During the visit of Sri Lanka’s newly-elected President Maithripala Sirisena in second week of February 2015, India and Sri Lanka inked four agreements, including one on civil nuclear cooperation.
Prime Minister Modi, addressing the media after the delegation level talks held at Hyderabad House, said the agreement on civil nuclear cooperation was “yet another demonstration of our mutual trust”. He said it is the first such agreement that Sri Lanka has signed and it “opens new avenues for cooperation, including in areas like agriculture and healthcare”.
Both sides also held talks on the issue of peace and reconciliation process in the island nation.
Ties between the neighbours had come under strain under the Rajapaksa government, especially on the issue of arrest and incarceration of Indian fisherfolk and over Sri Lanka’s increased dalliance with China. The berthing of a Chinese submarine in Colombo port had caused consternation in India.
The agreement on civil nuclear cooperation is to “facilitate cooperation in the transfer and exchange of knowledge and expertise, sharing of resources, capacity building and training of personnel in peaceful uses of nuclear energy … including use of radioisotopes, nuclear safety, radiation safety, nuclear security, radioactive waste management and nuclear and radiological disaster mitigation and environmental protection”.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishment of Nalanda University would enable Sri Lanka to participate in the Nalanda University Project.
The agreement on Cultural Cooperation for 2015-18 is aimed to enhance the level of cooperation in a wide variety of fields such as performing arts, visual arts, libraries, museums, archives and cultural documentation, archaeology, handicrafts, publications and professional exchanges, an official statement said.
The Work-Plan 2014-2015 under the MoU for agricultural cooperation is aimed to facilitate bilateral cooperation in agro processing, agricultural extension, horticulture, agricultural machinery, training in farm mechanisation, livestock diseases, etc. between relevant institutes and organisations from both countries.