Rajapaksa arrives in Shimla

      Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Shimla on Thursday. President Rajapaksa would spend the next two days in the hill town. Interacting with media on arrival, President Rajapaksa stated that the seven pacts, which were signed between India and Sri Lanka on Wednesday, would strengthen relations between the two nations. "...Seven agreements will benefit both countries because it is economic and social and cultural ...," President Rajapaksa said. This is President Rajapaksa's first visit to India after he won the presidential elections in January this year. There has been a mass opposition to Rajapaksa's visit from various factions in Tamil Nadu. He was re-elected as President of Sri Lanka in January 2010 after he ended a 25-year-old bloody civil war by defeating the Tamil separatists of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Some 260,000 Tamil refugees who fled fighting in the waning months of the war are now being held in military-run camps in Sri Lanka . Western countries, India and the United Nations are pressing the government to send them home. India had earlier offered Sri Lanka $100 million to help war refugees return home and rebuild the country's ravaged north, as New Delhi is keen to be engaged in the island nation's post-war reconstruction and retain influence.

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