New Delhi: In an important development, reports state that India is mulling offering Sri Lanka $50 million Line of Credit (LoC) to Sri Lanka in the defence sector. 

This comes at a time when tensions have escalated at the Chinese borders and China’s desire to increase its clout in the Indian Ocean Region and the Bay of Bengal. 

The two PMs have decided to “strengthen cooperation between the armed forces of the two sides, including through mutual exchange of personnel visits, maritime security cooperation and support to Sri Lanka in the spheres of defence and security”.

As per an Economic Times report, Sri Lanka could become the second country in India’s neighbourhood to receive defence-related LoCs. India is working with Bangladesh to implement a $500 miliion defence-related LoC offered a few years back.

The website adds that among the key elements of the current Indo-Lankan military cooperation, almost 50% of all foreign military training slots in India are allocated to Lankan defence personnel. Besides, there are regular high-level exchanges and visits, joint exercises, ship visits and sports interactions.

The two countries are also planning to have a robust counter-terror framework, including deradicalisation initiatives in the backdrop of the 2019 Easter bombings.

A note on Easter bombings: 

On April 21 last year, on Easter Sunday, three churches across Colombo were bombed apart from several top end hotels by Islamic suicide bombers. Later, as the country was coming to grips with the tragedy, smaller explosions took place at Dematagoda and Dehiwala.
According to official estimates, at least 258 people were killed, including 45 foreign nationals among which were 11 Indians. The church bombings happened at Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo.

The hotels that were bombed were the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Tropical Inn.

According to Sri Lankan authorities, the seven suicide bombers were associated with the National Thowheeth Jama'ath, a local militant Islamist group with suspected foreign ties, already known for attacks against Buddhists and Sufis.