Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Monday agreed to increase annual bilateral trade volume to over one billion U.S. dollars from the present 460 million U.S. dollars and to boost cooperation in various fields, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said.
Prime Minister Sharif and President Sirisena were speaking at a joint news conference after holding official talks in Islamabad and witnessing the signing of six agreements.
The Sri Lankan President arrived in Islamabad on Sunday on his first state visit to Pakistan since he assumed office in January.
Nawaz Sharif said the agreements are aimed at enhancing mutual cooperation in the fields of shipping, tourism, economic development, anti-narcotics, disaster management and sports.
"These agreements will pave way for further expanding bilateral ties," the prime minister said.
Cement, sugar, cotton and basmati rice are the main Pakistani exports to Sri Lanka while Sri Lanka exports spices, particularly black pepper, betel leaf, coconut and coconut byproducts, lentils and rubber to Pakistan.
The prime minister said both countries have similar view on almost all regional and international issues.
"We also discussed cooperation in the field of defense besides other sectors,"Sharif said while speaking along with the Sri Lankan President.
He said Pakistan intends to maintain good relations with all neighboring countries and give special priority to promote ties with Sri Lanka.
In his remarks, Sri Lankan President said his country intends to further increase trade volume with Pakistan besides intensifying mutual cooperation for the benefit of people of both countries.
"We need to further enhance people to people contact and joint research activities in various fields with Pakistan," he said. He also invited Pakistan national carrier PIA to resume its flights for Colombo.
The Sri Lankan President expressed profound gratitude to Pakistan for extending support to eliminate terrorism from his country.
He invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit Colombo for further cementing Pak-Sri Lanka relations.