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Fisheremen issue will take sometime to resolve: Modi

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India and Sri Lanka on Friday inked four agreements, including on cooperation in customs, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo.

Later, he was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the presidential secretariat. Modi and Sirisena then held delegation level talks after which the two sides inked four agreements.

The agreements are for exemption from visa for holders of diplomatic passports, cooperation in mutual assistance in customs, an MoU for youth development, and another for establishing a Rabindranath Tagore museum at a Sri Lanka university.

At the joint press conference with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Mr. Modi said “India stands ready to help Trincomalee become a petroleum hub”.

Mr. Modi said the RBI and Central Bank of Sri Lanka agree on $1.5 billion currency swap agreement to help keep the Sri Lankan Rupee stable.

Mr. Modi added “Fishermen’s issue has both livelihood and humanitarian dimensions. It will take some time to resolve.”

Mr. Modi asserted “India stands with Sri Lanka in new peace mission, equality for all including Sri Lankan Tamils, implementation of 13th Amendment and something beyond.”

Modi arrives in Sri Lanka

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew into the Sri Lankan capital in the early hours for a historic visit during which he is expected to hold talks with the country’s top leadership.

Mr. Modi was received by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe at the airport after he arrived in Colombo for a two-day visit at 5.25 a.m. following an overnight journey from Port Louis in Mauritius in a special Air India plane.

Sri Lanka is the final stop of his three-nation tour of Indian Ocean island nations that took him to Seychelles and Mauritius.

He will also hold talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickramasinghe.

Mr. Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka is considered to be an opportunity to further strengthen all aspects of the bilateral relationship.

At the joint press conference with Sri Lankan President M. Sirisena, Mr. Modi said “India stands ready to help Trincomalee become a petroleum hub”.

Read: Knitting the India-Sri Lanka relationship closer

His trip to Sri Lanka is also the first standalone prime ministerial visit to the island nation since 1987 when Rajiv Gandhi came here.

“I see this visit as an opportunity to further strengthen our relationship in all its dimensions — political, strategic, economic, cultural, and above all, people to people contacts,” he had said in his pre-departure statement.

Mr. Modi will also address the Sri Lankan Parliament during his visit. He will be the first Indian Prime Minister and only the second foreign leader after British Premier David Cameron to visit Jaffna in the war-ravaged Northern province, where he will hand over homes built with the help of Indian assistance.

Some 20,000 such homes were built in Jaffna described by India as “a flagship cooperation project currently in Sri Lanka”.

He is also expected to meet leaders of the Tamil National Alliance and other political parties.

Mr. Modi is accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

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