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NSA Ajit Doval meets Sri Lankan president, pledges $50 mn assistance from India

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India pledged a USD 50 million assistance to Sri Lanka on Saturday as National Security Advisor Ajit Doval called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and discussed a range of bilateral issues, including strengthening cooperation in defence, intelligence sharing and maritime security.

Doval arrived in Colombo on Saturday on an official visit during which he will also meet several foreign diplomats and discuss important issues of mutual interest.

“A very cordial discussion was held with National Security Advisor of India, Ajit Doval today. Strengthening of bilateral cooperation on national security, intelligence sharing, maritime security & fostering of regional collaboration, were some of the key points of discussion,” Rajapaksa said in a tweet.

The President’s office said Doval pledged that India will provide USD 50 million to Sri Lanka to help the country purchase equipment for its security forces.

Doval has become the second highest ranking Indian official to visit Colombo after Rajapaksa assumed office in mid November.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was the first foreign dignitary to visit Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa chose New Delhi for his first overseas visit after becoming the president.

India’s pledge for enhancing defence cooperation comes days after Russia said it will assist Sri Lanka, which is seeking ways to consolidate its regional position through balanced diplomacy and attracting foreign investments, to improve its defence capacity.

“We have been providing Sri Lanka cooperation in defence and we will continue to do so,” Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavarov said here on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka has seen a flurry of visits from high ranking foreign officials this week, including from the US, Japan and China. PTI

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