ISLAMABAD - Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena arrived on a three-day visit to Pakistan on Sunday.

President Sirisena who arrived at Karachi Airport and was received by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, was later airlifted to Islamabad. During his stay, Sri Lankan President will meet his Pakistani counterpart President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and discuss bilateral relations. President Mamnoon will host a state banquet in honour of Sri Lankan President.

The Sri Lankan President is also scheduled to hold talks with PM Nawaz Sharif on ways to further promote bilateral relations. Regional and international issues will also come under discussion.

The two sides will also sign a number of Memorandum of Understandings and agreements to promote bilateral cooperation in various sectors with focus on trade. Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy friendly and cordially relations. Being members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and Common Wealth, the two countries coordinate with each other on issues of common interest, regional and international concern.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy strong ties, particularly over defence, with Islamabad providing military assistance during its neighbour’s war against Tamil Tiger guerrillas that ended in 2009. Sirisena swept to power in January, ending a decade of rule by Mahinda Rajapakse, and has already moved to reduce China’s influence, which had irked India. He made his first overseas visit as leader to India in February, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi returning the favour last month. Modi made a highly symbolic visit to the country’s war-ravaged northern Tamil heartland.