Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday left for India on his first official overseas visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr Rajapaksa is accompanied by his Secretary PB Jayasundera and Lalith Weeratunga, Advisor to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. During the two-day visit, the Lankan president will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deepen strategic bilateral ties.
The 70-year-old leader stormed to victory in Sri Lanka's presidential elections, the results of which came on November 17. He trounced his nearest rival Sajith Premadasa by a margin of over 13 lakh votes - 52.25 per cent of votes polled against 41.99 per cent.
On November 19, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar arrived in Colombo on an unannounced two-day visit. He became the first foreign dignitary to call on President Rajapaksa. Sri Lankan officials said S Jaishankar carried a letter of personal congratulations to President Rajapaksa from Prime Minister Modi and an invitation to visit India, reported news agency PTI.
Here are the highlights of President Rajapaksa's India visit:
India has been our closest neighbour and our close friend in the region. We have agreed that the it shall be our priority to ensure that the Indian Ocean remains as a zone of peace. Sri Lanka will work with India to ensure this. Our overall relationship with India is multi-faceted: President Rajapaksa
Thank you for inviting me. It has been my honour to be here. Today, our talks primarily focused on security. I would like to take this opportunity to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Sri Lanka: President Rajapaksa
India and Sri Lanka have had close ties for ages. These age-old ties are being strengthened further. Both India and Sri Lanka can work together for a better future and enhanced security in the region. India and Sri Lanka can do a great deal to ensure each other's safety and security. India has decided to extend a $400 million line of credit towards our neighbour Sri Lanka towards infrastructure development: PM Modi
It is a matter of immense pride for the people of Sri Lanka and the region as a whole for the peaceful way in which elections were conducted in Sri Lanka. It is a matter of happiness for us that President Rajpaksa has chosen India as his first overseas destination after becoming President of Sri Lanka: PM Modi
Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in Delhi.
President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Delhi: During my tenure as President, I want to take Sri Lanka-India relationship to a higher level. The two countries have a long standing friendship. We need to work together for economic development and security of our people.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday met newly-elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa during which a range of bilateral and regional issues were discussed, officials said.
Mr Rajapaksa arrived in New Delhi on Thursday in his first overseas tour after taking over the reins of Sri Lanka 10 days back in reflection of the importance he attaches to ties with India.