Colombo: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Sunday from the Maldives as a part of a visit to further strengthen New Delhi's ties with the island nation which he described as a "friend".

Modi was given a ceremonial welcome on his arrival at the airport and received by his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe.

"Happy to be back in Sri Lanka, my third visit to this beautiful island in four years," Modi tweeted.

"Share the warmth shown by the people of Sri Lanka in equal measure. India never forgets her friends when they are in need. Deeply touched by the ceremonial welcome."

In his first overseas trip after his re-election, the Prime Minister visited the Maldives on Saturday at the invitation of Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

President Maithripala Sirisena invited him to Sri Lanka.

Modi is scheduled to hold talks with Sirisena. Later, the Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former President, and a delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will call on the Indian leader.

Modi is the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka after the devastating suicide bombings of Easter Sunday in April that killed over 250 people.

Before returning to New Delhi, Modi will offer prayers at the Tirupati shrine. (IANS)

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