New Delhi: The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, received the President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at Rashtrapati Bhavan yesterday, 29 November, and hosted a banquet in his honour. Welcoming President Rajapaksa on his first State Visit to India, the President said that as close neighbours the countries’ growth and progress are tied together, adding that both have a common stake in the peace and prosperity of the neighbourhood.
Our bilateral relationship has its own standing and footing, and we must make progress in that manner, said Kovind, urging his Sri Lankan counterpart that both should strengthen cooperation in all fields to promote shared security and development of both countries and the region. A close relationship should be built upon common aspirations, shared commitment to work together, and mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns, said Kovind.
He said that India has always been keen to strengthen the economic pillar of the bilateral relationship and promote greater trade and investment links between India and Sri Lanka. India wants Sri Lanka to be part of its growth story, Kovind added, observing that there is a lot that can be achieved given the synergies between the economies.
President Kovind said that development cooperation is an important pillar of India-Sri Lanka ties. India is happy that its engagement with Sri Lanka in this regard has brought tangible benefits to the people, Kovind remarked, adding that India is ready to undertake more projects of mutual interest, as per Sri Lanka’s own requirements and priorities.
Subsequently, in his banquet speech, President Kovind said that India attaches the highest importance to its relationship with Sri Lanka. We wish to see a stable, prosperous and peaceful Sri Lanka, wherein the aspirations of all her people are fulfilled, and inclusivity and respect for diversity are the strength of shared democratic values, he said, adding that the Government’s vision of inclusive development, ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’ also extends to the neighbourhood.
President Kovind said that the two countries’ shared heritage is deep and abiding. We need to find innovative ways to further cement our multi-faceted ties for the mutual benefit of our peoples, said Kovind, offering deep appreciation for the Sri Lankan Government’s resolve to work closely to ensure stability and security in our region.
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