Sirisena seeks to improve bond with India

Sirisena-Modi-NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday held talks during which they discussed bilateral civil nuclear cooperation among other key strategic issues.

On his maiden foreign trip after assuming office, Sirisena, who arrived in New Delhi on Sunday on a four-day visit, also held comprehensive discussions with the Prime Minister on ways to enhance economic ties.

“India and Sri Lanka leaders discussed measures to enhance economic ties. The leaders discussed four agreements,” spokesperson of the external affairs ministry Syed Akbaruddin said as Sirisena and Modi met at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

The four pacts which were discussed include those on civil nuclear cooperation, culture and agriculture. The issue of peace and reconciliation process in the island nation was discussed during the meeting spread over a working lunch, hosted by Modi.

Earlier, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj called on the visiting dignitary.

Addressing the media after holding talks with Modi, Sirisena said that he chose India for his first state visit.

“There is a very strong relation between our nations,” said Sirisena.

“We were able to strengthen our friendship. We have already signed agreements on several subjects,” he said.

The visiting Sri Lankan president said that this was his first official visit and it has given very fruitful results. “Relations between our countries will strengthen,” he added.

According to presidential advisors in Colombo, 63-year -old Sirisena, who had dethroned Mahinda Rajapaksa from his 10-year rule after a bitter Presidential poll on January 9, was desirous of making a new beginning in the Indo-Lanka relations.

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

India has also been pressing for implementation of 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution on devolution of powers. – From The Hindustan Times


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