Colombo, March 13 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that neighbours, especially Sri Lanka, will have first claim on India in their economic development.
Addressing the Sri Lankan parliament, Modi assured India’s full commitment to a development partnership with Sri Lanka.
“My vision of an ideal neighbourhood is one in which trade, investment and technology flow easily across the border; where partnerships are formed with ease of routine.
“As India becomes the fastest growing major economy, our neighbours will have first claim on India,” he said, and reiterated, “first claim of neighbours will be to Sri Lanka” – to loud thumping of desks by the parliamentarians.
Modi said he will be happy if India serves as a catalyst to neighbours’ growth.
He said Sri Lanka has the potential to be the strongest economic partner of India and assured that India will work to address concerns to boost trade and make it more balanced.
He also spoke of both sides harnessing the potential of the Indian Ocean and increasing cooperation in South Asia and boosting connectivity.
He assured of India’s commitment to development partnership with Sri Lanka.
“We see it as the responsibility of a friend and a neighbour,” he said and added that India had committed $1.6 billion to Sri Lanka and today has committed $318 million to the railway sector.