Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa reached India on Thursday on his first official foreign visit. He is also accompanied by Rajapaksa’s secretary PB Jayasundar and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s advisor Lalit Viratunga on this three-day visit. President Rajapaksa has come to India at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During this visit, he will hold talks with PM Modi to deepen strategic bilateral relations.
Rajapaksa is considered close to China. In such a situation, after winning his election, it is a matter of increasing concern for India. The Indian Foreign Minister S.K. Jaishankar had met Rajapaksa on an unannounced two-day visit. The President was the first foreign minister to meet Rajapaksa. Despite being close to China, Rajapaksa has chosen India for his first foreign trip, which is considered a major breakthrough in Indian foreign policy.
President Rajapaksa, who arrived in New Delhi on the special call of PM Modi, was welcomed by Union Minister VK Singh at the airport. On Friday, he will meet Prime Minister Modi and then he will also meet President Ramnath Kobind.
Earlier, shortly before leaving for India, Rajapaksa tweeted about his visit to India. In his tweet, Rajapaksa wrote, ‘I am going to India on my first foreign trip and looking forward to further strengthening our bilateral relations with PM Narendra Modi and Government of India’.
The 70-year-old Rajapaksa had a stunning victory in the results of the presidential election on November 17. He defeated his nearest rival Sajit Premdas by a margin of over 13 lakh votes. The former defense secretary is credited with helping end the long civil war against the LTTE. He is the seventh President of the country.
During the meeting with the Foreign Minister of India, Sri Lankan officials had said that Jaishankar had a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which Rajapaksa was congratulated in private. Along with this, he was also invited to travel to India.