The bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and India last year surged by over 70 percent and reached an estimated all-time high of US$ 5 billion, the High Commissioner of India Ashok Kantha said.
Describing the state of India-Sri Lanka relations at a function held at the India House in Colombo to celebrate India's 63rd Republic Day, the High Commissioner has said the year 2011 had witnessed impressive progress in all areas including political, security, trade, investment, tourism, education, culture, and development cooperation.
High Commissioner Kantha pointed out that India was the largest trading partner of Sri Lanka, a leading investor and also the source of the largest number of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka.
Indian companies have invested over US$ 100 million in Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner noted.
The Indian High Commissioner also highlighted the vast expansion in India's development assistance and the growing recognition that Indian projects were being completed in a timely and efficient manner.
Referring to the MoU signed for construction and repair of 49,000 houses under a grant assistance of US$ 260 million, The High Commissioner observed that project was one of the largest projects of its kind undertaken by India in a foreign country.
He emphasized the importance of cultural cooperation and people-to-people links and noted that India had increased scholarship schemes for Sri Lanka three-fold with a grant of Rs. 2.5 billion.
He revealed that the Indian Railways is planning to launch a special train named 'Damba Diwa Vandana', from next month to take Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims from Chennai to all the major Buddhist sites in India.