This will be the External Affairs Minister’s first foreign visit in the new year

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will pay a three-day official visit to Sri Lanka from Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, EAM Jaishankar will visit the island country at the invitation of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

During his January 5-7 visit, the EAM will hold discussions with his counterpart and Sri Lanka’s leadership on the entire gamut of bilateral relations, said the MEA statement.

This will be the first foreign visit by the EAM in 2021, and also the first by a foreign dignitary to Sri Lanka in the New Year.

“As such, it signifies the priority both countries attach to strengthening their close and cordial relations in all spheres of mutual interest,” the MEA said in its statement.

On the other hand, Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry in its statement said: “While this official visit marks the first arrival of a high-level foreign dignitary in Sri Lanka in 2021, it also becomes the earliest official visit outside India for External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar in the New Year.”

During his visit, Dr. Jaishankar is scheduled to have bilateral meetings with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said.

“Quite uniquely External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar became the first official foreign visitor in Sri Lanka after the Presidential Election in November 2019, who conveyed the congratulations, as well as an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to undertake his first state visit to India,” the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said.

“Through such high-level exchanges, both sides are looking forward to strengthening the bilateral relationship in multiple areas of cooperation,” it added.