Sept 19, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived at the Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi Wednesday night on a three-day State visit.
India's Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Planning, Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar warmly welcomed the Sri Lankan President.
External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, Parliamentarian Sajin Vass Gunawardena and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga accompanied the President.
The President is scheduled to meet his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at his residence on Thursday for bilateral discussions.
The talks will be aimed at strengthening the Indo-Sri Lanka relationship and all issues of bilateral interest will be discussed, the External Affairs Ministry said.
The Indian Prime Minister is to host the visiting Sri Lankan President for a dinner Thursday night.
President Rajapaksa will leave for Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh on Friday (21) morning to participate in the foundation laying ceremony of University of Buddhist and India Studies with dignitaries from Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, Mongolia and Nepal.
The pro-LTTE Tamil party Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko has meanwhile, vowed to stage a black flag protest in Sanchi on September 21 to show opposition to President's visit.
Vaiko and a convoy of buses carrying hundreds of his supporters had left Tamil Nadu two days ago and reportedly his convoy has been stopped by the police when they entered the Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday.
The pro-LTTE Tamil parties in Tamil Nadu oppose Sri Lankan President's visit as they hold him responsible for the death of thousands of Tamils in Sri Lanka towards the final stages of the civil war.
(Photos by Chandana Perera)