Krishna attends Rajapaksa`s Pongal reception

External Affairs SM Krishna began his Sri Lanka visit on Monday.

Updated: Jan 16, 2012, 21:30 PM IST

Colombo: External Affairs SM Krishna began
his Sri Lanka visit on Monday by attending a traditional reception
hosted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the occasion of the
Tamil festival Thaipongal, the only foreign guest to be
invited at the event, in what reflects the close ties between
the two countries.

Krishna, who arrived here on a four-day visit, drove
straight to the Temple Trees, the official residence of
Rajapaksa, accompanied by his Sri Lankan counterpart GL
Peiris who personally received him at the Bandaranaike
International Airport, 35 km from here.

The Indian Minister was accorded traditional welcome at
the reception, which Rajapaksa hosts annually to mark the
harvest festival of Thaipongal, celebrated by Tamils in Sri
Lanka and across the globe, including India to thank the Sun

Sources said the Sri Lankan side felt it would be good if
Krishna participated in the reception and placed a request in
this regard to the Indian side a few days back.

The Minister spent nearly 30 minutes at the Reception and
drove back to his hotel.

In a departure from protocol, Peiris turned up at the
airport to receive Krishna, who arrived here by a special

Later, the two leaders went to the VIP lounge where they
were seen talking to each other.

Krishna and Peiris will hold wide-ranging talks tomorrow
on a number of issues, including the developmental projects
being implemented with Indian assistance in Sri Lanka`s north
and the political solution to resolve the Tamil question.