Prime Minister Narendra Modi concludes first foreign visit to Maldives Sri Lanka

Colombo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday left for home after concluding his first foreign visit in his second stint as PM during which he travelled to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and held talks with the top leadership of the two countries.

Modi left for home after an “immensely fruitful” day-long visit to Sri Lanka where he held talks with top Lankan officials and discussed ways to strengthen the bilateral ties with the island nation, reflecting the importance India attaches to its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

“I had a short but immensely fruitful Sri Lanka visit. Sri Lanka has a special place in our hearts. I assure my sisters and brothers of Sri Lanka that India will always be there with you and support your nation’s progress. Thank you for the memorable welcome and hospitality,” Modi tweeted.

During his visit, he addressed the Indian community at the Indian house in Colombo.

Modi said that he was happy to share that the Indian community overseas and the Government of India are on the same page when it comes to several issues.

“I am happy to share that the Indian community overseas and the Government of India are on the same page when it comes to several issues,” said Modi.

He also said that the country’s position is getting stronger and a large credit goes to the Indian diaspora.

‘Today India’s position in the world is getting stronger and a large part of that credit goes to the Indian diaspora. Wherever I go, being told about the successes and accomplishments of the Indian diaspora,” he said.

Modi also visited a Catholic church which was bombed during the Easter suicide attacks and paid tributes to the victims of the Easter terror blasts.

He held talks with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa.

He also interacted with the Indian diaspora at India House in Colombo and thanked the community for coming to meet here.

“Thank you, Narendra Modi, for your brief, but a highly productive visit to our country today, thus proving you are a true friend of ours. I highly appreciate and value your kind gesture, support and cooperation extended to Sri Lanka,” President Sirisena tweeted.

Modi arrived in Colombo from the Maldives where he held wide-ranging talks with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Saturday.

During Modi’s visit, India and Maldives signed six agreements to strengthen bilateral cooperation in key areas like defence and maritime security. A coastal surveillance radar system and a composite training centre for the Maldives defence forces were jointly inaugurated by Modi and Solih.

Prime Minister Modi was conferred with the Maldives’ highest honour “Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen” during his visit. He also addressed the Maldivian Parliament, the Majlis, an indication of India’s important position in the neighbourhood.

Giving a push to enhance connectivity, India and Maldives also agreed to start a ferry service from Kochi in Kerala to the Maldives.

His visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka demonstrates the priority that India attaches to the SAGAR doctrine, the sources said.

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