Official Visit of the President Rajapaksa to India
President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid an official visit to India from 19-22 September 2012, following his State Visit to India in June 2010. He visited Delhi as Guest of Honour at the concluding ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and visited Mumbai in April 2011 as well for the Cricket World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka.
During the visit, President Rajapaksa called on the newly-elected President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, held official talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, attended a dinner hosted in his honour by the Prime Minister and visited Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh on 21 September.
President Rajapaksa congratulated President Pranab Mukherjee on his election and recalled his valuable contribution to the progress of Indo-Lanka relations during his long years of public service as a cabinet minister in the Government of India, especially in his capacity as Minister of External Affairs and as Minister of Finance. The two Presidents reviewed progress in bilateral relations and discussed measures for further consolidation of Indo-Lanka friendship and partnership.
The visit was an opportunity for the President, together with the Prime Minister of India, to review the entire gamut of bilateral relations including economic and trade relations, discuss measures to expand relations for mutual benefit, and review progress of projects implemented with India.
President Rajapaksa expressed appreciation for the steps taken by the Government of India to celebrate jointly with the Government of Sri Lanka, the 2600th Anniversary of the Enlightenment of Gautama Buddha. In this context, he thanked the Prime Minister of India for making arrangements for the exposition of the Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka, especially, the extension of the period of the exposition.
President Rajapaksa briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on progress being made with regard to rehabilitation and reconstruction in the North and the East and resettlement of internally displaced persons. Reconciliation efforts and progress in implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) featured as well, in the discussions between the two leaders.
President Rajapaksa’s delegation to bilateral meetings included Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Monitoring Member of Parliament Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka to India Prasad Kariyawasam and Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs K. Amunugama.
- Asian Tribune -