India had signed an agreement with Sri Lanka to provide over USD 400 million for three projects

With a vision to bring access to clean water in both countries, Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay held discussions with Sri Lankan Minister of Water Supply Vasudeva Nanayakkara on Monday. Both leaders discussed ways to enhance the mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two countries, including the development of water supply infrastructure.

"Forging greater cooperation in an essential sector! High Commissioner HE Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Water Supply, Vasudeva Nanayakkara. Discussed ways to further enhance the mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two sides including the development of water supply infrastructure," said the Embassy of India in Sri Lanka on Twitter.

India had signed an agreement with Sri Lanka to provide over USD 400 million to finance three water supply projects in the country that would benefit at least one million consumers. One of the ongoing projects is the greater Dambulla Water supply projects in Sri Lanka.

“Access to clean water remains a priority for India and Sri Lanka Flag of India Flag of Sri Lanka. The greater Dambulla Water Supply project has been built with credit from India, while two others are currently under construction #lk #lka,” the Indian embassy in Sri Lanka said in another tweet.

Aside from the water infrastructure projects, India is involved in financing several developmental projects in Sri Lanka. The progress in these projects was discussed in a first of its kind virtual bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa last month.

Notably, the two leaders shared a positive assessment of the ongoing development cooperation partnership. Towards this end, both sides reached an understanding to extend the MoU on High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) for 5 years beginning 2020.

Further, both leaders agreed to continue the successful Indian housing project and gave instructions to the relevant officials to fast-track the construction of 10000 houses in the plantation sector.

Apart from this, they discussed ongoing infrastructure and connectivity projects and PM Modi expressed his confidence that the Government in Sri Lanka will take early and decisive steps for their early implementation following existing understandings and in the mutual interest of both sides.

Both sides are also working in strengthening financial cooperation. In July, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) finalized an agreement to extend a $400 million currency swap facility to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, which will remain available till November 2022.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi noted that India accords ‘special priority’ to Sri Lanka under India’s Neighborhood First policy.

Sri Lanka has also time and again come in support of India’s policies. Recently, Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa believes in India's first policy along with pursuing a neutral foreign policy.

The ties between India and Sri Lanka are strengthened by the shared history and ongoing developmental projects.