India stands for a united, stable and prosperous Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today, emphasising that India’s development cooperation with the country will be as per the aspirations of its people and leadership.
In a video message on the launch of India-assisted emergency ambulance service for western and southern provinces of Sri Lanka, Modi said, “Today, the partnership between India’s capacities and your needs is not only touching the lives of our people, it also shows our path of constructive regional cooperation.”
“India’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka enjoys a wide spread of projects throughout Sri Lanka in different areas of economic activities. But it must happen as per your aspirations. It is for this reason that our cooperative projects rely on the choices and priorities set by the people, the leadership and the Government of Sri Lanka.”
Underlining that India stands for a united, stable and prosperous Sri Lanka, he said, “That is also the goal of our partnership. And the emergency ambulance service is a unique example of this friendship.”
Prime Minister Modi said the free ambulance service project, being implemented through grant assistance of India of around USD 7.55 million, represents a “concrete result” of how the close partnership between India and Sri Lanka benefits the people on the ground.
“It is another example of how Indian experiences, capacities and best practices can fulfil the needs of our friends in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the two countries have enjoyed trade and cultural relations for over centuries.
“We must strive to further strengthen our relations with India,” Wickremesinghe said.
“I asked the Prime Minister Modi if we could obtain this (ambulance) facility. He agreed without any hesitation. Modi is a man with humble beginnings he has overcome many hardships in life so he is aware of the value of such a service to the rural folk,” he said.
During his visit to Sri Lanka in March last year, Modi had received a request for assistance for setting of the emergency ambulance service in Sri Lanka.
After the visit, Wickremesinghe, wrote to Modi for support for setting up of an emergency ambulance service and its operations for the first year.
Modi had assured full support. The decision was formalised in September 2015 during the visit of Wickremesinghe to India.
India’s development portfolio in Sri Lanka is nearly USD 2.6 billion, out of which USD 436 million is pure grants.