Rajapaksa’s coming to power will offer India an opportunity to turn the tables and transform the relationship with the neighbouring nation.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the newly elected Sri Lankan President, is on a three-day official visit to India where he will discuss ways of strengthening bilateral ties in key areas with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
PM Modi in the course of his first term had been making attempts to establish a progressive relationship with the island nation but the messed-up power setup and poor jurisdiction restrained the prospect.
Why is this visit notable?
Rajapaksa’s coming to power will offer India an opportunity to turn the tables and transform the relationship with the neighbouring nation. In the past few days, the newly elected president has been giving outright signals of having serious interest in stabilising the bond with India.
This is Rajapaksa’s first foreign visit after taking charge as president.
During the visit, Rajapaksa is accompanied by Secretary to the President Dr PB Jayasundera, Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Finance Ministry Secretary SR Attygalle and Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga.
In Delhi, Rajapaksa was bestowed a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan. He will be holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad House.
There is plenitude of issues to be discussed that include fulfilling aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, the situation in the Indian Ocean region and steps to boost trade and investment ties.
The Lankan leader and PM Modi are expected to discuss cooperation on counter-terrorism efforts.
Who is Gotabaya Rajapaksa?
In the recently concluded presidential elections in Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa triumphantly came to power by defeating his nearest rival Sajith Premadasa by a margin of over 13 lakh votes - 52.25 percent of votes polled against 41.99 percent.
He is a former military man who attended the counter-insurgency and jungle warfare school in Assam in 1980. He served as the defence secretary during his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa's tenure as president from 2005 to 2014. He is the second member of the Rajapaksa family to become the president.
First Published: IST