India and Sri Lanka signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 2 February 2017 to construct a multi-ethnic tri-lingual secondary school in Lanka’s Polonnaruwa District.
The MoU was signed by Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka and Sunil Hettiarachchi, the Secretary to the Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Education.
• The construction of the school will be carried out with the help of a grant worth Rs 30 Cr given by the Government of India.
• The project aims to create a fully-equipped school with all necessary amenities including furnished classrooms, laboratories and a library.
• The school would provide equal opportunities to Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim students to study in a multi-ethnic, tri-lingual and multi-cultural environment.
• Apart from this, the project would also contribute to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s efforts to promote and strengthen reconciliation and unity in the island nation.
• Polonnaruwa, the district where the school will be built is President Maithripala Sirisena’s home district.
India- Sri Lanka relations
• India is Sri Lanka’s sole neighbour, separated by the Palk Straight and so, the relations between the two nations have been historically mostly friendly.
• Both the nations occupy a strategic position in South Asia and have managed to build a common security umbrella in the Indian Ocean.
• The only controversy that came in between the two countries was the Sri Lankan Civil war and the failure of India to intervene during the conflict.
• Recently, China’s closeness to Sri Lanka in terms of naval agreements has been a slight cause of concern for India.
• However, India signed a nuclear energy deal with Sri Lanka in February 2016 to further improve relations.
• There have also been demands from Indian entrepreneurs to construct a road linking Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu with Thalaiamannar in North Sri Lanka for further development of trade and investment between the two nations.
• Apart from this, talks are on in Sri Lanka to offer the port of Trincomalee to India. The port is one of the best deep sea ports in the world.
• The action is being considered by the nation in order to maintain a neutral stand and provide equal access to its ports to both China and India.