Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena met here Tuesday and emphasised on enhancing cooperation in bilateral trade, defence production and tourism.
In a meeting held at the President’s Secretariat, the two leaders focused on further consolidating the ties for mutual benefit of the two countries.
PM Sharif told the Lankan president that Pakistan attached great importance to its relations with Sri Lanka, which, according to him, had grown stronger over the last six decades.
He also termed President Maithripala’s visit to Pakistan in April last year as positive and encouraging, recalling that a number of agreements had been signed between the two countries then.
Sharif further said that Sri Lanka enjoyed exceptional position of being the first country with which Pakistan entered into a free trade agreement (FTA).
The premier emphasised on taking steps to increase the present volume of bilateral trade from $325 million to $1 billion by the end of 2016, and called for the need for resolution of tariff issues by the Sri Lankan authorities which, he said, would facilitate the Pakistani businessmen in maintaining exports to Sri Lanka on a long term basis.
PM Sharif also apprised the Sri Lankan president of the improved security situation in Pakistan in the wake of operation Zarb-e-Azb. He said Pakistan was an attractive country for tourism, and mentioned that being home to the Buddhist civilisation and heritage, it offered great potential for promoting religious tourism, particularly in Sri Lanka.
The two sides also discussed the potential of cooperation in defence production.
Later, PM Sharif and President Maithripala led their delegations for talks on matters of bilateral interest. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also joined the delegation-level talks.
The Pakistan side was represented by Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain, PM’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and National Security Advisor Lt-Gen (r) Nasir Khan Janjua.