India and Sri Lanka have agreed to expedite projects, including promoting Buddhist ties, under a special Indian grant of $15 million.
High Commissioner Gopal Baglay and Minister of Buddhashasana, Religious, and Cultural Affairs Vidura Wickramanayaka held talks on Tuesday to expedite jointly-identified priority projects including promotion of Buddhist ties and functioning of the Jaffna Cultural Centre (JCC), the Indian High Commission in Colombo said in a statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the special grant for the promotion of bilateral Buddhist ties at the Virtual Bilateral Summit on September 26, 2020 and the related MoU was signed in March this year, during the visit of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to Colombo.
Discussions were held on the installation of solar power facilities in places of worship and Pirivenas or schools where monks are trained around the country from the grant.
“The meeting on JCC focused on the establishment of an enabling joint-framework to make the state-of-the-art facility available for regular use by common public. This glowing example of India-Sri Lanka development partnership, which has been constructed under a government of India grant of more than $11 million, consists of multiple facilities such as a museum of two floors, a latest theatre style auditorium for more than 600 people, a 11-storeyed learning tower, and a public square which could also act as an amphitheatre, among others,” the High Commission statement said.
The statement also noted that the meetings with the minister underscored India’s abiding commitment to bring about a palpable impact to the daily lives of the people of Sri Lanka through the implementation of people-centric grant projects.
“These projects are guided by the demands and needs of all sections of Sri Lankan society and the priorities of the government of Sri Lanka,” it added.
So far, India has been associated with the implementation of more than 85 grant projects in the island nation and the latest endeavours include the Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity Project.