India-Sri Lanka Ties: New Developments and Civil Nuclear Deal

India-Sri Lanka Ties: New Developments and Civil Nuclear Deal

Q. “Indo-Sri Lanka relations have gained momentum following President Sirisena’s recent visit.” Discuss and analyse with reference to the civil nuclear deal between the two nations.

India-Sri Lanka Ties: Recent Developments

• New direction and momentum following President Sirisena’s visit
• Four substantiative agreements signed
• Agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
• Since 2010, Sri Lanka aimed to utilise nuclear energy in industrial applications and fields such as medicine and agriculture
• Defence and security cooperation to be enhanced in existing trilateral format with Maldives
• Fishermen from India and Pakistan will be facilitated in every way; negotiations to be carried out and resolution of problems in “constructive and humanitarian” way
• Public statements on Tamil question were not discussed
• Agreement were sought for strengthening strategic ties, increase in trade and resolution of longstanding issues amidst the two nations
• Security and prosperity of two countries indivisible: Indian PM
• Signing of 3 agreements on agricultural cooperation
• MoU on Nalanda University
• Sri Lanka also joined the Nalanda University Project; recalls the historic link with Prince Mahindra and sister Sanghaamitra visiting Sri Lanka as apostles of Buddhism
• Agreement on cultural cooperation
• Change in regime a key to better bilateral ties between Sri Lanka and India
• Two nations share broad range of interests such as economic development for nations and peace as well as prosperity for South Asia apart from maritime security in the region
• Largest trading partner with Sri Lanka now India
• More balanced growth in trade is observed in both directions
• This promotes greater flow of investment as well as tourism from India to Sri Lanka
• Commerce secretaries set to review bilateral commercial relations
• Further sea and air connectivity between the two nations to be enhanced
• PM Modi also indicated in his statement that Indian assisted projects for Internally Displaced Persons in Sri Lanka have made good progress
• Developing partnership in a broad range of areas such as infrastructure emphasised
• Culture also a strong bond between nations; Programme of Cultural Cooperation signed for nurturing ties and promoting contact between the peoples of the nations

Civil Nuclear Deal

• India has sealed a nuclear energy agreement with Sri Lanka: first breakthrough with the new government
• As per the deal, India will assist Sri Lanka for construction of nuclear energy infrastructure including training of personnel
• Sri Lanka may purchase light small scale nuclear reactors later
• Nuclear agreement enables India and Sri Lanka to share expertise on radioactive waste management, nuclear disaster mitigation as well as environmental production
• Personnel from Sri Lanka will also be trained in the use of radioisotopes, nuclear and radiation safety as well as nuclear security
• Sri Lankan politicians have also raised concerns regarding safety of Indian nuclear power plants in TN; issue likely to receive resolution soon
• Nuclear agreement “would 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.”


Civil nuclear deal is a great step forward for the two nations. This can open avenues for cooperation in other sectors as well. Equally important is addressing of humanitarian concerns and betterment of relations between fishermen’s associations in the two neighbouring nations. Sri Lanka and India are now set to address the regional imbalance in South East Asia.
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