Lanka Prez Rajapaksa accepts invite to visit India

New Delhi/Colombo, Nov 19 (IANS) With Sri Lanka’s newly sworn-in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa accepting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invite to visit India, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is on a visit to the island nation.

Jaishankar is visiting Colombo on a brief trip as part of India’s outreach to the new dispensation under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Prime Minister Modi had in his message of congratulations invited the new Sri Lankan President to visit India, which he has accepted.

President Rajapaksa has accepted the invitation to visit India as the two countries look forward to further strengthen the bilateral relations under the new administration.

“Conveying the good wishes on behalf of the people of India and on his own behalf, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that under the able leadership of Mr Rajapaksa the people of Sri Lanka will progress further on the path of peace and prosperity and fraternal, cultural, historical and civilizational ties between India and Sri Lanka will be further strengthened,” Modi’s office said in a statement.

The Prime Minister has reiterated India’s commitment to continue to work with the government of Sri Lanka towards these ends.

Rajapaksa thanking Modi for his good wishes has accepted the invitation for a visit. He also expressed his readiness to work with India very closely to ensure development and security.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday visited Colombo

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who assumed office as President of Sri Lanka on Tuesday, in a statement, said his government will maintain “equi-distant and cordial relations with all countries”.

“As a policy, we will maintain an equi-distant and yet, cordial relations with all countries and remain neutral in the power struggles amongst nations. I also appeal to all global leaders, to respect the sovereignty and unitary status of Sri Lanka,” he said.

“This morning I assumed the duties officially as the 7th Executive President of Sri Lanka. The occasion was attended by former President HE Maithripala Sirisena and I take this opportunity to thank him for his service to the nation.”



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