New Delhi: Visiting Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday said that he believes that India's growth will be beneficial to the neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region (IOR).

Wickremesinghe today held delegation-level bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi following which India and Sri Lanka adopted a vision statement to significantly expand their economic partnership.

In his media statement following the talks, the Sri Lankan President said, "I have congratulated Prime Minister Modi on the great strides India continues to make under his leadership in economic infrastructure and technological progress in ensuring growth and prosperity for the people of India."

"We believe that India's growth will be beneficial to the neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region," he added.

The Sri Lankan President conveyed his "profound appreciation" for the solidarity and support rendered to Sri Lanka by India over the past year which he described as "undoubtedly one of the challenging periods" in Sri Lanka's modern history.

The two sides exchanged documents on cooperation in the field of animal husbandry, renewable energy, development projects in the Trincomalee district in eastern Sri Lanka, and online payment services between India and Sri Lanka.

A joint declaration of intent in animal husbandry was signed between the two countries. An MoU of cooperation in the field of renewable energy was exchanged between the two countries. A Memorandum of cooperation was signed for the economic development of projects in Trincomalee district. India also handed over the document of energy permit for Sampur solar power project to Sri Lanka.

"We agreed that the economic and technology cooperation agreement between India-Sri Lanka is critical to enhance the bilateral trade and investment in new and priority areas," Wickremesinghe said.

“PM Modi and I believe that the construction of a multi-project petroleum pipeline from the southern part of India to Sri Lanka will ensure an affordable and reliable supply of energy resources to Sri Lanka,” he said.

"I have also appraised Prime Minister Modi of the extraordinary challenges that Sri Lanka has experienced in economic, social and political terms in the past year and of the reform measures I have spearheaded on a number of fronts in overcoming these challenges," the Sri Lankan President said.

He also thanked PM Modi for the hospitality extended to him and to his delegation.

Wickremesinghe also said that Prime Minister Modi has expressed his solidarity and goodwill in Sri Lankan endeavours to bring about economic recovery leading to sustainable and stable growth with justice and equity.

He said that India and Sri Lanka have agreed on the joint vision of the future India Sri Lanka economic partnership through enhanced connectivity.

The modern day connectivity would play a crucial role in realizing India-Sri Lanka vision of economic partnership.

"The recent recommencement of Chennai and Jaffna air service is an important step towards air connectivity," Sri Lankan President said.

The two countries also announced the introduction of passenger ferry services between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Kankesanturai in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan President said that the ferry services between Talemana, Ramesvaran and Nagapattinam and Kankesanturai will add more impetus to sea travel between the two countries. Examining the other forms of connectivity between Sri Lanka India could become a further catalyst to boost economic growth.

Welcoming the Indian assistance in digital tech-driven service delivery and citizen-centric services, he said that enhanced connectivity will also play a crucial role in strengthening the cooperation in tourism people-to-people exchange and cultural relations.

"India is currently the top market for inbound tourism for Sri Lanka," Wickremesinghe said.

Network-to-network agreements for UPI acceptance in Sri Lanka were among the agreements announced between the two countries today. Speaking on the online payments system, Wickremesinghe said, "Enabling UPI-based digital payments in Sri Lanka would immediately facilitate future growth in this and other sectors."

India and Sri Lanka also discussed how to improve cooperation in dairy and animal husbandry sectors to realize both nations' common interests in achieving greater socio-economic development and enhance the nutrition status of the people.

"I am confident that the discussion we had today will lay the foundation for the next 25 years of Indo-Lanka relations and contribute to my vision for sustainable growth, national unity and reconciliation for all segments of people of Sri Lanka and a prosperous and a secure future for the people of India and Sri Lanka," Wickremesinghe said.

The Sri Lankan President is on a two-day visit to India at the invitation of PM Modi.

The bilateral talks were held in Hyderabad House here.

PM Modi said that Sri Lanka is an important partner in India’s 'Neighbourhood First' policy and Vision SAGAR.

“Today we shared our views on bilateral, regional and international issues. We believe that the security interests and development of India and Sri Lanka are intertwined,” PM Modi said in his joint statement after the bilateral talks with Wickremesinghe.

Wickremesinghe's visit has reinforced the longstanding friendship between the two countries. The Sri Lankan President arrived in New Delhi on Thursday and was welcomed by Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan.