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Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s first visit to India

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Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake undertook an official visit to New Delhi India from 6th – 7th June 2017. During this visit he met the Indian Prime Minister Naredra Modi and the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. He also had separate meetings with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. 

The first item on the agenda was the courtesy call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. Prime Minister Modi stated that he was pleased to welcome the new Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka who is on his first visit outside the country. Prime Minister Modi said that as Minister Karunanayake held the Finance portfolio, there is no doubt that now as the Minister of Foreign Affairs he would give the necessary leadership and continue to work closely with India for the mutual benefit of both countries. 

Foreign Minister Karunanayake conveyed the greetings of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Prime Minister Modi. He thanked Prime Minister Modi and the Indian Government for the prompt relief assistance provided to Sri Lanka following the recent floods and landslides in the country. While expressing India’s solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka affected by this natural disaster, Prime Minister Modi expressed his appreciation to Minister Karunanayake for being present at the Colombo Port to receive the donations. Referring to his recent visit to attend the International Vesak Celebration in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Modi said that it was a memorable visit due to the spiritual element that is associated with Vesak. Prime Minister Modi further said that India will stand by Sri Lanka’s forward march towards progress and prosperity. In response Minister Karunanayake said that the frequent visits at the highest level have brought about a close bond between the two countries. He also said that he would continue to work actively in taking the bilateral relations to greater heights. Referring to the initiatives taken especially on economic cooperation projects, the Minister said that he would ensure greater focus on their implementation aspect. The discussion also covered avenues for collaboration in other areas of common interest. It was agreed that as neighbours, and more importantly as friends, India and Sri Lanka will continue to remain engaged and work together for the benefit of the two countries and the region. 

At the meeting between Minister Karunanayake and the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, held at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Bhawan of the Ministry of External Affairs, the two Ministers took note of the excellent bilateral relations and the progress made with regard to all areas of mutual interest. Minister Karunanayake conveyed the greetings of his predecessor Mangala Samaraweera to Minister Swaraj and said he would continue the excellent work carried out during the last two years. The meeting was followed by a dinner hosted in honour of Minister Karunanayake by Minister Swaraj. 

At the end of the official programme Minister Karunananyake conducted a press briefing organised by the High Commission of Sri Lanka for a select group of New Delhi based journalists. Minister Karunanayake also made a brief visit to the Sri Lanka High Commission. 

High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in India Chitranganee Wagiswara, Senior Director General of the South Asia and SAARC Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asoka Girihagama and the Media Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs W M S Kumara were associated with Minister Karunanayake at the meetings. 

High Commission of Sri Lanka, New Delhi

7 June 2017

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