India Notes Increase In Investments In Sri Lanka

(MENAFN- Colombo Gazette) India has taken note of an increase in investments in Sri Lanka as well as other countries in the region.

India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in a veiled dig at Maldives President Mohamad Muizzu for his comment earlier this year, said that big bullies do not offer $4.5 billion aid or vaccine or food when neighbouring countries are in distress.

Jaishankar was responding to a question on whether India is being perceived as a“bully” in the region. Moreover, the question was in reference to Muizzu calling India a bully amid the India-Maldives row.

Jaishankar, who was speaking at an event promoting his book 'Why Bharat Matters', stressed on India's role in providing assistance to its neighbouring countries whenever any crisis arose. As per ANI, Jaishankar said at the event,“The big change today in this part of the world is what has happened between India and its neighbours. When you say India is perceived as a big bully, you know, big bullies don't provide $4.5 billion when the neighbours are in trouble. Big bullies don't supply vaccines to other countries when Covid-19 is on or make exceptions to their own rules to respond to food demands or fuel demands or fertiliser demands because some war in some other part of the world has complicated their lives.”

The minister's comment comes after Muizzu had said earlier in the year,“We might be small but that doesn't give you the licence to bully us.” Maldivian ministers were suspended for their derogatory remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had posted pictures from his visit to Lakshadweep and had promoted the union territory as a tourist destination.

Jaishankar said that much has changed between India and its neighbours, especially with Nepal and Bangladesh. He said there are roads and railways and waterways that didn't exist a year ago. Indian businesses use Bangladeshi ports on a national treatment basis, he said. Jaishankar also highlighted the increase in investments in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives.

“The volume of the trade and the investments which are there, it's actually a very good story to tell. Not just with Nepal and Bangladesh, with Sri Lanka as well, I would also say even with the Maldives,” the minister said, further adding that Bhutan has consistently been a strong partner of India.

“So, our problem in the neighbourhood, very honestly, is with respect to one country. In diplomacy, you always hold out hopes that, yes, okay, keep at it and who knows one day what the future holds,” he said.

Meanwhile, Muizzu had asked India to remove military personnel from the island nation before March 10. The remaining Indian troops manning the two aviation platforms will be withdrawn by May 10. Muizzu is widely seen as a pro-China leader. (Colombo Gazette / Business Today)


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