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Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to begin his India visit today

Colombo, PTI | Updated : 15 February 2015, 12:18 AM

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will leave for India today on his first foreign trip after assuming charge during which he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discuss key issues including peace and reconciliation process in his country.

The 63-year-old leader, who will arrive in New Delhi tomorrow, will hold talks with Indian leadership on February 16 and will travel to Buddhist pilgrimage site Bodh Gaya and Hindu temple in Tirupati on February 17. The Sri Lankan President will return on February 18.

Briefing reporters on the Presidential visit, the Spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi had said both the countries were looking at “substantive talks” in terms of announcement of agreements and frameworks.

All bilateral matters including economy, peace and Sri Lankan reconciliation process, which is an important issue, will be discussed during Sirisena’s visit, he said.

India has been hoping that the new government will develop Lanka on the “foundation of genuine and effective reconciliation” creating harmony between all sections there.

Sirisena, who dethroned Mahinda Rajapaksa after a bitter presidential poll on January 9, has indicated that he wants to have closer relations with India.

He will also meet President Pranab Mukherjee, who will host a banquet in his honour.

New Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera also visited India on his first foreign trip soon after assuming charge last month during which he held talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj.

During Samaraweera’s visit, the two countries agreed to re-engage on repatriation of refugees from India as both sides held substantive talks on a raft of crucial matters Including the political reconciliation process and the sticky fishermen issue.

First Published: Saturday, February 14, 2015 11:34 PM
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