Calling India the 'closest neighbour' and a 'long-standing friend', Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday extended an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the island nation.
Addressing a joint press conference with PM Modi here, Rajapaksa said, "I am certainly very happy to be here because India is our closest neighbour as well as our long-standing friend. I would avail this opportunity to invite Prime Minister Modi to visit us as the first head of government to visit Sri Lanka since my election as the President."
Rajapaksa thanked Modi for the USD 50 million aid extended to Sri Lanka to tackle terrorism, as well as for a USD 400 million Line of Credit to further boost the island nation's development.
He said that his country will work closely with India to ensure that the Indian ocean "remains a zone of peace", and assured that he will take steps to release the Indian fishermen's boats which are in Sri Lanka's custody.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I discussed several important topics this morning. The discussion was extremely cordial and reassuring. Among these the cooperation in regard to the security of our two countries took priority. We discussed in length the fishermen issue. We will take steps to release the boats belonging to India in our custody," he said.
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