Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will arrive in Sri Lanka on a two-day trip today (6) in preparation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit later this month.
Mr. Modi is scheduled to visit the island nation from March 13 to 15, and Ms. Swaraj will hold discussions on arrangements for the PM’s visit, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She will call on President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Ms Swaraj’s last visit to Sri Lanka was in 2012, as Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, leading a parliamentary delegation.
Mr. Modi’s is the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister since Rajiv Gandhi visited the island in 1987, to sign the Indo-Lanka Accord.
Mr. Modi is scheduled to travel across the island, covering Jaffna in the Tamil-majority Northern Province and Trincomalee in the Eastern Province, where India is helping build a power plant, and the ancient city of Anuradhapura in the North Central Province.
Modi to address Parliament
Mr. Modi will address the Sri Lankan Parliament during his visit later this month, Cabinet Spokesman Dr Rajitha Senaratne said. He is the third Indian leader to be given the special honour.
The last time an Indian leader addressed the Sri Lankan Parliament was in 1979 when then Prime Minister Morarji Desai visited Sri Lanka on the invitation of President J.R. Jayawardene to attend the island’s National Day celebration. Prior to that in 1973, Indira Gandhi spoke at the Sri Lankan Parliament.
The two leaders gave their address at what is now called the ‘old Parliament building’ and serves as the presidential secretariat on Colombo’s sea-facing Galle Road, before the new Parliament complex was inaugurated in 1982.