Colombo: Sri Lanka’s president has reappointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister, nearly two months after firing him and setting off weeks of political stalemate.

Wickremesinghe’s United National Party says on its official Twitter account that Wickremesinghe took an oath before President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday.

The move promises to ease 50 days of political crisis, but could also be the beginning of a difficult cohabitation between the two leaders now in rival camps. A new Cabinet is expected to be sworn in soon.

Sirisena abruptly sacked Wickremesinghe October 26 and appointed former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place. Wickremesinghe insisted his removal was unlawful and Rajapaksa failed to get Parliament’s approval.

The Supreme Court on Friday extended a lower court suspension of Rajapaksa, which forced him to resign on Saturday.

How does this affect relations between India and Sri Lanka?

In 2015, when Wickremesinghe was voted to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated him and extended his best wishes. Wickremesinghe has always been positive about the relation between India and Sri Lanka reaching new heights. 

In more recent times, when India, along with China, US and Japan, was accused of buying Sri Lankan assets, Wickremesinghe said that his country will only lease out oil tanks to India under the proposed deal to jointly operate a strategic oil facility in the eastern port district of Trincomalee.

In 2018, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe held a meeting to discuss a range of issues related to bilateral ties. Both the leaders also had a talk about how to progress India-assisted development projects in the island nation.

Both the leaders were always willing to deliberate on the Tamil issue, including reconciliation and devolution of powers in Tamil-dominated areas.

Wickremesinghe’s reappointment as Prime Minister is likely to ensure strengthened relations between India and Sri Lanka because of his good personal ties with his Indian counterpart. 

India on Sunday welcomed the resolution of the political crisis in Sri Lanka and exuded confidence that relations between the two countries will continue to move on in an upward trajectory.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the resolution of the political issues was a reflection of the maturity demonstrated by all political forces.

"As a close neighbour and true friend, India welcomes the resolution of the political situation in Sri Lanka. This is a reflection of the maturity demonstrated by all political forces, and also of the resilience of Sri Lankan democracy and its institutions," MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

He said India remains committed to taking forward its people-oriented development projects in Sri Lanka.

With inputs from agencies