Will work together with India, says Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in joint statement with PM Modi

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 29, 2019, 02.01 PM(IST)

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File photo) Photograph:( AFP )

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PM Modi announced a $400 million line of credit to the island nation which included $50 million to fight terror.

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa  met PM Modi at Hyderabad House today as the two leaders sought to further bilateral relations between the two countries.

Addressing a joint press briefing, PM Modi said, "A strong Sri Lanka is not only in the interest of India but that of the entire Indian Ocean region," adding, "the mandate was given to you (Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa) is the expression of the ambitions of the people of Sri Lanka for a strong country."

"Sri Lanka and India share a strong bond. We give priority to our relations with Sri Lanka under our 'Neighbourhood First' policy," PM Modi said.

Under the Indian housing project, 46,000 houses has already been made in Sri Lanka with 14,000 houses being further made for people of Tamil origin. India has also extended $100 million credit line for solar projects.

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"We exchanged our views on reconciliation in Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksa told me of his inclusive political point of view on ethnic harmony," PM Modi said.

"I believe the Sri Lanka government will take forward procedure of reconciliation to fulfil ambitions of equality, justice, peace & respect of Tamils," the Indian prime minister added.

 Earlier, PM Modi and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had a closed-door meeting in which they discussed over twenty community projects, including the issue of Indian fishermen. PM Modi announced a $400 million line of credit to the island nation which included $50 million to fight terror.

The Lankan president said his country would work with India to strengthen ties.

"Will work to make the Indian Ocean peaceful," Gotabaya Rajapaksa said while issuing the joint statement.

The newly elected president had earlier met India's external affairs minister S Jaishankar. Gotabaya Rajapaksa later met India's national security adviser Ajit Doval.

During the day, the Sri Lankan president was accorded a ceremonial welcome with President Kovind and PM Modi present during the ceremony.