Sushma Swaraj reaches Sri Lanka ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit

By Newsgram Staff Writer

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reached Sri Lanka on Friday to set the stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the island nation. This will be the first state visit by an Indian Prime Minister after 1987 when then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited the island nation.

Sushma Swaraj will hold talks with her counterpart Mangala Samaraweera, who visited India in January after the new government of President Sirisena took over.

During his visit from March 13-14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold meetings with President Maithripala Sirisena and other senior leaders across the political spectrum. He will also address the Sri Lankan parliament on March 13. Modi is likely to travel to war-ravaged Jaffna in the Tamil-dominated Northern Province and Trincomalee in the Eastern Province.

The visit by prime minister comes as Colombo has decided to suspend the $1.5 billion Colombo Port City Project with China, pending an examination of approval obtained by the Chinese project proponent.

Sri Lankan Health Minister and spokesman, Rajitha Senaratne announced in Colombo on Thursday that the cabinet had, on Wednesday, approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to immediately suspend implementation of the Colombo Port City Project (CPCP) being built on reclaimed land next to the Colombo harbour port.

Wickremesinghe had said that the CPCP had been signed without cabinet approval and following due procedure. President Sirisena announced recently that all projects entered into with China, including the CPCP, would be thoroughly re-assessed during his scheduled official visit to Beijing this month.

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