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24 Apr, 2024 11:34

South Asian state plans to join BRICS

Becoming a member of the group will boost transport and food security, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Russia says
South Asian state plans to join BRICS

Sri Lanka intends to formally seek membership of the BRICS group of nations, the South Asian country’s ambassador to Russia announced on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, Janitha Abeywickrema Liyanage confirmed that “Sri Lanka is planning to join BRICS+” and expressed hope that accession would provide “an opportunity to ensure both transport and food security.”

The BRICS group of non-Western economies – which previously comprised Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – has recently seen a major wave of expansion. Earlier this year, four nations – Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt and the UAE – became members, and more are expected in the future. 

Colombia, Venezuela, Thailand, Cuba, Senegal, Nigeria, Bahrain, Belarus and Pakistan are among the countries recently expressing an intention to become part of BRICS. 

The Sri Lankan ambassador also announced that a project under which tourists from Russia can receive visas free of charge to visit Sri Lanka could be extended beyond April 30. Initially, their validity was set to expire on March 31, but was prolonged for a month.

“The issue is now being considered, perhaps there will be a further extension,” Liyanage said, noting that last winter several new direct flight routes were established between Russia and Sri Lanka, boosting tourism to the island nation.

Liyanage also announced that Sri Lanka plans to open three new Russian language centers, in cooperation with Russian universities. She explained that such centers are already functioning, and that 138 people have graduated from Russian language courses.

According to the ambassador, there are currently about a thousand Sri Lankan students studying at Russian universities and looking for employment. She explained that the Sri Lankan hospitality sector is actively developing, and that the importance of learning Russian has grown due to the influx of Russian travelers – who represent the “largest tourist flow” to the island.

She noted that the Russian language is popular in Sri Lanka because “relations between the countries go back many years and they have always been warm and friendly.”