Sri Lanka to Release Indian Fishermen in its Custody, Says President Gotabaya Rajapaksa; PM Narendra Modi Extends USD 450 Million Line of Credit to Island Country
PM Narendra Modi With President of Sri Lanka. (Photo Credits: Twitter)

New Delhi, November 29: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka will take steps to release Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka's custody after meeting India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House on Friday. Both the leaders held discussions to strengthen existing bilateral relations between the two countries. After talks, both leaders issued a joint statement that read, "Sri Lanka and India share a strong bond. We give priority to our relations with Sri Lanka under our 'Neighbourhood First' policy."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced a financial assistance of USD 50 million to Sri Lanka to deal with the challenge of terrorism after holding “fruitful” talks with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the newly-elected president of the island nation.

The prime minister also said he was confident that the new government in Sri Lanka will fulfil aspirations of the Tamil community in that country. In a media statement, Modi said India’s line of credit of USD 400 million will further boost Sri Lanka’s development.

However, sources said that after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced the release of all Indian fishermen's boats in Sri Lankan custody, reported ANI.

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In his first comment to media after landing in the national capital, the newly elected Sri Lanka president said that Colombo and New Delhi need to “work together” for economic development and security of their people.”It is my first overseas visit after assuming duties as a president of Sri Lanka. I want to express my gratitude to the India government to the President and the Prime Minister,” Rajapaksa said.

"My expectations are very high. As my tenure as the president. I want to take the relationship between Sri Lanka and India to a higher level. We have of course long-standing friendship–historically culturally and politically. We need to work together for economic development and security of our people,” he added.

Upon his arrival at Rashtrapati Bhawan, Rajapaksa was received by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Earlier in the day, Rajapaksa met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. He is slated to attend a programme in the city on Saturday. Later in the evening, Rajapaksa will emplane for Sri Lanka.

The 70-year-old Rajapaksa had defeated United National Party (UNP) candidate Sajith Premadasa by more than 13 lakh votes in the recently-concluded presidential elections in Sri Lanka. He is the second member of the Rajapaksa family to become the president.

After the results of the Sri Lankan elections, Modi had congratulated Rajapaksa over the telephone on his electoral victory. The Prime Minister, in his congratulatory message to Rajapaksa, had said that he looked forward to working closely with him for deepening the close and fraternal ties between the two countries and for peace, prosperity as well as security in the region. (With Agency Inputs)