New Delhi: Setting the stage for improved bilateral ties, Sri Lanka Friday set free 15 Indian fishermen - a day ahead of the arrival of new Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to India.
"All free. With release of 15 Indian fishermen today (Friday). No more Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody. Arrangement being made for early return," tweeted external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin here.
The arrest and jailing of Indian fishermen has been a sore point in India-Sri Lanka relations for long under the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa government.
Samaraweera`s visit will be the first high level exchange between the two countries since Maithripala Sirisena came to power Jan 8 after defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Samaraweera was extended an invite, both verbally and written, by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Monday, as soon as the new cabinet of President Maithripala Sirisena took charge.
His visit is expected to lay the ground work for the visit of President Sirisena to India next month.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited President Sirisena to visit India and the new government in Colombo indicated that it would like to make India the first foreign destination of Sirisena.
He will meet Sushma Swaraj Sunday afternoon and Monday he is to call on the prime minister at his residence 7, RCR.