President Rajapaksa returns home after a successful three-day official tour of India directing relations between the two countries towards a new path and with a pledge of more than one Billion Dollars in financial assistance to the island.
It was on Tuesday night that the President embarked on an official tour of India. On arrival at the Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi, the President, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and his entourage were accorded a warm welcome by State Minister Praneetha Kovur and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao. It was Indian President Prathiba Patel who first had official talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa. On arrival at the President’s Palace, Rasthrapathi Bhavan to meet Prathiba Patel, the President and the First Lady was given a rousing welcome the Indian President and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The visitors were accorded a 21 gun salute.
The same afternoon, the President paid floral tributes to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
Thereafter, the President had bilateral talks with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. On arrival at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Hyderabad, the President was received with great honours by Dr. Singh. Before embarking on official bilateral discussions, they had a private meeting. Thereafter at the bilateral talks, they discussed at length the further strengthening of cooperation between the two countries. At this meeting, the Indian Prime Minister had consented to extending support to the Housing Programme mooted on behalf of the displaced in the North. It is a major benefit that Sri Lanka achieved. Dr. Singh also agreed to build 50,000 houses.
It was after the official talks that seven agreements were inked which is considered important for the two countries. The agreements covered economic, social, legal, women’s affairs, power and transport sectors. The agreements were signed in the presence of the two leaders. Many senior officials of the two countries were present on the occasion.
The President also received an opportunity during this tour to meet Tamil Nadu Parliamentarians in New Delhi. Discussions dealt at length on the possibility of how the Tamil Nadu Parliamentarians can contribution to the programme mooted by the Government to re-build the lives of the Northern polity. He emphasized that the Government was always taking decisions for the welfare and betterment of all of them. The President invited all Tamil Nadu Parliamentarians to visit Sri Lanka to see to themselves the programmes mooted by the Government to build the livelihoods of the Northern polity. Many Parliamentarians including T.R.Balu, A.K.S.Vijayan, Aadi Shankar, Thamarai Selvan,, Khanimoshi, Manisankar Aiyar and Thol Thirumawalan were present at this meeting,
Priority was given during this tour for a meeting with Indian Congress Party Leader Sonia Gandhi.
The President also had talks with India’s Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj, who is also the BJP Leader. He assured to the President to support Indian Government’s cooperation for Sri Lanka’s future development efforts and the economic promotion exercise.