Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he had very productive meetings with Sri Lanka’s top leadership, including President Maithripala Sirisena, during which the two sides acknowledged that terrorism is a common menace that needs joint and directed action, weeks after the island nation saw the worst jihadi attack.
Modi’s visit is regarded as a sign of India’s acceptance of solidarity with Sri Lanka in the sequel of the terror attacks that killed 258 people, including 11 Indians.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the two leaders addressed bilateral issues of mutual interest. A banquet was hosted in honour of Prime Minister Modi by President Sirisena.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Colombo comes at a time when China is increasing its ventures in South Asia, including in Sri Lanka by spending billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, raising concerns in New Delhi.
Modi also held fruitful discussions with his Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe.
‘Assured India’s full support to further strengthen bilateral development partnership including through people-oriented projects in Sri Lanka,’ Modi said after his meeting with Wickremesinghe.
Modi also held an extensive meeting with the Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa and discussed the need for close collaboration between the two countries in the fields of counter-terrorism, security and economic development.
A Tamil National Alliance delegation led by R Sampanthan also called on the prime minister and congratulated him on his electoral victory.
Modi also addressed the Indian community in Lanka and said that India’s image has remarkably transformed in the last five years. He recognized the contributions made by the Indian diaspora to project a good image of India.
Modi also received a special gift, a replica of the Samadhi Buddha Statue, from ‘special friend’ President Sirisena.