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‘India ties most important in our foreign policy’: Sri Lankan foreign minister

Sri Lankan foreign minister Ali Sabry said on Saturday that his country’s relationship with India was ‘one of the most important in our foreign policy’. As the island nation works to extricate itself from an unprecedented economic crisis, the official also lauded India’s role in helping Sri Lanka cope with the situation. He also highlighted his government’s plans to work more closely with New Delhi to bolster economic recovery.

“We will not allow any country to make Sri Lanka a hub or a region to do anything which will be harmful for India’s national security,” he asserted during an interview with Hindustan Times. Sabry was responsing to a question about the furore sparked by a Chinese vessel’s visit to Hambantota port.

Sabry also touched upon a proposal for settling payments in national currencies. 

“We want to integrate and probably allow Indian currency to be a tradeable currency in Sri Lanka…You did [something similar] with Singapore and we probably want to do that. We understand India’s potential with 300 million to 400 million Indians travelling all around. So around the corner, come and use your own currency,” he told the publication. 

Also read: Families reduce food given to children: Hunger crisis in Sri Lanka deepens

Earlier on Saturday External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had held a bilateral meetings with his Sri Lankan counterpart as the latter attended the Raisina Dialogue. 

“Nice to catch up with FM Ali Sabry of Sri Lanka. Thank him for his Raisina Dialogue 2023 participation. We took stock of our cooperation that is focused on facilitating Sri Lanka’s economic recovery. Discussions covered investment, trade and development partnerships. Also raised recent issues relating to our fishermen,” the EAM tweeted.

(With inputs from agencies)

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