My visit part of high-level engagement with Colombo: Sushma Swaraj

Indo Asian News Service

Colombo, March 6 (IANS) Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said her visit to Sri Lanka is part of the high-level engagement with the new government of Sri Lanka and "an opportunity to close the gaps" ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit next week.

In her remarks at a dinner hosted by her Sri Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera, she said President Maithripala Sirisena's visit to India in February "was a successful visit" during which both sides inked four agreements.

"Our countries signed four agreements and MoUs. Prime Minister Modi 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," she said.

Modi is to visit Sri Lanka on March 13 and 14, in the first bilateral visit of an Indian prime minister since 1987.

She said, "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."

"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 neighbours and friends, whose destinies are intertwined," she said.

She earlier called on President Sirisena after her arrival here.