India will invest up to $2 billion in Sri Lanka over the next four years across various sectors, including real estate, energy and infrastructure, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday.
India is Sri Lanka's largest trading partner and the two countries have a broad trade agreement that lowers or removes tariffs on most items of trade. The government of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was also more inclined towards greater ties with India.
Sitharaman on a visit to Sri Lanka on 26-27 September, discussed various bilateral trade and investment issues with the Sri Lankan prime minister over an official dinner hosted in her honour.
She also attended a meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Business Forum along with Sri Lanka's minister of development strategies and international trade Malik Samarawickrama. Many issues relating to trade, services and investment were highlighted and it was agreed that their resolution be explored.
Sitaraman and her Sri Lankan counterpart also suggested that the meeting of the reconstituted India-Sri Lanka CEO Forum be held at the earliest.
The commerce and industry minister also had a bilateral meeting with a high level Sri Lankan delegation led by Samarawickrama. The Sri Lankan delegation also included minister of transport and civil aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva, minister of industry and commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, state minister of international trade Sujeewa Senasinghe, deputy minister of power and renewable energy Ajith P Perera and deputy minister of petroleum resources development Anoma Gamage.
The leaders expressed satisfaction on the progress of the proposed Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka. It was noted that the second round of negotiations for the ETCA is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on 29-30 September 2016. The leaders also discussed several other issues related to bilateral trade and investment.
Sitaraman's visit has emphasised the importance of Sri Lanka as an important trading and investment partner for India and would help in further deepening the existing bilateral relations, an official release stated.