The two countries also agree to increase intelligence sharing and cooperation on security issues, including “terrorism” and crime.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan has granted a $ 50 million line of credit for defense purchases in Sri Lanka, its foreign ministry said as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan concludes a historic visit to the island nation.
An agreement was also reached to increase intelligence sharing and cooperation on other security issues, including counterterrorism and crime operations.
Khan left Sri Lanka on Wednesday after a two-day visit that saw him meet with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, speak at a bilateral investment conference and hold talks many other commitments.
“Both sides expressed satisfaction with the existing bilateral defense cooperation and noted that the elevation of the staff level talks to the Defense Dialogue has further provided an opportunity to expand relations with the security sector, “a joint statement said.
Pakistan has provided significant military support to Sri Lanka in the past, especially during the latter stages of the decades-long civil war against Tamil rebels, when Pakistani forces provided training and material support to the Sri Lankan army.
The other major objective of Khan’s visit, the first by a head of state to Colombo since the Rajapaksas took power last year, was to strengthen trade and investment ties.
The Pakistan-Sri Lanka trade and investment conference, held in Colombo on Wednesday, sought to connect businesses from the two countries to expand trade, as the two grapple with a related economic slowdown. to the pandemic.
“The two sides stressed the importance of achieving the goal of achieving the bilateral trade target of US $ 1 billion and also agreed to work for the expansion and deepening of the free agreement. exchange between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, “the statement said.
In separate talks, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena discussed the possibility of connecting Sri Lankan ports to the southern Pakistani port of Gwadar, a flagship project in the China-Pakistan economic corridor. , according to a Pakistani statement.
“Foreign Minister Qureshi… stressed the mutual benefit that linking Gwader’s port in Pakistan to Sri Lankan ports could bring to both countries. He urged Sri Lanka to take advantage of the port of Gwader for easy access to Central Asian markets, ”the statement said.
The visit also focused on cultural exchanges and cooperation in the fields of sport and education.
Pakistan announced 100 new scholarships for Sri Lankan students who wanted to study in medical and dental schools in Pakistan.
The potential for expanding religious tourism was also discussed, with the joint statement highlighting the need to expand Sri Lankan tourism to Pakistan, which is home to a number of notable Buddhist archaeological sites.
While realizing the existence of a great potential for religious tourism for Buddhist archaeological sites and noting the close ancient and cultural ties that date back to the Gandhara civilization, both sides stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation in the tourism sector and highlighted the benefits of sharing expertise. in the hospitality industry, including training and capacity building, ”the statement said.
The two sides signed memorandums of understanding on strengthening cooperation in tourism, investment and educational exchanges. Pakistan also announced a grant of $ 330,000 for the promotion of sport in Sri Lanka.
A joint parliamentary body has also been reconstituted, with increased cooperation between the legislatures of the two countries planned. The two sides also stressed the importance of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (ASACR), a regional body which has experienced limited cooperation in recent years due to bilateral issues between India and Pakistan.