PM leaves for India on state visit today

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa departs to New Delhi today on a state visit to India on the invitation of his Indian Premier Narendra Modi from February 7 to 11. This is the first foreign visit by Rajapaksa after assuming duties as the Prime Minister in November last year.

During the visit, the Prime Minister will engage in high-level bilateral meetings with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and other senior government officials, according to government sources.

These meetings are expected to further strengthen the long-lasting relationship between the two countries and cover important sectors such as politics, trade, development, defense, culture and tourism, these sources said.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa also expects to finalize the discussions on the USD 450 million fresh line of credit, that the government of India announced for Sri Lanka during the state visit of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in November last year. In addition, discussions on Indian assistance to enhance training opportunities in the fields of vocational training and training of the public services will also be held during this visit.

With the aim of enhancing engagement in sub-regional maritime security cooperation, the two delegations are expected to discuss key areas under the defense and maritime security initiatives that include the Sri Lanka–India Annual Defense Dialogue and the Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation with India and Maldives.

In light of the deep historical, cultural and religious relations, the two sides will also pay attention to strengthening people-to-people contacts by expanding aviation links to the sacred Buddhist sites in India, including the “Sanchi Buddhist Complex” in Madhya Pradesh.

Following the talks, Prime Minister Rajapaksa is scheduled to visit historic religious sites in Varanasi, Sarnath, Bodhgaya and Tirupati.

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