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India appoints a new envoy to Sri Lanka just days before Rajapaksa’s visit

Ahead of the first overseas visit of Sri Lankan Prime Minister next week, former spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs and current Joint Secretary in the PMO, Gopal Baglay, is country’s next High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. Bagley will be leaving for his assignment soon.

According to the MEA the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will be visiting India from February 7-11 and will hold talks with the top leadership in an effort to further, deepen ties between the two countries.

From New Delhi, he will travel to Varanasi, Sarnath, Bodh Gaya and Tirupati.

As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, external affairs minister S Jaishankar in January had visited the island nation and held talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena on a wide range of issues including fishermen matter.

Besides efforts to strengthen maritime security in the Indian Ocean, in New Delhi the Sri Lankan leader will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and focus on economic and trade cooperation, and fight against terrorism.

Both nations hold a very strategic position in the region as the two share maritime border and are separated by the Palk Strait. To ensure that the Chinese influence is kept at bay in the island nation, New Delhi has been making efforts to keep close ties.

Soon after the new government came to power in November 2019, there have been high level visits from that country and this will be the third visit of a top leader to India, signalling the strong relations between the two neighbours in the South.

The first top visit from Sri Lanka was of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and this was followed by Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

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