Jaishankar on tour of Maldives, Sri Lanka for bilateral talks

The External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will arrive in Male first on March 26 for crucial talks, following India’s recent $2.4 billion assistance to Sri Lanka

Updated - March 27, 2022 11:23 am IST

Published - March 26, 2022 12:31 pm IST - COLOMBO 

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. File.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will arrive in the Maldives on Saturday evening for a two-day official visit to review bilateral engagement and launch key India-backed projects in the Indian Ocean archipelago. He is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka soon after, from March 28 to 30, for crucial talks following India’s recent $2.4 billion assistance to the cash-strapped island nation in the midst of a grave economic crisis.

Mr. Jaishankar will also attend the BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on March 29, with his regional counterparts, according to official statements from Colombo and New Delhi.

Mr. Jaishankar’s visit to Male, his third since he assumed office in May 2019, is part of India’s continuing high-level engagement with the Maldives government in areas including maritime security, development cooperation and financial assistance during the pandemic.

He will call on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, whose government follows an “India first” foreign policy, despite criticism from former President Abdulla Yameen and his supporters leading the “India out” campaign. The visit also comes a fortnight after the NSA-level meet of the ‘Colombo Security Conclave’ held in Male, among India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, with Bangladesh and Seychelles as observers.  

In Colombo, Mr. Jaishankar is expected to meet with the leadership, prominent ministers in the Rajapaksa administration, and key members of the Opposition, including the Tamil political parties. India and Sri Lanka have recently signed a slew of agreements in the energy and development sectors.

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