India Sri Lanka relationship is more than 2500 years old. Both countries share linguistic, religious, and ethnic ties. Sri Lanka, previously known as Ceylon became independent in 1948. Both countries share a broad understanding on major issues of international interests. In recent years both the countries are cooperating at levels Various levels in the field of technology science and development of infrastructure.
The cultural cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries on 29th November 1977 forms the basis for the periodic Cultural Exchange Programs between the two countries. The Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo actively promotes awareness of rich Indian cultural heritage. India and Sri Lanka Commemorated 2600th year of the attainment of alignment by Lord Buddha
Sri Lanka which comprises of various ethnic groups such as Sinhalese 74%, Sri Lankan Tamils 11.2%, Sri Lankan Moors or Muslims 9.2%, Indian Tamils 4.2% and others 0.5%. Due to minority discrimination, LTTE ( Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam) Was formed in 1976 and it was involved in an armed conflict with Sri Lankan forces from 1983 to 2009. In 1987, India Sri Lanka Agreement signed between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President JR Jayewardene sought to end the civil war in the Island nation. The agreement provides the creation of provincial councils with autonomy enabled by the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution. Under this agreement, the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) was sent to Sri Lankan’s northern and eastern provinces. Nearly three-decade long armed conflict between Sri Lankan forces and LTTE came to an end in May 2009 in which India’s ported the right of the government of She Lanka to act against terrorism.
Sri Lanka has long been a priority destination for FDI from Indian investors. After signing the Free Trade Agreement in March 2000 between the two countries the bilateral trade has grown rapidly. Affording to Sri Lankan Customs, the bilateral trade in 2018 is about US$ 4.93 billion. Exports from India to Sri Lanka in 2018 were US$ 4.16 billion while imports were US$ 767 million. India is also one of the largest investors in Sri Lanka.
The conclusion of the armed conflict saw the emergence of a major humanitarian challenge with nearly 500,000 Tamil civilians housed in camps for internally displaced persons. the government Of India put in place a robust program of assistance to help the internally displaced persons to return to their normal life as good clean as possible this includes
- Construction of 50,000 housing units
- Rehabilitation of the northern railway lines
- Wreck removal and rehabilitation of KKS Harbour
- Establishment of vocational training centers
- Construction of a cultural center at Jasna, restoration of Thiruketheeswaram temple
- establishing an Agricultural Research Institute in the northern province
Sri Lanka is one of the major recipients of India’s development assistance which stands close to US dollar 3 billion, Out of which US dollar 560 million Are purely in grants. India’s Exim bank Of India and the government or she Lanka in June 2017 signed an agreement on the line of credit of US dollar 318 million.
- China’s growing influence in Sri Lanka and the debt trap.
- Hambantota port which was funded by Chinese firms now has full control over it as it was leased by the Sri Lankan govt for 99 years.
- India raises its concerns over this port as it can be used by the Chinese for docking warfare submarines.
- Fisherman issue – due to the proximity of the maritime boundary, a local fisherman by mistake enters in each other’s territorial boundary.
- Bottom trolling by Indian fishermen
Sri Lanka’s location is strategic for India’s maritime security so India is engaging with Sri Lankan government over defense cooperation and pledges not to use their land against each other’s interests. Both countries are Assisi conducting joint military abs naval exercises to boost their relations and cooperation.