Colombo, June 9, 2019: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Sri Lanka on June to embark on his first foreign trip after re-election and paid homage to those died at St Anthony’s Church Easter Sunday attack.
His two-day trip which started at the Maldives, focuses on his administration’s Neighbourhood First policy.
He also wishes to strengthen the bilateral ties with the island nation. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe welcomed Modi at the Bandaranaike International Airport earlier in the day.
The visit will send a strong message to the international community regarding the normalcy regained in the current security situation in Sri Lanka. This could have substantial positive impact on the foreign tourist inflows into Sri Lanka, and on the Sri Lankan economy at large.
Modi’s visit comes at a time when the island nation is still struggling with security concerns after the serial bombings that took place at St Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade. Over 250 people were killed in the attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS).
The prime minister’s visit to St Anthony’s Shrine is not only a mark of solidarity but also an attempt to pacify the nervousness witnessed in Sri Lanka. Modi’s visit is also aimed at aiming diplomatic ties in order to curb terrorism.
PM Modi tweeted, “Started the Sri Lanka visit by paying my respect at one of the sites of the horrific Easter Sunday Attack, St Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade. My heart goes out to the families of the victims and the injured.”
He also added that he is confident Sri Lanka will rise again and cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat their spirit.
India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. His visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka demonstrates the priority that India attaches to the SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) doctrine, the sources said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also planted a sapling at Presidential Secretariat. Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena was also present.
Maithripala Sirisena extended a note of thanks to PM Modi on Twitter calling the visit highly productive.
Giving a push to enhance connectivity, India and Maldives also agreed to start a ferry service from Kochi in Kerala to the Maldives.
PM Modi, while addressing the Indian Community at India House in Colombo said India’s position in the world is getting stronger and a large part of that credit goes to Indian diaspora. He said, “Wherever I go, I am told about the successes and accomplishments of the Indian diaspora”.