Russia and Sri Lanka have signed various agreements to increase trade and commerce, economic investment and defense cooperation between the two countries, specifically establishing cooperation in several sectors, including fisheries, defense and tourism.
Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena traveled to Moscow last week, marking the first official tour of a Sri Lankan leader to Russia in four decades.
At the end of the bilateral discussions, the two countries entered into a new Agreement of Cooperation in Fisheries and two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to expand bilateral cooperation in several fields, such as, energy, trade and commerce, agriculture, education, judiciary and defence.
Russia also extended a new credit line of US Dollars 135 million for the purchase of defence equipment and other Russian products.
Russia expressed interest in investing in several areas to increase bilateral trade. The Russian ministerial delegation that participated in bilateral discussions said, Russian entrepreneurs desire to invest in the ailing tea plantations to restore them and export tea to Russia.
The investment interests were expressed after President Maithripala Sirisena, in his initial remarks during the bilateral meeting with the Russian delegation headed by President Vladimir Putin explained his economic development strategies and urged development assistance and investments.
President Sirisena, emphasizing the need to cooperate in the tourism sector, requested the Russian leader to resume the direct flight to Colombo by Aeroflot, which was introduced 52 years ago, but stopped a few decades back. Minister of Tourism, John Amaratunga said, there is a steady increase in tourist arrivals from Russia and that direct flight connections would improve it further.
Fisheries is one of the areas that Russia agreed to support. In addition to providing expertise to upgrade fishing, Russia also agreed to explore possibilities in investing in the inland fisheries sector.
Source: Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Office