Home Asia Discussion on SAARC, BIMSTEC, and Bilateral Ties between Nepal and Sri Lanka 

Discussion on SAARC, BIMSTEC, and Bilateral Ties between Nepal and Sri Lanka 

Nepal and Sri Lanka talked about enhancing their bilateral relations and participating in regional forums such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). These conversations took place during the first joint commission meeting between Nepal and Sri Lanka, which ended in Kathmandu last week.

Foreign Minister NP Saud and his Sri Lankan counterpart, Ali Sabry, who arrived in Kathmandu on Wednesday, co-chaired the meeting. Following the discussions in front of foreign ministers, the two nations reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the fields of science, technology, and innovation.

According to Saud, after they discussed their bilateral ties, they held thoughtful and friendly talks about bolstering BIMSTEC and SAARC, highlighting the necessity of advancement via collective agreements. He also mentioned that cooperation at the UN and other multilateral forums is very important.

The need to look beyond bilateral interests was emphasised by both ministers, even as they acknowledged the positive condition of bilateral ties and focused on topics like trade, investment, and connectivity. As Saud said, they found common ground and areas of interest for continued collaboration, underscoring the historical ties of friendship between the two countries. Nepal has been chairing SAARC since the last summit meeting in 2014, and both Nepal and Sri Lanka are members of BIMSTEC.

They discussed issues pertaining to trade, investment, connectivity, tourism, culture, education, immigration, and defence, among other things, during the meeting, as Saud stated. Sabry reaffirmed Nepal’s dedication to regional cooperation, highlighting shared endeavours in the areas of employment, tourism, health, and education in particular. He declared that they are giving special attention to regional initiatives like SAARC and BIMSTEC, promising to make extra efforts to get people from Sri Lanka to travel to Nepal.

It was also discussed how to further develop the two nations’ tourism connections, with both ministers expressing a desire to collaborate in this regard. The discussions were very positive, Sabry said, restating the objective of enhancing ties between Sri Lanka and Nepal. The two parties talked about the possibilities of building an air link between Colombo and Lumbini and expressed encouragement for the functioning of the Kathmandu-Colombo air connection.

Hon. Mr. Narayan Prakash Saud, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, and His Excellency Mr. M. U. M. Ali Sabry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, PC, MP, led their respective delegations to the meeting. The Nepali delegation included Ms. Sewa Lamsal, Foreign Secretary, H.E. Mr. Bashu Dev Mishra, Ambassador of Nepal to Sri Lanka, and senior officials of the Government of Nepal. The delegation of Sri Lanka consisted of H.E. Air Chief Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana (Retd.), the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Nepal, and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Kathmandu.