growth of India. The pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia conflict has helped to build “resilient and reliable supply chains”, “domestic capacities” and “trusted relationships,” he highlighted.
A Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Jaishankar also spoke about the “linkages” and “perception” India has developed in the last nine years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“If you are the biggest in your neighbourhood, then it is in our interest that our other neighbours have a share in our prosperity, happiness and are linked to us. That will happen if we are generous and have a non-reciprocal way of engagement. Many of our neighbours like Bangladesh or Nepal and Bhutan are today linked with us through roads, railways, and waterways. We have electricity grid connections; there are fuel supplies. In many ways, they benefit from the scale and economy of India,” Jaishankar said while addressing an audience largely composed of students and faculty members from the private university.
“The linkages and perception today of India in the neighbourhood has changed. Nothing illustrated that more dramatically than what happened to Sri Lanka. Last year, when they went through a very deep economic crisis, we stepped forward in a way we ourselves have never done before. What we have done for Sri Lanka is bigger than what the IMF has done for Sri Lanka. If any of you have visited Sri Lanka recently, then you will note the popular perception that has accrued from this action,” he added.
Speaking about India’s relationship with China, the Union minister said, “The challenge from China is complicated. But in the last three years, it has been particularly visible in the border areas. There are clearly responses that are required and those responses have been undertaken by the government and a lot of it is to ensure that no attempt is made to unilaterally change the status quo in the border areas. We will ensure peace and tranquillity. It is the basis of our relationship. If peace is disturbed, it cannot be that the relationship remains unaffected.”
Both India and China, he said, will have to find some “kind of equilibrium” where there is mutual respect, sensitivity and recognition.
“Today, if we see that respect, sensitivity and recognition, we can have a better relationship with China. But if we do not, then we have to stand up for our rights. We need to be firm in asserting our positions. That is unfortunately the current situation,” he added.
“Modi’s India is different from its predecessors. It is different in its outlook,” he said while speaking about the decisive mandate and vision the Prime Minister has secured. “Modi’s India is a return to a political dispensation that has a majority in Parliament,” Jaishankar emphasised, pointing out that such a majority did not exist from 1989 to 2014.
Train services on coastal line delayed
The Railway Department has announced that train services on the coastal line will be delayed due a derailment between Kollupitiya and Colombo Fort this morning (27).
It also said that trains bound to Colombo will be given priority and requested South bound passengers to make use of alternate modes of transportation until the situation is rectified.
Chinese ship visit: Sabry contradicts Defence Ministry
India consulted, concerns raised by US
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC, has denied that the government granted permission for Chinese research vessel Shi Yan 6 to visit the Colombo port late next month.
Sabry told the media in New York on Monday (26) that Colombo had not given permission for the Chinese vessel to dock. He said India’s security concerns were important for Sri Lanka.
The Defence Ministry on 27 August announced that approval for the Chinese ship to dock in Colombo had been granted
The media quoted Sabry as having said there was a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and the government consulted many friends including India.
“That’s a conversation going on for some period of time. India has expressed its concerns over a long time, but we have come out with the SOP. When we were making it, we consulted many of our friends, including India. So, as long as it complies with the SOP, we have no problem. But if it doesn’t comply with the SOP, we have a problem,” Ali Sabry told ANI.
“So, therefore, as far as I know, we have not given permission for the vessel to come to Sri Lanka during October. Negotiations are going on. Indian security concerns, which are legitimate, are very, very important to us. We have always said that because we want to keep our region a zone of peace,” said Ali Sabry.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, too, has said that an SPO was worked out for foreign vessels.
The Chinese research vessel was expected in Sri Lanka in October to conduct research along with the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).
US Under Secretary Victoria Nuland, during her meeting with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, had raised concerns regarding Shi Yan 6’s visit.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Victoria Nuland stated, “The US supports a strong and prosperous Sri Lanka. Our work together continues at #UNGA. I met with @MFA SriLanka Minister Ali Sabry to discuss U.S. economic assistance, human rights, and our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Sabry told Nuland that Sri Lanka had worked out the SOP to be followed by foreign ships and aircraft in carrying out any activity in Sri Lankan territory, according to a Daily Mirror report.
Last year, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, while commenting on Chinese vessel Yuan Wang-5 which had docked in Sri Lanka, said that any developments that have a bearing on India’s security are “obviously of an interest to us”.
“What happens in our neighbourhood, any developments which have a bearing on our security obviously are of an interest to us,” Mr. Jaishankar said at a joint press conference after the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting.
India had expressed its security concerns over the docking of the vessel at the Sri Lankan port as it was shown as a research vessel with the capability of mapping the ocean bed, which is critical to anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy. The Chinese research ship had docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port.
Court bans Thileepan commemorations in Trinco
The Trincomalee Magistrate’s Court yesterday (26) prohibited the commemoration of LTTE cadre ‘Thileepan’ who died on 26 Sept., 1987, during a fast against the IPKF. The court order came as several events were scheduled to be held in Trincomalee yesterday.
The Trincomalee Court banned any sort of celebrations, demonstrations, parades or protests commemorating Thileepan in the Kulakottan Hall and the Gandhi Roundabout within the Trincomalee Harbour Police division, and within the Trincomalee police division.
The relevant order was issued against several activists, including
President of the Trincomalee District Tamil People’s Forum R. F. Jerome, Ramesh Nicholas, Suhirdha Priya, Krishna Pillai Sri Prasath, Kandaiyya Kandeepan alias ‘Pamaparasan’, Karthik Kalkiriyan and others.
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