Shringla is on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka, that began on Saturday, to review the bilateral ties between India and the island nation.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Tuesday called on Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and discussed ways to further advance the comprehensive bilateral partnership at all levels and reaffirmed the strong ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
Shringla arrived here on Saturday to review the bilateral ties between India and the island nation.
“Foreign Secretary @harshvshringla called on President HE Gotabaya Rajapaksa @GotabayaR today,” the High Commission of India (HCI) here said in a tweet.
“They reaffirmed the strong ties of friendship & cooperation between India & Sri Lanka and discussed ways to further advance this comprehensive partnership at all levels,” it said.
The meeting took place a day after the president returned from the US. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was in New York to attend the annual UN General Assembly.
In all his engagements, Shringla underscored India’s willingness to pursue economic and commercial ties between the two countries and post pandemic economic recovery by taking forward joint projects of mutual benefit was emphasised, officials said.
The Indian High Commission here said that the Foreign Secretary’s visit involving notable engagements in Colombo, Kandy, Trincomalee and Jaffna was “productive”.
“His visit will give further impetus and momentum to India-Sri Lanka ties,” it said in a tweet.
On Monday, Shringla had a “productive discussion” with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on further consolidating the multifaceted bilateral partnership.
He also met Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister GL Peiris and discussed bilateral ties in all spheres.
He also held delegation-level meetings with his Lankan counterpart Admiral (Retd) Prof. Jayanath Colombage on Monday. during which they reviewed bilateral cooperation.
During a meeting with the Tamil leaders on Monday, Shringla reaffirmed India’s commitment to protect the rights of Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil community through full implementation of the 13th Amendment, early convening of Provincial Council elections and achieving reconciliation.
India has been consistently calling upon Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments to protect the interests of the Tamil community and preserve the island nation’s character as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.
The 13th Amendment provides for devolution of power to the Tamil community. India has been pressing Sri Lanka to implement the 13th amendment which was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987.
On Sunday, Shringla inspected Jaffna’s Palaly airport in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated Northern province where he was briefed by officials on the development work undertaken with India’s assistance.
He also visited the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre, which is built with Indian grant assistance.
The Foreign Secretary also interacted with the Indian High Commission officers at the Mission premises on Tuesday.
“Team HCI is truly grateful for his words of encouragement and support,” the IHC said in another tweet.