The partnership between India and Sri Lanka must progress in the spirit of being the closest of neighbors and friends, the visiting External Affairs Minister Suhsma Swaraj said Friday.
"India and Sri Lanka are bound by ties of history, geography and culture. Our partnership must therefore, progress in the spirit of being the closest of neighbors and friends, whose destinies are intertwined," the Indian Minister said at a dinner hosted in Colombo by his Sri Lankan counterpart Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
Indian Minister said her two-day visit to Sri Lanka is part of the high-level engagement with the new government of Sri Lanka and it gives "an opportunity to close the gaps" prior to the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on March 13 and 14.
Recalling Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's visit to India from February 15 to 18, Swaraj said it was a successful visit and the two countries signed four agreements and MoUs. Prime Minister Modi also announced a reduction of entry fees for Sri Lankan citizens visiting the National Museum to pay homage to the Kapilvastu relics.
"He also accepted President Sirisena's invitation to visit Sri Lanka," Swaraj noted.
Minister Swaraj said she had a very useful interaction in New Delhi on January 18 with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera when he accepted her invitation and visited India within a week after the new Sri Lankan government was sworn-in.
"The past year has been remarkable in the history of both our countries. People in both the countries have voted for change. This has brought new momentum to the bilateral relationship," Swaraj said.
Earlier in the day, Swaraj called on President Sirisena after her arrival.