By Munza Mushtaq
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AA) - During a visit to India, Sri Lanka's president secured a $400-million credit line on Friday.
The line of credit was announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met Gotabaya Rajapaksa in New Delhi for official bilateral discussions. Modi said the line of credit was being extended to help boost the South Asian Island's economy and infrastructure.
Modi also extended financial assistance amounting to $50 million for Sri Lanka to deal with security-related issues facing the country, including terrorism.
During the "fruitful" meeting, Rajapaksa invited Modi to visit Sri Lanka.
Rajapaksa told reporters during a live-streamed press conference that he and Modi discussed several important issues, including the security of both countries as a priority.
"India has always assisted Sri Lanka to enhance our capabilities in intelligence and counter-terrorism, and we look forward to their continued support in this regard. I also want to thank Mr. Modi for offering the $50-million credit line to enhance the capabilities of our intelligence agencies," he said.
Rajapaksa added that since the church bombings last April, Sri Lanka had to rethink its "national security strategy", and therefore would most appreciate "assistance" in this regard from India. "We will work closely with India to ensure the Indian ocean remains a zone of peace," he added.
Speaking to reporters, Modi said he was pleased Rajapaksa chose to visit India as his first overseas trip since being elected president. "India is always with Sri Lanka," he underlined.
Rajapaksa arrived in New Delhi on Thursday on a two-day official visit. He also met with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.