New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave a joint press statement with the newly elected President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, during the latter’s three-day tour in India, to boost the bilateral relationship to “a very high level” by extending a $400 million line of credit towards the neighbouring island.

“The mandate given to you (President Rajapaksa) is the expression of the ambitions of the people of Sri Lanka for a strong country. A strong Sri Lanka is not only in the interest of India but that of the entire Indian Ocean region,” said PM Narendra Modi addressing first in the joint statement.

Speaking on how India has always extended full support to Sri Lanka, PM Modi said, “Sri Lanka and India share a strong bond. We give priority to our relations with Sri Lanka under our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.”

PM Modi announced a $400 million line of credit to be extended to Sri Lanka to underpin the bilateral ties and strengthen its economy. “Under the Indian housing project, 46,000 houses have already been made in Sri Lanka. 14,000 houses are being made further for Tamil origin people. A credit line of $100 million has also been given for solar projects,” he said further.

Modi also highlighted that India has always condemned and fought against terrorism. To promote the same in the neighbouring country, a $50 million line of credit has been extended to Sri Lanka to fight terrorism.

On the shared views on India’s reconciliation in Sri Lanka, PM Narendra Modi said, “President Rajapaksa told me of his inclusive political point of view on ethnic harmony. I believe Sri Lanka govt will take forward procedure of reconciliation to fulfil ambitions of equality, justice, peace and respect of Tamils.”

He said that the procedure of reconciliation will also include the implementation of the 13th Amendment.

Responding to Modi and addressing India in his maiden visit, Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa said, “I want to bring the relationship between India and Sri Lanka to a very high level…My expectations are very high.”

President Rajapaksa said that he held “fruitful talks” with the Indian Prime Minister on issues related to security and development, as well as economic cooperation. He further added that his country needed to work with the Indian government to address matters pertaining to security and development.

Notably, Rajapaksa received a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi on Thursday. As part of his maiden visit, the Sri Lankan President will also be meeting President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar.