The new Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay paid a courtesy call on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat today where they discussed enhancing cooperation between the two countries in several areas including defence.

They discussed ways to further expand and strengthen the ongoing close cooperation in the fields of defence and security including exchange of experience, expertise, and information; and joint efforts to tackle common threats such as terrorism, the Indian High Commission said.

The talks also focused on building on the areas identified as mutual priorities in the telecon between the President and Prime Minister of India  Narendra Modi on 23 May 2020 where they  agreed to accelerate India’s participation in Sri Lanka’s post COVID economic recovery, including through development partnership projects in Sri Lanka and cooperation in trade, commerce and new areas with particular reference to Sri Lanka’s requirements, the Indian HC said in a news release.

The Indian  High Commissioner had noted  that Indian companies are ready to invest in the priority sectors identified by Government of Sri Lanka.

The  High Commissioner noted that the recent high-level interaction between the two countries had given a further impetus to the traditionally close and excellent relationship. Recalling Prime Minister Modi’s solidarity visit to Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the dastardly Easter Sunday attack, High Commissioner noted the commitment of India at the highest level, as Sri Lanka’s closest maritime neighbor deepening its partnership with Sri Lanka for peace, prosperity and security of the two peoples.

The  President and the High Commissioner further noted that the shared heritage of Buddhism and the civilizational links between India and Sri Lanka provide a robust platform for bringing the two peoples even closer.

The  President had  recalled his first State Visit to India in November 2019, the first overseas visit by him after assuming the office and thanked the Government of India for assisting Sri Lanka in dealing with the COVID19 pandemic and stated that he looks forward to further strengthening all-round bilateral cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The High Commissioner had also thanked the President for Government of Sri Lanka’s assistance in repatriation of stranded Indian nationals from Sri Lanka to India.

The Indian High Commissioner had expressed his gratitude to the  President for accepting the credentials in an innovative manner via video conference.

The new Indian HC gifted the President a Leaf from the Sacred Bodhi Tree at Buddha Gaya, India