Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. S Jaishankar will visit the Maldives and Sri Lanka for bilateral meetings and the signing of several agreements.
Dr. Jaishankar’s visit to Colombo comes at a time when the island is facing a massive economic crisis, with power outages and a shortage of essential goods leading to protests. The situation drives its nationals to seek refuge in India.
A statement from the ministry said Dr. Jaishankar will visit Addu in the Maldives this weekend at the invitation of Maldives’ Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.
“EAM was set to visit the city of Addu in the Maldives (March 26-27), where EAM will appeal to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and hold talks with Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. several agreements are being signed regarding the bilateral development cooperation, inauguration/transfer and launch of a number of important Indian-backed projects that will contribute to the socio-economic development of the Maldives and increase its security,” the statement said.
It added that the foreign minister’s visit to Sri Lanka at the invitation of his counterpart GL Peiris will take place next week.
“EAM’s visit to Sri Lanka (March 28-30) follows the visits to India by the Minister of Finance of Sri Lanka, HE Mr Basil Rajapaksa in December 2021 and earlier this month and that of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Prof. GLPeiris in February 2022. The bilateral meetings and interactions that EAM will have in Sri Lanka emphasize the priority Sri Lanka holds for India,” the ministry said.
dr. Jaishankar will attend the Bay of Bengal Initiative Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) ministerial meeting in Colombo on Tuesday.
The ministry said the Maldives and Sri Lanka are India’s main maritime neighbors in the Indian Ocean and occupy a “special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ and Neighborhood First”. “EAM’s visit demonstrates the importance India attaches to its close and friendly relations with the Maldives and Sri Lanka,” it said.