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India, Sri Lanka hold ‘productive’ talks

Boosting ties:External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, right, with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.PTIPTI

Boosting ties:External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, right, with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.PTIPTI  

Visiting Minister seeks support for vocational training and capacity building

India and Sri Lanka on Thursday discussed the “entire gamut of bilateral ties”, during talks between the visiting Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations, Dinesh Gunawardena, and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar here on Thursday.

The visit by the Sri Lankan Minister, his first visit abroad after taking charge, comes after the visit by Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in November as “a follow-up” to his discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

More cooperation

“The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister reiterated the importance laid by President Rajapaksa on exploring newer areas of cooperation with India with emphasis on skill development, vocational training and capacity building and requested India’s support,” the External Affairs Ministry said, laying emphasis on skilling and opportunities for people-to-people ties.

Mr. Gunawardena also met Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Mahendra Nath Pandey, and Minister of State for Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar.

However, officials declined to comment on whether the meeting with the new Sri Lankan Foreign Minister had discussed taking forward some of the commitments made by the previous Sri Lankan government on infrastructure projects in Trincomalee and Colombo as well as the Northern region, or about taking forward the Economic and Technical Cooperation (ETCA) preferential trade agreement talks that have been stalled for several years.

On climate change

According to the Ministry, the ministers also discussed issues of climate change and terrorism.

In a tweet after the meeting Mr. Jaishankar said he had “productive discussions” with his counterpart on “bilateral issues and regional concerns”. In response Mr. Gunawardena described the discussions as “cordial”.

On Friday Mr. Gunawardena will visit the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya.

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