International

Imran Khan announces $50 mn defence credit line for Lanka

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, walks with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa upon his arrival in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a $50 million defence credit line facility for Sri Lanka, even as the two countries stressed the need for “stronger partnership” in security, combating terrorism, organised crime and drug and narcotic trafficking, and intelligence-sharing.

“Both sides expressed satisfaction at the existing bilateral cooperation in the field of defence and noted that the elevation of staff-level talks to Defence Dialogue has further provided an opportunity to expand security sector relations,” a joint communiqué issued by the two sides said on Wednesday, as PM Khan wrapped up his two-day visit to Colombo, accompanied by a high-level governmental and business delegation.

Mr. Khan’s visit to Sri Lanka is the first to be undertaken by a Head of Government, after the pandemic hit the world. It was the first visit by the Pakistani Prime Minister since the formation of the new governments in both the countries and marked Mr. Khan’s return since his cricketing tours to Sri Lanka in 1975 and 1986. Mr. Khan met with representatives of Sri Lanka’s sports fraternity, at an event where Sri Lanka’s Minister of Sports and Youth Namal Rajapaksa announced the commissioning of the ‘Imran Khan High Performance Sports Centre’ in Colombo.

Earlier on Wednesday Mr. Khan held talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The leaders engaged in a “lengthy discussion” on improving bilateral relations, a statement from President Rajapaksa’s office said. They exchanged views on partnering in sectors including agriculture, trade, and tourism.

Mr. Khan also met Muslim parliamentarians on Wednesday, amid protests by Sri Lanka’s Muslim community demanding a reversal of the government’s mandatory cremations policy for Covid-19 victims. Opposition parliamentarian and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem said in a tweet that PM Khan “expressed confidence” in the capacity of Sri Lanka’s leaders “to improve harmony” among all Sri Lankans and address citizens’ grievances with a view to “foster goodwill among nations.”

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 10:24:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-pm-imran-khan-calls-on-sri-lankan-president-discusses-bilateral-ties/article33923238.ece

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