NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will begin his three-day Sri Lanka visit from Tuesday where he will interact with the island nation’s top leadership and review bilateral ties between the two countries.“At the invitation of the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Hon’ble Dinesh Gunawardena, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar will pay an official visit to Sri Lanka from 5-7 January 2021. He will hold discussions with his counterpart and Sri Lanka’s leadership on the entire gamut of bilateral relations. This will be the first foreign visit by EAM in 2021, and also, the first by a foreign dignitary to Sri Lanka in the New Year,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement, adding that “it signifies the priority both countries attach to strengthening their close and cordial relations in all spheres of mutual interest”.
Jaishankar’s previous visit to Sri Lanka had come November last year immediately after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed office. The visit was seen as an attempt to reset the bilateral ties. President Rajapaksa had also visited India in his first foreign trip after assuming charge.
During this trip, Jaishankar is likely to meet the Sri Lankan president, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena.Sources said the foreign minister may also discuss the fishermen’s issue. The visit is also close on the heels of the December 30 virtual meeting of the joint working group on fisheries where talks were held on the arrest of 36 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu and seizure of their vessels allegedly on charges of poaching.