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The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is more than 2,500 years old. Both countries have a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic interaction. In recent years, the relationship has been marked by close contacts at all levels. Trade and investment have grown and there is cooperation in the fields of development, education, culture and defence. Both countries share a broad understanding on major issues of international interest. In recent years, significant progress in implementation of developmental assistance projects for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and disadvantaged sections of the population in Sri Lanka has helped further cement the bonds of friendship between the two countries.

Sri Lanka has long been a priority destination for direct investment from India. Sri Lanka is one of India’s largest trading partner in SAARC. India in turn is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner globally. Trade between the two countries grew particularly rapidly after the entry into force of the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement in March 2000. According to Sri Lankan Customs, bilateral trade in 2016 amounted to US $ 4.38 billion. Exports from India to Sri Lanka in 2016 were US$ 3.83 billion, while exports from Sri Lanka to India were US$ 551 million.

Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank) on 8 March 2016 signed Buyer’s Credit Agreements, under National Export Insurance Account (BC-NEIA), amounting to US$ 403.01 million with National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) of Sri Lanka in Colombo, for financing three water supply projects. Under the Buyer’s Credit portfolio, EXIM Bank has already extended credit amounting to nearly US$ 185 million to Sri Lanka for water supply and other projects.

At a glance:


Country Name



Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka






65, 610









Government type       



Presidential Republic



Administrative divisions  



9 provinces; Central, Eastern, North Central, Northern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western



National Holidays  



Independence Day, 4 February



Fiscal year     



Calendar Year






Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)






Maithripala SIRISENA (since 9 January 2015)



Prime Minister



Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe since (9 January 2015)






22,409,381 (July 2017 est.)



Net migration rate     



-1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 populations (2016 est.)



GDP (purchasing power parity)



$260.6 billion (2016 est.)



GDP- composition by sector



Agriculture: 8.5%


Industry: 30.9%


Services: 60.6% (2016 est.)






Rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, spices, vegetables, fruit, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, beef; fish






Processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; telecommunications, insurance, banking; tourism, shipping; clothing, textiles; cement, petroleum refining, information technology services, construction.   



Major Exports



Textiles and apparel, tea and spices; rubber manufactures; precious stones; coconut products, fish.



Major Exports- Partners  



US 28.8%, UK 10.6%, India 6.6%, Germany 4.9; Italy 4.5% (2015)



Major Imports 



Petroleum, textiles, machinery and transportation equipment, building materials, mineral products, foodstuffs.



Major Importers- ­­Partners



India 28.3%, Japan 9.2%, UAE 7.1%, Singapore 6.1% (2015)



Natural resources     



Limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower, arable land






Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%

Note: English, spoken competently by about  10% of the population is commonly used in government and is referred to as the link language in the constitution






Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India