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To counter Chinese influence, India to host Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa

Stage set for the first overseas visit of Sri Lankan Prime Minister to India next month, when both sides will seek to strengthen security influence in the Indian Ocean.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s two day visit from Feb 8-10 to New Delhi and he will is expected to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top officials and focus on issues related to trade, fight against terrorism, and boosting maritime security.
The two countries share a maritime border and are separated by the Palk Strait; and both hold a strategic position in South Asia.

The visit of the Prime Minister of that country next month assumes importance as New Delhi is making all attempts to keep close ties with the island nation in an effort to keep the Chinese influence at bay. Also, he is the former president the present president older brother.

According to sources, the visiting leader is expected to go to the ancient holy city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He is also expected to visit Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, who is worshipped not only in India but also in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

After the new government in Sri Lanka took over in November 2019, the visit by the prime minister of that country is going to be the third top Sri Lankan dignitary to visit India. Thus signaling the good relations between the two neighbours.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the first who came here on November 28, and this was followed by Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, who was in New Delhi recently.

Ahead of the visit National Security Advisor of India, Ajit Doval met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of that country and the two discussed besides deepening of cooperation on national security, intelligence sharing, but also maritime security and other issues of mutual interests.

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