Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has met his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa in New Delhi on Saturday.
In their talks, Modi and Rajapaksa deliberated on ties between the two nations and resolved to further deepen anti-terror cooperation and boost trade and investment ties.
“The stability, security and prosperity in Sri Lanka is in India’s interest, but also in the interest of the entire Indian Ocean Region,” Modi said in his media statement. He said India has been a “trusted partner” in Sri Lanka’s development, and that the India will continue to assist Sri Lanka in its journey for peace and development.
On the long-pending Tamil issue, Modi was confident that the Sri Lankan government will realise expectations of equality, justice, peace and respect of the Tamil people. Referring to the fishermen issue, Modi said both sides have decided to adopt a humanitarian approach in dealing with it. “We have decided to deepen cooperation to combat terrorism,” Modi said.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met the Sri Lankan PM Rajapaksa, and discussed issues relating to the development of partnership and security cooperation between the two neighbours. Officials said a number of issues relating to defence, security and trade figured in the meeting between the Sri Lankan prime minister and Jaishankar.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, the older brother of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, arrived in New Delhi on Friday on a five-day trip, his first overseas visit after being appointed as the prime minister of the island nation in November last year.
After his official engagement in Delhi, Rajapaksa will travel to Varanasi, Sarnath, Bodh Gaya and Tirupati.
Mahinda Rajapaksa served as Sri Lanka’s president from 2005-2015, becoming one of the longest-serving leaders in South Asia. He was also the prime minister for a brief period in 2018.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited India in November which was also his first official overseas trip after taking charge of the top office. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure as president saw China expanding its footprints in the Indian Ocean island nation, triggering concerns in India.