Sri Lankan PM arrives on a 5-day visit to India

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in New Delhi today on a five-day state visit to India. Minister of State for Human Resources Development Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre received Mr Rajapaksha at the airport.

During the visit, Mr. Rajapaksa will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow and call on President Ram Nath Kovind.

External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar will also call on him. He will be accorded ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow. The visiting dignitary will also visit Rajghat to pay tributes to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

This is the first visit of Mr. Rajapaksa abroad since he took over as Prime Minister. The high-level delegation to India headed by the Prime Minister includes Community Empowerment and Estate Infrastructure Development Minister Arumugam Thondaman, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Douglas Devananda, Presanna Ranaweera MP, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundara, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance S.R. Atigala, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Ariyasinghe and Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister Professor G.L. Peiris. A host of issues will come up for discussion, including details of projects to be taken up under a fresh 450 million US dollars line of credit announced by India during President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s visit last November.

A statement by PM Rajapksa office said the scheduled meetings will build on the strong relationship that already exists between the two countries and include discussions on politics, trade, development, defense, culture and tourism, among others. The two sides will also discuss to strengthen people to people contacts and a new air service from Colombo to Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh may be announced.

The statement said the two delegations are expected to discuss key areas under the defence and maritime security initiatives that include the Sri Lanka-India annual defence dialogue and the trilateral maritime security cooperation with India and the Maldives.

The proposed Indian assistance to enhance training opportunities for Sri Lankan public officials and vocational training will also come up for discussions during the meetings. Prime Minister Rajapaksa is also scheduled to visit historic religious sites including Varanasi, Sarnath, BodhGaya and Tirupati during the visit.