Modi to write ‘golden chapter’ in Sri Lanka, India ties

COLOMBO, (EconomyNext) Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed the hope of raising Indo-Lanka relations to a new "golden chapter" with his upcoming visit to Sri Lanka next week.

He said his two-day visit starting Friday will make India’s relations with Sri Lanka "even stronger, in the larger interest of our people."

International focus will be on Modi’s visit to Jaffna where he is due to launch the construction of a cultural centre right next to the iconic Jaffna Public Library which was burnt down by members of the then UNP government in 1981.

"I consider it my good fortune that I would be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Jaffna," he said in a statement posted on his facebook page.

"I will visit the site of a Housing Project that is one among the many projects being taken up by the Indian Government for the benefit of the local people."

Modi will also become the second foreign leader to Jaffna, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils and the centre of a decades-long Tamil separatist war.

British Prime Minister David Cameron grabbed international headlines by travelling to Jaffna on the sidelines of the November 2013 Commonwealth summit that was overshadowed by his move.

Tamil politicians say Modi’s visit will send a strong message of New Delhi’s support to minority Tamils who have been pushing for a peace deal after the end of the LTTE’s separatist war in May 2009.

Modi will also be the first Indian leader to pay an official to Sri Lanka since Rajiv Gandhi’s 1987 visit to sign the controversial Indo-Lanka Peace Accord .

"India is committed in its support for Sri Lanka’s development and am sure together we are going to script a golden chapter in the history of India-Sri Lanka relations," Modi added.

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