State Visit to India by President Mairthripala Sirisena

President Maithripala Sirisena undertaking his first State visit to India on 16th February was accorded an impressive welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi with a ceremonial Reception, Guard of Honour and a 21 Gun Salute. Thereafter, President Sirisena laid a wreath and signed the Visitors Book at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat.

On Monday, President Sirisena met Indian President Pranab Mukherji and had bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During his discussions with the Indian Prime Minister, President Sirisena observed that it was deeply significant that his first overseas engagement was to India which underscored the historical, longstanding bonds of friendship which exist between the two countries. The visit, he said was an excellent opportunity to strengthen the existing relations.

President Sirisena shared with the Indian leaders the parameters and the guiding principles which chart the policies of the new Government in Sri Lanka both domestically and internationally. He spoke of the extensive democratic reforms relating to governance and its structures as well as the new development paradigm reflected in the target oriented 100 Day Programme. The President also shared the elements of Sri Lanka’s new foreign policy trajectory of transparency and open engagement and expressed confidence that the warm friendship which the two countries have forged will also help overcome national and international challenges.

The extensive interactions covered a broad range of areas which presently straddle the bilateral relationship. It reviewed several initiatives underway including development cooperation, trade, resettlement and housing, connectivity, fisheries, energy, as well as matters of mutual interest in regional and international fora. The two sides agreed to recommence Commerce Secretary level discussions on trade and economic matters, while the Joint Commission headed by the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs will convene at an earlier date.

Prime Minister Modi, as a good will gesture, announced India’s decision to reduce entrance fees at the National Museum in New Delhi to Sri Lankan visitors paying homage to the Kapilavastu relics. While in New Delhi, the President and First Lady paid homage to the sacred Kapilavastu relics at the National Museum. During his visit to Sri Lanka High Commission he unveiled a replica of the Avalokitheshwara bodhisattva statue.

The visit also witnessed the signature of four instruments relating to Civil Nuclear Cooperation, Nalanda University, Cooperation programmes relating to Agriculture and Culture which will pave the way for deeper engagement between the two countries.

He reiterated the invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Sri Lanka and said that he looked forward in earnest to receive the Prime Minister shortly.

Several Ministers and political leaders including Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs of India, Shri Arun Jaitly, Minister of Finance, Shri Manohar Parikkar, Minister of Defence, called on the President. Former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Indian National Congress Leader Smt. Sonia Gandhi, and Shri Karan Singh also paid a joint call President Sirisena.

The President will be visiting Buddhagaya and Thirupathi to participate in religious observances.

Presidential Media

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