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Expanding trade using Indian Rupee part of nation's recovery strategy with India: Sri Lanka Envoy
Colombo: Sri Lanka High Commissioner to India, Milinda Moragoda on Saturday said that the island nation is expanding its trade with India using Indian Rupee as part of Colombo's economic recovery strategy with New Delhi.
The envoy highlighted that India acted quickly during the Sri Lanka crisis and assisted the country with USD3.9 Billion. "We might not have got financial aid this quickly if India hadn't helped. India also played a key part in getting support for Sri Lanka," the High Commissioner said.
Speaking on the occasion of the 75th independence of Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner said that the island nation is mulling the possibility of using the RuPay mechanism for Indian tourists coming to Colombo.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, the Sri Lankan envoy said that the country is also looking forward to using the RuPay mechanism.
"Expanding the trade through Indian Rupee is part of our recovery strategy with India. We're also looking at the possibility of using the RuPay mechanism so it will be easy for Indian tourists coming to Sri Lanka," he told ANI.
He said that the ties between the island nation and India goes back to 1,000 years and the first representative was sent to India 80 years back.
Speaking on the Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen issue, the High Commissioner said that the two countries must have a dialogue, adding that there are legal, environmental and ecological issues that are crucial and needed to be discussed.
Time and again, there have been periodic instances of Indian fishermen being apprehended by Sri Lankan authorities for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in Sri Lankan waters.
He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Sri Lankan President Wickremesinghe to visit India.
"PM Modi has extended a formal invitation to Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe to visit India. We hope that he will be able to come to India soon," he told ANI.
On the security concerns, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India, Milinda Moragoda said that Colombo's security is New Delhi's too and vice versa and both nations should look after each other.
"India's security is our security and our security is India's. We have to look after our neighbourhood. We have a large number of ships coming in from India. Irrespective of what the threat is, we need to protect each other," he added.
He also highlighted the importance of the Jaffna Cultural Centre opening and called it a 'symbolic' act by India.
"I am happy, it is one of the beautiful buildings and it stands out, the High Commissioner said.
The island country, which is under an economic crisis witnessed widespread protests in March last year that forced Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign as President and brought Ranil Wickremesinghe to power.
Milinda Moragoda has repeatedly emphasized that India could play a significant role in Sri Lanka's economic revival through multifaceted economic integration between the two countries by enhancing investments, tourism, and trade. (ANI)