- PM Imran said that Sri Lanka could strengthen its connectivity up to the Central Asian States by benefiting from the CPEC
- The premier is on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka on the invitation of Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa
- The prime ministers of both the countries also reaffirmed their resolve to work together across a broad range of areas
COLOMBO: During his two-day visit to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the country could strengthen its connectivity up to the Central Asian States by benefiting from the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
Addressing a joint press conference with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa here after holding one-on-one and delegation-level talks, he said: “My visit is aimed at strengthening the bilateral relationship [with Sri Lanka], especially trade and economic ties through enhanced connectivity.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Mahinda Rajapaksa also held wide-ranging discussions with a focus on reinforcing a broad-based and enduring partnership between the two countries to advance the shared objectives of peace, stability, and economic prosperity in South Asia.
Finding means to increase trade, economic relations
The premier asked his delegation to find ways and means to enhance trade and economic relations between the two countries through increased connectivity.
The prime ministers of both the countries also reaffirmed their resolve to work together across a broad range of areas during extensive consultations held here at the Temple Trees (Prime Minister’s Office).
The one-on-one meeting between the two prime ministers was followed by delegation-level talks between the two sides.
They acknowledged the immense opportunities and vast potential for mutually beneficial collaboration in the areas of trade and investment, IT and human resource development, agriculture and science and technology, security and defence cooperation, and culture and tourism.
Appreciating the rich Buddhist heritage of Pakistan and the existence of a great potential for religious tourism, it was agreed to enhance mutual collaboration including through sharing expertise in the hospitality industry, training, and capacity-building.
Both sides expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral fora and resolved to further deepen strategic communication and coordination at all levels.
Three pillars of economic security
Pakistan’s shifting focus from geo-strategic to geo-economics was underscored during the discussions. The three pillars of Pakistan’s economic security vision – peace, development partnerships, and connectivity – were highlighted.
The prime minister emphasised the importance of resolving disputes through dialogue and promoting the vision of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia and beyond.
The two sides reiterated their commitment to the principles and objectives of the Saarc Charter and agreed on the importance of taking forward the Saarc process for regional cooperation.
The leadership noted that both Pakistan and Sri Lanka had done relatively well in handling the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
During the meeting, the importance of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Global Initiative on Debt Relief’ for developing countries to mitigate the adverse socio-economic impacts of the pandemic was highlighted.
PM Imran underscored Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability in the region. He also underlined the imperative of constructive engagement by all sides to promote a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
PM Imran thanks Sri Lankan counterpart for warm hospitality
PM Imran expressed deep appreciation and sincere gratitude to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality accorded to him and his delegation.
He extended a cordial invitation to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience.
The two leaders also witnessed the signing ceremony of important MOUs (memorandums of understanding) on cooperation in the fields of tourism, investment, education, and technology.
It was also agreed to keep the momentum of high-level exchanges between the two countries.
The meeting was followed by a banquet hosted by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in honour of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his delegation.