India’s prime minister Narendra Modi will briefly visit Sri Lanka on Sunday (9) during which he will hold discussions with president Maithripala Sirisena, according to the president’s office here.
Modi will be the first foreign leader to visit the island nation after the Easter bombings that killed over 250 people, including 11 Indians.
This will be Modi’s third visit to Sri Lanka. Earlier, he visited the country in 2015 and 2017.
“The Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is to arrive in Colombo on Sunday for a visit limited to a few hours. The re-elected Indian leader will be on transit from the Maldives,” president Sirisena’s office said.
The prime minister who will arrive at 11 am is to attend an official luncheon hosted by the Sri Lankan president Sirisena and hold bilateral talks.
On his visit to Sri Lanka, Modi said it was aimed at expressing solidarity with the people of the country, “In the wake of the terrible terrorist attacks there on 21 April. India stands with Sri Lanka in the fight against terrorism.”
“Our bilateral relations with Sri Lanka have gained considerable momentum in the last few years. I had the pleasure of meeting president Sirisena during his recent visit to India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new (National Democratic Alliance) government. I look forward to meeting the Sri Lankan leadership during my visit,” Modi added.
Sri Lankan police said they have made elaborate security arrangements for the visit, including traffic movement restrictions during the day.
In New Delhi, the External Affairs Ministry said that Modi is visiting the country with a very clear message of solidarity and signalling our confidence in the Sri Lankan government in overcoming the tragedy.
Asked whether India will help Sri Lanka deal with the scourge of terrorism, the ministry said on Thursday (6) it was ready for any assistance to any country of the region.
Sri Lanka was hit by a wave of bombings on April 21. The attacks came despite prior intelligence warnings from India.