Newly-elected Sri Lankan president to make first trip to India

Sri Lanka’s newly-elected president Maithripala Sirisena is to make his first official visit to India next month to strengthen bilateral relations, an official said on Sunday.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called and congratulated Sirisena after he was declared the winner in the hotly-contested elections last Thursday.

“Modi invited President Sirisena to visit India. He will be doing that next month. We believe relations with India is very important and the two leaders are keen to have a close relationship,” top aide and spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told reporters.

Dr. Senaratne, who was the former fisheries minister and crossed over with Sirisena, also noted Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody will be immediately released as a goodwill measure.

The two countries held several rounds of talks over the dragging issue of Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen fishing in each other’s territorial waters but failed to reach any agreement.

The new president is also keen to maintain relations with China and the west, Dr. Senaratne said.

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