India and Sri Lanka today signed a pact to boost economic ties after wide-ranging talks between their prime ministers during which the Indian leadership expressed the hope that the island nation will complete its reconciliation process within the two-year deadline.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe, who arrived here yesterday on a five-day visit, discussed a range of bilateral issues and matters of mutual interest, an external affairs ministry release said.

The Indian side also informed the Sri Lankan government of the measures taken by it in connection with deep-sea fishing by Indian fishermen, it said.

The Indian interlocutors also requested continued cooperation of the Sri Lankan government for humanitarian treatment of Indian fishermen, without resorting to force under any circumstances, the release said, adding the two sides welcomed the meeting of the Joint Working Group on Fisheries held in Colombo earlier this month.

“Pointing out that India had welcomed Sri Lanka co- sponsoring the Resolution “Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka” at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last month, the Indian leadership expressed the earnest hope that recommendations on the reconciliation would be completed within the stipulated time-frame of two years,” the ministry said.

The discussions of the Indian leadership with the Lankan PM provided both sides an opportunity to review the progress in implementation of the decisions taken during various high- level exchanges in the past two years or so, the MEA said.

The Indian side stressed on its commitment to promoting prosperity in the neighbourhood and affirmed its the continued support for realising the vision of the Sri Lankan leadership for a stable, peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka.

Modi also hosted a lunch in honour of the Sri Lankan leader.

After the meeting between their leaders, the two sides signed an MoU for “Cooperation in Economic Projects”, which outlines the agenda for bilateral economic cooperation in the foreseeable future, the ministry said. The pact also provides a framework to identify the infrastructure projects where India can invest.

Hoping for an early conclusion of the ongoing negotiations on an economic and technology cooperation agreement, both sides expressed their commitment to ensuring that the mutually beneficial agenda is expeditiously implemented, the MEA said.

The ministers of external affairs, home affairs and road, transport, highways and shipping also called on the Sri Lankan PM.

Wickremesinghe reiterated the invitation to Modi for a visit to Sri Lanka on the coming Vesak Day, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha.

“Details in this regard are being discussed and finalised between the two governments,” the MEA added.

Modi is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka next month to take part in the celebrations to be held in Colombo from May 12 to 14 to mark the Vesak event.