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Sri Lanka keen to join BRICS, seeks India’s support

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COLOMBO : Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry expressed his country’s keenness to join the BRICS grouping on Monday and conveyed that the group has become a ‘good body’ after India became part of it. He emphasized that Sri Lanka would reach out first to India whenever it formally applies to join the BRICS grouping.

“We will look forward for BRICS. Also, I think the cabinet had appointed a sub-committee to look into that and recommend to us. We would like to see that because we would like to have multiple options. Who doesn’t want to? So therefore BRICS is a good body, particularly since India is a part of it,” Mr Sabry said in an interview.

“The first country we would be talking to is India and seek India’s support for us to reach to the BRICS. And then of course I have been invited to take part on the BRICS foreign ministers meeting in Russia. So I hope that I will be there and then we will assess that. And yes, I think that right now personally if you ask me, I think that we should look at BRICS seriously,” he added.

On January 1, 2024, Russia took over the chairmanship of BRICS, an intergovernmental organisation that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, plus four new members: Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates joined BRICS as new full members, which is a strong indication of the growing authority of the association and its role in international affairs.

When asked if Sri Lanka is looking to host any high-level visit from India, the Sri Lankan Minister said that his president visited India recently and now they are looking to host the Indian Prime Minister and a high-level delegation in the country.

“We are looking forward to the visit to the Indian prime Minister as soon as possible when the circumstances conduce you for such a visit because my president already visited last year. So this is the turn for the Indian prime minister to visit Sri Lanka,” he said.

“We would hope for a high-level delegation with a very powerful business delegation accompanying the honourable Prime Minister and visiting Sri Lanka in near future, that will further strengthen our relationship, which is at an all-time high,” he added.

At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited India on an official visit on July 21, 2023. This was President Wickremesinghe’s first visit to India since assuming the current responsibilities.

During his visit, President Wickremesinghe met President Droupadi Murmu and held discussions with the Prime Minister and other Indian dignitaries on a range of issues of mutual interest.

Sri Lanka is an important partner in India’s Neighbourhood First Policy and Vision SAGAR. The visit reinforced the longstanding friendship between the two countries and explored avenues for enhanced connectivity and mutually beneficial cooperation across sectors.

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