The visit came even as Sri Lanka continued to grapple with an economic crisis

India demonstrated the importance it attaches to its relationship with its closest maritime neighbour as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar completed his fourth official visit to Sri Lanka since 2019.

EAM Jaishankar had visited Sri Lanka earlier in November 2019, January 2021 and March 2022.

The latest visit, on January 19-20, 2023, came as Sri Lanka continued to grapple with an economic crisis. During the visit, EAM Jaishankar reiterated India's commitment to help the country deal with its current economic challenges.

"India stands with Sri Lanka. A brief look at my visit," EAM Jaishankar wrote on Sunday as he shared a video of the visit on Twitter.

During the visit, EAM Jaishankar called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

"India is a reliable neighbour, a trustworthy partner, one who is prepared to go the extra mile when Sri Lanka feels the need. We will stand by Sri Lanka in this hour of need and are confident that it will overcome the challenges it faces," EAM Jaishankar tweeted after meeting the Sri Lankan President.

He also had detailed discussions with his counterpart, Foreign Minister MUM Ali Sabry.

The significance of this visit was evident during the delegation-level meeting hosted by the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka. The participants included the Sri Lankan Ministers of Ports, Shipping and Aviation; Health; Industries; Investment Promotion; Power and Energy.

This reflected the breadth and depth of the growing partnership between India and Sri Lanka in diverse spheres, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka said.

During the visit, EAM Jaishankar highlighted the following points:

* India provided unprecedented financial support of USD 4 billion last year, in line with the ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy.

* India was the first creditor nation of Sri Lanka to support debt restructuring and convey financing assurances to the IMF. This was meant to clear the way forward for Sri Lanka and in securing the IMF programme.

* India will encourage greater investments in the Sri Lankan economy, particularly in key sectors like energy, tourism and infrastructure.

* India continues to be the single largest source of tourists for Sri Lanka.

In a press statement in Colombo on Friday, EAM Jaishankar also underlined that "India is a reliable neighbour, a trustworthy partner, one who is prepared to go the extra mile when Sri Lanka feels the need".

Besides meetings that spanned the entire gamut of India-Sri Lanka bilateral ties, the visit also saw the completion of several India-assisted projects.

President Wickremesinghe and EAM Jaishankar virtually inaugurated a building for the Kandyan Dancing Academy in Pallekele whose foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Sri Lanka in May 2017.

Around 350 housing units built with Government of India grant assistance in Galle, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Anuradhapura and Badulla Districts were also handed over in a virtual format on the occasion.

Additionally, EAM Jaishankar ceremonially handed over 50 buses supplied under an ongoing credit line for the supply of 500 buses to Sri Lanka's Minister of Transport and Highways Bandula Gunawardena towards strengthening the public transport infrastructure.

During the visit, he also interacted with the Business community of Sri Lanka and discussed the importance of economic growth as a solution to the current challenges.

According to the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, the visit highlighted the commitment of Government of India to re-double the efforts for long-term investment in sectors of priority for Sri Lanka such as ports, shipping, renewable energy, hydrocarbons, manufacturing, health, IT, tourism, pharmaceuticals so as to accelerate economic recovery.