Sri Lanka leader says co-operation with India will strengthen economy

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said the government had struck a number of deals with India during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit Friday that would strengthen the island’s economy.

Relations between the two neighbours that had "weakened" during the previous regimes were now improving, he said after talks with Modi.

Sirisena said bilateral relations that improved during his visit to India last month are being further strengthened and expanded with Modi’s arrival in Sri Lanka on a two-day visit.

These visits along with co-operation agreements reached Friday covering economic and trade relations, health, education, regional security, sea and air transportation and the development of the country has "turned a new page in the cooperation between our two countries," he said.

Modi’s visit was the first by an Indian premier in 28 years.

"We have seen the relationship between our countries weakened during the time of some regimes," Sirisena said, referring to the ousted Rajapaksa regime under whom ties with India were strained.

"We see this as a most fortunate event for the government and the people of Sri Lanka. We consider this visit of the Indian Prime Minister as a blessing both to the Government and people of Sri Lanka."