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New Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to visit India this month: Report

News Cutter, citing a source close to the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, said he is expected to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other high-level dignitaries during the visit.

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Colombo/New Delhi: Newly-appointed Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to visit India this month and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a media report said.

News Cutter, citing a source close to the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, said he is expected to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other high-level dignitaries during the visit.

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Discussions regarding financial aid to the island nation, that is battling an unprecedented economic crisis, will be on the table. India is also expected to transfer another $500 million line of credit to Sri Lanka for the month of June. This will be used to procure much-needed fuel and essential items, it said. 

On Friday, the Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay had called on the new Prime Minister during which the two sides held discussions. 
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the relationship between Sri Lanka and India will get much better under the new government.
Answering a question on India-Sri Lanka ties after his appointment on Thursday, he said, “It will become much better.”

He also said he has taken up the challenge of uplifting the island nation’s crisis-ridden economy. “I have taken on a challenge of uplifting the economy and I must fulfill it.”

Wickremesinghe, who is leader of the United National Party (UNP), was sworn in as the prime minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo Thursday. He had previously served as the Sri Lankan prime minister on five occasions.

During his previous stints as the PM, Wickremesinghe visited India on four occasions – October 2016, April 2017, November 2017 and October 2018.
Following the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, India said on Tuesday that it is “fully supportive” of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.

“India will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

In keeping with its Neighbourhood First policy, India has extended this year alone support worth over USD 3.5 billion to the people of Sri Lanka for helping them overcome their current difficulties, and also provided assistance for mitigating the shortages of essential items such as food and medicine.

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