India to host Lanka, Singapore presidents

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 06, 2015 02:47 IST

India has officially confirmed that Sri Lankan president Mathripala Sirisena will visit the country on his first trip abroad from February 15 to 18.

India will also play host to Singapore president Tan Keng Yam next week in a continued series of events to mark 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Sirisena will have a state visit with a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan and a presidential banquet.

After discussing bilateral issues, economic matters, peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka and the approach to human rights issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Sirisena will visit two religious sites – Bodh Gaya and Tirupati.

Before that, between February 8 and 11, India will play host to the Singapore president.

Highlighting the importance of the relationship between India and Singapore, ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said Singapore was India’s largest trade and investment partner in ASEAN and the second largest source of FDI, accounting for 12 percent of India’s total FDI.

It is the top destination in terms of Indian investment overseas, with over US$ 33.8 billion and there are 6,000 Indian companies in Singapore.

India is also seeking Singapore’s help for skill development and state governments, particularly Andhra Pradesh, are seeking to collaborate with it on development of smart cities.

Highlighting the high-level exchanges in the recent past, the MEA said external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Singapore in August and chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Rajasthan as well as the Union urban development minister had also paid a visit to the country. Singapore’s deputy prime minister, foreign minister, defence minister and minister emeritus have already visited India this year.

This will be the first presidential interaction since 2006 when former president APJ Abdul Kalam had visited Singapore.

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