Modi and Gota discuss reconciliation, ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka

Visiting Sri Lankan President Gotayaba Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today discussed wide ranging issues, including reconciliation and ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka.

The talks took place as Rajapaksa undertook his first official overseas visit as Head of State after being elected President.

Rajapaksa was accorded a grand welcome at Hyderabad House following which he engaged in bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi.

“We exchanged our views on reconciliation in Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksa told me of his inclusive political point of view on ethnic harmony,” Prime Minister Modi said at a joint press conference in New Delhi after the talks.

Modi said that he was confident the Sri Lankan Government will pursue the process of reconciliation, to fulfill the aspirations of Tamils for equality, justice, peace and respect.

He said the process also includes the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

“A strong Sri Lanka is not only in the interest of India but that of the entire Indian Ocean region. The mandate given to you (Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa) is the expression of the ambitions of the people of Sri Lanka for a strong country,” Modi said.

He said that Sri Lanka and India share a strong bond and India gives priority to its relations with Sri Lanka under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

President Rajapaksa, meanwhile, invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Sri Lanka as the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka since the Presidential election.