Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksha, who is on a three-day visit to India, on Friday said he had “very high expectations" on improving bilateral relations on matters of security and economy.

After a ceremonial welcome here, the newly elected president of Sri Lanka told reporters that he would like to further ties with India for the benefit of the people of both countries.

“My expectations are very high and I want to, during my tenure as the president, bring relationship between India and Sri Lanka to a high level. We of course have a long standing friendship, historically, culturally and politically. At the same time, we need to work together for the benefit of India and the people of Sri Lanka on security as well as economic development," Rajapaksa said, marking the beginning of his official meetings later today.

The Sri Lankan president, who reached here on Thursday evening, also thanked Prime Minister Modi for his invitation to visit India.

Gotabaya’s election marks the return of the family, which oversaw the elimination of the dreaded Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) separatist group in 2009, into the political mainstream in Sri Lanka.

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