PM Modi reiterates Sri Lanka's importance to India's Neighbourhood First policy
- Prime Minister reiterated the importance of Sri Lanka to India's Neighbourhood First policy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa spoke on Saturday and discussed issues relevant to the bilateral and multilateral cooperation, including the coronavirus pandemic, a government statement said. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the leaders “reviewed topical developments and the ongoing cooperation between both countries in bilateral and multilateral forums.”
“They agreed to maintain regular contact between relevant officials, including in the context of the continuing COVID-19 challenges. Prime Minister reiterated the importance of Sri Lanka to India's Neighbourhood First policy,” the PMO’s statement added.
Prime Minister Modi also tweeted about the conversation with the Sri Lankan leader. “Had a telephone conversation with President @GotabayaR. We discussed issues relevant to our bilateral and multilateral cooperation, including in the context of COVID-19,” PM Modi said.
India gifted 500,000 doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII) to Sri Lanka, which kicked off the island nation’s vaccine rollout in late January. Rajapaksa thanked India in January for its generosity after he received the doses of Covishield vaccine donated by the country under the 'Neighbourhood First' policy.
In February, Sri Lanka received another 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from India. Sri Lanka’s acting health minister Channa Jayasumana said the new batch was ordered under an agreement between the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) of Sri Lanka and Serum Institute. Sri Lanka has placed an order for 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India at a cost of $52.5 million and a further 3.5 million doses directly from AstraZeneca Institute of UK under the Covax programme.
(With agency inputs)