Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to India last month laid the foundation for a new era of cooperation in key areas like energy, connectivity, trade and tourism. By working together on trade facilitation, central bank cooperation, and IMF capacity-building, market-led regionalism can be the pragmatic way forward for India and Sri Lanka to achieve prosperity.
On July 21, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe is set to visit for the first time since taking office. India has already provided $5 billion in economic assistance to Sri Lanka, and is now looking to expand its investment in the nation. Sri Lanka is also seeing interest from Indian private investment. The visit presents an opportunity for the two countries extend this relationship in new areas of cooperation, especially energy, infrastructure, and tourism.
BIMSTEC is of special importance to India as it is a crucial link between the Neighbourhood First and Act East policies. This almost 25 year old multilateral can contribute to the Indo-Pacific region by addressing challenges in strategic areas of regional connectivity, security cooperation, free trade, and geoeconomic ties with external partners.
The visit of Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and COAS Gen. MM Naravane to Myanmar on October 4-5 will advance this vital relationship at a critical time. As the region’s geopolitics change, India’s Neighbourhood First and Act East policy and Myanmar’s deep-seated instinct for a balanced and independent foreign policy, must ensure that the two countries journey together as companion souls.