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India supported us without conditions  – Milinda



Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda has lauded New Delhi’s support to his country which came without “condition” and the package was “extremely flexible

India last year gave financial support of USD 4 billion as the country underwent a major economic crisis. Speaking to our diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal, High Commissioner Moragoda said, “India helped us to stabilise the economy and the country “reached out to the IMF and some of the bilateral partners like Japan.”

Essentially, India was Sri Lanka’s first creditor nation to support its debt restructuring which will soon pave the way for an IMF bailout. The country requires the support of all its major creditors, including China to get IMF support. On China extending its support for debt restructuring, he said, “China has given a letter but it is at the moment not sufficient to meet the requirements of what the IMF is expecting. So this discussion is still ongoing.”

The high commissioner pointed to high-level visits between the two sides, including by Sri Lankan Petroleum to India and the annual defence dialogue later this month. On the visit of the Chinese spy ship Yuan Wang 5, the envoy explained that “the lesson we have learnt is that we have to ensure that there is constant communication, unambiguous and frank communication”

This was the first TV interview of the high commissioner where he also spoke on Indian conglomerate Adani Group’s investment in the western container terminal, cultural connect and implementation of the 13th amendment.”

When asked about Sri Lanka’s current economic situation, envoy Moragoda pointed out that the reasons are multifaceted including Covid pandemic, the Ukraine war and a situation where Colombo was not able to pay its debt.

“We had over-borrowed, and we had not worked out enough ways to pay back. India stepped in very quickly,” he said adding that it was “extremely flexible” because had the country gone to any other institution like IMF at that time they would have wanted it to go through a whole process. “India instead, basically backed through different instruments,” the envoy said praising aid received from India.

He also appreciated India for reaching out to the international community including Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman urging IMF in Washington to help the island nation hit by the economic crisis.

On sprucing up the flow of tourists from India, the High Commissioner told WION that Sri Lanka’s tourism ministry is actually working on it as India is the main market. “We are also looking at increasing connectivity and have been speaking in the leaders in the aviation sector here, to see what will it take for more Indian airlines to fly to Sri Lanka, what are the obstacles,” he said.

High Commissioner also spoke on the defence partnership between the two nations. “On maritime surveillance and Dornier, we already have one and discussions about a second because that was part of the arrangement we agreed on.”

Replying to a question about any concerns over Adani projects, High Commissioner said, “As of now, not. That is a very good project, and the Adani group is very strong in that particular sector. It is interesting, the statistic is 80% of trade, business done by Colombo port is transhipment business, and 70% goes to India. Colombo port’s main business is with India. 35% of that 70% is already going to Adani ports, Adani-controlled ports. From a Business point of view, it is a perfect fit. So, therefore, we are not concerned about it.”


(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by has not been edited by SLM staff)


President’s House to be shifted to Sandun Uyana




The government has decided to construct a new President’s Official Residence and the Presidential Secretariat on the site of the National ‘Sandun Uyana’ (Sandalwood Garden) built at a cost of Rs.300 million.

Since it has been decided to use the President’s House premises in Colombo Fort for a development project under the Colombo Port City Project, it has been decided to build a new President’s House and the Secretariat at the Sandun Uyana.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana Wickramaratne has also recommended that the Sandun Uyana prepared in nine acres near the Parliament premises is suitable for that purpose.

Accordingly, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed the Urban Development Authority (UDA) to prepare future plans and submit a report.

The President’s Office said that it has also been decided to relocate the Prime Minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s official residence on another plot of land located near the Sandun Uyana.

The President has informed the UDA to look into the possibility of moving the Cabinet office to another plot of land nearby, and the President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake to study the space required for this construction and submit a report.

The Sandun Uyana project was built and opened during the tenure of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

A total of 300 red sandalwood plants and 900 white sandalwood plants were planted in the garden at a cost of Rs.300 million by the UDA.

Although this garden was planned to be opened by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on July 20, 2021, it was opened by Minister Namal Rajapaksa.

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Only 50 Dollars to go to India by passenger ferry!




Sri Lanka will commence the operations of the passenger ferry service between Kankesanthurai and Pondicherry on April 29, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation said.

It said a passenger terminal is currently being constructed at the Kankesanthurai Port to facilitate the ferry service by the Sri Lanka Navy.

Ferry owners have mentioned during a recent discussion that they will be charging 50 US Dollars per passenger for a one-way trip, while allowing a passenger to carry baggage weighing 100kg. 

A ferry is expected to carry 150 passengers at a time and will take around 4 hours to travel from Karaikal Port in Pondicherry to Kankesanthurai.

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that any businessman in India and Sri Lanka can join this passenger ferry service.

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Uebert Angel brought in by Jerome Fernando involved in gold smuggling!




It has been revealed that Zimbabwean pastor Uebert Angel, who was brought to Sri Lanka by ‘Born-Again’ religious sect leader Pastor Jerome Fernando, is involved in large-scale gold smuggling.

This was revealed during an investigation conducted by Al Jazeera News.

This pastor has also worked as a Zimbabwean diplomat.

The Zimbabwean pastor has participated in the services held at the Katunayake ‘Miracle Dome’ hall owned by Pastor Jerome Fernando on several occasions.

During his visit to Sri Lanka, the Zimbabwean pastor had met former presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa as well.

According to Al Jazeera, Uebert Angel has laundered millions of US dollars through gold smuggling.

Angel, appointed ambassador-at-large and a presidential envoy by Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa in March 2021, has told reporters he would be able to carry large volumes of dirty cash into the country using his diplomatic status.

The 44-year-old, who claims to be a prophet and heads a congregation — the Good News Church — with branches in 15 countries, said he would facilitate a scheme through which unaccounted cash could be exchanged for Zimbabwe’s gold. 

Source – Aruna

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