New Delhi: Newly-elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday arrived in India for his first overseas tour after taking reins of the island nation over a week ago. He is on a three-day visit to the country.
According to his schedule, Rajapaksa will on Friday hold extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explore ways to further expand the already close ties between the two neighbouring countries. Other issues that are likely to figure in the talks include fulfilling aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, the situation in the Indian Ocean region and steps to boost trade and investment ties.
Further, Gotabaya Rajapaksa will also meet President Ram Nath Kovind.
In a tweet, before leaving for New Delhi, Rajapaksa said he was looking forward to strengthening bilateral relations with India.
“Leaving for my first state visit to India and looking forward to strengthening bilateral relations with Shri @narendramodi and Govt of India,” he added.
Last week, India said that it was looking forward to working closely with the new Sri Lankan government.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former Defence Minister and also the brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was on November 18, sworn in as the island nation’s new president.
Three days later, he appointed his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister. The newly-elected Sri Lankan President was received at the airport by Union minister V K Singh.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar travelled to Colombo last week as a special envoy of Prime Minister Modi to convey his greetings to Rajapaksa. There have been apprehensions among the minority Tamil and Muslim communities about the new government’s policies towards them after the Rajapaksa clan tightened its grip over the country.
(With PTI inputs)