Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Opens: A New Era in India-Sri Lanka Cooperation
Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Opens: A New Era in India-Sri Lanka Cooperation

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe formally inaugurated the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Sri Lanka on Thursday. This centre, constructed with a USD 6 million grant from India, marks a significant step in enhancing maritime safety in the region.

Jaishankar met with President Wickremesinghe and conveyed warm greetings from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They discussed various avenues for bilateral cooperation, particularly in power, energy, connectivity, port infrastructure, aviation, digital, health, food security, education, and tourism sectors.

"Honoured to meet Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Conveyed Prime Minister Modi’s warm greetings and appreciated the progress on various bilateral projects," Jaishankar shared on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). "Under President Wickremesinghe's guidance, we discussed the future of India-Sri Lanka cooperation across multiple sectors."

The commissioning of the MRCC includes a main centre at Navy Headquarters in Colombo, a sub-centre in Hambantota, and unmanned installations in Galle, Arugambay, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kallarawa, Point Pedro, and Mollikulam.

During the virtual unveiling, Jaishankar also announced the handing over of 154 houses under Government of India (GOI) housing schemes. "Joined President Wickremesinghe and other officials for the virtual commissioning of the MRCC and the handing over of houses," he posted.

Furthermore, Jaishankar and Wickremesinghe unveiled plaques for 106 houses in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, and Matale, under the Indian Housing Project, with additional houses in Colombo and Trincomalee handed over virtually.

This visit marks Jaishankar's first trip to Sri Lanka in his second term as External Affairs Minister. He arrived in Colombo to a warm welcome from State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya and Governor of the Eastern Province Senthil Thondaman.

"Landed in Colombo for my first visit in the new term. Thank Minister Tharaka Balasuriya and Governor Senthil Thondaman for the warm welcome," Jaishankar shared.

Jaishankar's visit underlines India's 'Neighbourhood First' policy, emphasizing friendly and beneficial relations with neighboring countries. Additionally, it aligns with India's SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) initiative, which focuses on maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.

During his visit, Jaishankar will review ongoing Indian projects in Sri Lanka and discuss arrangements for a potential visit by Prime Minister Modi to the island nation. He is also expected to meet with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Previously, Jaishankar was part of Prime Minister Modi's delegation at the G7 Outreach summit in Italy and was present during the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi and the Union Council of Ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan, attended by President Wickremesinghe.

Jaishankar's last visit to Colombo was in October 2023 for the 23rd Council of Ministers' meeting and the 25th Committee of Senior Officials of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

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