Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, centre, his wife Maitree, left, and India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pose for photographs after Wickremesinghe arrived at the Indira Gandhi international airport in New Delhi yesterday.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived for a three-day state visit in New Delhi yesterday, his first official trip since winning a parliamentary election last month.
The foreign ministry in Colombo said that during the visit, Wickremesinghe will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and call on Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Xinhua news agency reported.
Indian cabinet ministers and political leaders are among those who are expected to call on the Sri Lankan prime minister, the ministry said.
Bilateral instruments on cooperation in the health sector, an Indian grant assistance for implementation of small development projects and frequency co-ordination for the Saarc Satellite will be initiated during the visit.
Meanwhile the Sri Lankan government yesterday decided to release 16 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture to mark Wickremesinghe’s visit to India.
The fishermen had been arrested by the navy for poaching in local waters.
The prime minister’s office said that it decided to release the fishermen in order to ensure the strong friendship between India and Sri Lanka is maintained.
No evidence of IS operations: The Sri Lankan government yesterday said there was no evidence to back claims that the IS militant group was operating in the island nation, defence secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said even as there were reports of a Sri Lankan man joining the jihadist group.
A Sri Lankan national, known as Abu Shuraih Sailani in the IS organisation, was killed in an airstrike in Syria in July while fighting for the militant group. He was reportedly the first Sri Lankan member in the IS, Xinhua news agency reported.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe instructed the police to arrest and question the family members of the suspected militant and investigate what links he had with the IS jihadist group.
Meanwhile, Hettiarachchi said the country’s national security would not be relaxed and the military would remain alert for potential threats from domestic and foreign elements.
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