Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe today took stock of the bilateral ties amid India recently showing interest to run an airport close to a port developed by China in the island nation, the Hindustan Times reported.
The visiting Prime Minister, who is in India primarily to attend the 5th Global Conference on Cyber Space, also called on President Ram Nath Kovind.
With New Delhi expressing interest to run the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) near Hambantota port developed by the Chinese, the meeting between the two leaders assumed further significance.
Sri Lanka is already an important partner for India in the Indian Ocean region (IOR), where China is trying to increase its influence.
Wickremesinghe arrived in India on Wednesday. He arrived at the national capital from Bengaluru, which was his first destination.
He was received at the New Delhi airport by Indian high commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
“A partnership marked by historical linkages and deep rooted friendship. Sri Lankan Prime Minister @RW_UNP arrives in New Delhi to participate in the 5th Global Conference on Cyber Space 2017,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Meanwhile, the UNI news agency reported that while expressing India’s keenness to strengthen the economic pillar of its relationship with Sri Lanka, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said that a lot can be achieved, given the synergy and economic complementarities between the two countries.
Addressing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe , who called on him at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President said, ”Development cooperation forms an important part of India-Sri Lanka bilateral engagement. India is keen to strengthen the economic pillar of its relationship with Sri Lanka. There is a lot that can be achieved, given the synergy and economic complementarities between the two countries.”
The President iterated India’s firm commitment to partner with Sri Lanka on projects of mutual interest. (Colombo Gazette)