India and Sri Lanka agreed to cooperate on counter-terrorism during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa here on Friday.

Security

As part of this common strategy, India announced a special Line of Credit of $50 million for strengthening Sri Lanka’s abilities to counter terror threats. The April 21 Easter bombings, blamed on IS-inspired Sri Lankans, left at least 259 dead and hundreds of others injured.

Issues of Tamils

This was in addition to the $400 million Line of Credit that India announced for infrastructure development in the island nation.

Mr. Modi pointed out that India has been building housing units in the Northern and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka to assist the people who were displaced during the war of 2009. “We are delighted that under the Indian Housing Project, 46,000 houses have been constructed for the internally displaced in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. There is good progress in the construction of 14,000 houses for Tamils of Indian origin in the Up-Country region,” said the Indian leader.

Bilateral Relations

Mr. Rajapaksa extended an invite to Mr. Modi to visit Sri Lanka as the first foreign head of government to be hosted by the new presidency.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s visit to India is being viewed as a significant step for the new leader especially since the Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar took up the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils when he met him on November 19.

Breaking a long silence on the issue, India had conveyed that Sri Lanka should address the Tamil national question and provide the Tamils with “peace, dignity and justice.”

Source: The Hindu

Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; Bilateral Relations