President to attend Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony

67

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony scheduled to be held in New Delhi on 30 May, according to several media reports.

An official at president Sirisena’s office confirmed the news to The Hindu. “It is confirmed. The president spoke to Mr Modi yesterday,” the official told the newspaper Saturday.

News18 reported that sources in the Sri Lankan establishment confirmed that Sirisena would make a visit to balance ties with India after his recent visit to China. Sirisena’s attendance at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony would send out a strong message of Sri Lanka being keen on keeping its momentum in ties with India, sources added.

On Friday, President Sirisena tweeted: “It was a pleasure to congratulate Prime Minister Modi (@narendramodi) over the phone a while ago. I shared thoughts that Sri Lanka too celebrates along with the world’s largest democracy, on his re-election. We look forward to work together to further develop our bilateral ties.”

On Thursday, Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and main Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa congratulated Modi after he led the Bharatiya Janata Party towards a resounding victory for a second term in office. “Congratulations on your victory and the people’s re-endorsement of you leadership,” Sirisena said in a tweet.

“I have immense pleasure in extending to you my warmest congratulations and sincere best wishes on the victory of the BJP,” Wickremesinghe’s message of congratulations said. “Heartfelt best wishes and congratulations,” Rajapaksa said in his message. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera interrupted his speech in Parliament to offer congratulations to Prime Minister Modi.

Several other lawmakers in Parliament offered best wishes to the Indian leader.