Sri Lanka PM arrives in India on three-day visit

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived here Monday evening on a three-day visit during which he is to hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Wickremesinghe’s visit to India is his first overseas visit since taking over last month.

He is to hold talks with Modi on Tuesday. The two sides are expected to ink some MoUs.

Wickremesinghe will call on President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday at Rashtrapati Bhawan and hold talks.

Sri Lankan International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrema, who is accompanying Wickremesinghe, has said the focus of the visit will be more than just negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement which covers only trade and services.

He refuted opposition claims that the Sri Lankan prime minister will sign a comprehensive trade treaty with India. Samarawickrema said in a statement that the new Sri Lankan government’s objective is to focus on uplifting Sri Lanka and help the local economy generate much-needed jobs for youth through close ties with India, according to the Colombo Gazette.

He said, Sri Lanka is keen to have stronger ties with India in areas such as investment, technology, education, agriculture, industrial development and culture.

On Sunday, in a goodwill gesture the Sri Lankan government announced the release of 16 Indian fishermen who had been arrested for entering Sri Lankan waters.