The seven agreements signed by India and Sri Lanka on Wednesday would help to strengthen the bilateral ties, both cultural and economic, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said here on Thursday.

Mr. Rajapaksa was talking to journalists after arriving at the Annandale helipad on his two-day visit to Shimla. He immediately left for Wild Flower Hall, a private heritage resort, near Kufri, which is at the height of 8350 feet.

“This is good for both the countries,” he said, referring to the seven agreements, and the joint declaration he issued with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In the morning, Mr. Rajapaksa, along with his family, reached the Chandigarh airport, from where they came down to the hill station by an Indian Air Force helicopter, Himachal Health Minister Rajiv Bindal, who escorted the President, said.

Amid tight security, Mr. Rajapaksa and his convoy reached Wildflower Hall, a heritage hotel owned by the Oberoi group, on the outskirts of the town.

Mr. Rajapaksa would attend a reception to be hosted by Himachal Pradesh Governor Urmila Singh at the Raj Bhavan, also known as Barnes Court, another heritage site and where the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan was inked after the 1971 war.

The President chose to stay back at the hotel and went out for a bit of trekking in the nearby pine and cedar woods, whereas his family members went for a stroll on the famous Mall Road. They visited Himachal Emporium showrooms and bought Kullu shawls and shopped at some jewellery shops.

The President would return to New Delhi on Friday afternoon, officials said.

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