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    Indian support for counter-terrorism, economic recovery Featured

    June 10, 2019

    Visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday pledged Delhi’s fullest co-operation in the key areas of counter-terrorism and Sri Lanka’s post-attack economic recovery. This commitment was made during bilateral talks the Indian leader had with President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday during his brief visit to Colombo after his state visit to The Maldives.

    Appreciating President Sirisena’s prompt invitation to visit Sri Lanka made during his inauguration as Prime Minister, Premier Modi remarked on the “strong trust” between the two countries that was being built as a result of these bilateral exchanges. A Presidential Media Division communique said that the talks, which were held at President’s House yesterday afternoon, focused on bilateral relations and regional security, peace and stability.

    The Indian leader yesterday packed in a series of meetings during his brief stop-over in Colombo. He even found the time to squeeze in a brief condoling visit to the bombing-affected Shrine of St. Anthony’s, Kochchikade, prior to attending his welcoming ceremony. After his talks with the President, the Indian Premier also separately met to talk trade and business with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He also held courtesy talks with Opposition Leader former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and a Tamil National Alliance delegation led by R.Sampanthan, MP.

    President Sirisena, who participated in the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi for his second term as Prime Minister in New Delhi, was the first leader to have bilateral talks with the Prime Minister. The Presidential Media Division communique added: The President expressed his gratitude to the Indian Prime Minister for visiting Sri Lanka at a time when the country was still reeling from the impact of the terrorist attacks, thus giving a positive signal to the world about Sri Lanka’s security environment. The President said that the visit also reflected the strength and trust that existed between the two neighbours. The visit also would be useful to promote Sri Lanka’s economic, trade and tourism development.

    Prime Minister Modi said that the responsibility of friendly and brotherly countries was to help each other when they face difficulties. He said that he accepted President Sirisena’s invitation to visit with joy and affirmed that India would continue the trust placed on Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Modi also appreciated President Sirisena’s programmes to fulfil the needs of all the communities in the country. Since both Sri Lanka and India have been victims of terrorism, both the leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and decided to step up cooperation in this critical area. Noting that the relations between the two countries since ancient times based on mutual trust and respect, the two leaders pledged to further strengthen bilateral ties.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the people and the Government of Sri Lanka for the warm hospitality and welcome extended to him and his delegation.

    Earlier, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed with full honours at a formal ceremony, including military pomp, at the Presidential Secretariat, Colombo, with President Maithripala Sirisena presiding, accompanied by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister in Attendance Sajith Premadasa, Minister of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs.

    President Sirisena greeted the Indian Prime Minister on his arrival at the Presidential Secretariat. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister Sajith Premadasa then greeted the Indian Prime Minister. A 72-member squad of the Vijayaba Infantry Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army presented the guard of honour. Despite a brief gusty monsoonal shower, traditional drummers and dancers performed their colourful welcome of the visiting Indian leader.

    Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya and attending Cabinet Ministers Sagala Ratnayaka, Malik Samarawickreme, Mano Ganesan and P. Digambaram were then introduced to Prime Minister Modi by President Sirisena. After landing at Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, before he reached the Presidential Secretariat, the Indian leader visited the bombing affected St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade, to pay his respects to the victims of the Easter Sunday bombing attack. At the Shrine, Modi was received by the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, along with other senior Roman Catholic clergy. Premier Modi is the first state leader to visit Sri Lanka after the April 21 Easter Sunday terror attacks.

    When President Maithripala Sirisena participated in Prime Minister Modi’s swearing-in ceremony for his second term as Prime Minister on May 30, he had invited the Indian Prime Minister to visit Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Modi had visited Sri Lanka twice during his first term, once in 2015 and then in 2017 to participate in the International Vesak festival. Following the conclusion of the official welcome ceremony, President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the short drive to the President’s House in the same vehicle. Prior to beginning formal talks with President Sirisena, the Indian Prime Minister had planted an Asoka tree sapling in the President’s House premises, to mark the long-lasting friendship and collaboration between the two countries.

    Last modified on Monday, 10 June 2019 16:48

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