Thu, 29 Oct 2020

New Delhi [India], September 26 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold discussions with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa through video conference today.

According to a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs, the virtual bilateral summit will be PM Modi's first such virtual engagement with a neighbouring country and also PM Rajapaksa's first diplomatic engagement with a leader of a foreign country after he was sworn in as the Prime Minister on August 9, 2020.

PM Modi has maintained regular interaction with both the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

The virtual bilateral summit is preceded by the state visits of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa to India in November 2019 and February 2020 respectively. Since then, leaders have kept in close touch and spoken to each other on the telephone on several occasions including in the context of cooperation to tackle the health and economic impact of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Following the election victory of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), PM Modi was the first leader to congratulate the Prime Minister over the telephone on August 6, 2020. PM Modi also sent congratulatory letters to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Most recently, both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa called PM Modi on September 17, 2020, to wish him on his birthday," MEA said.

A virtual bilateral summit under challenging circumstances posed by COVID-19 testifies to the deep-rooted civilizational ties and shared heritage between the two neighbouring countries. This is also a reflection of India's 'Neighbourhood First' approach and SAGAR doctrine, MEA stated.

It further said the summit will give an opportunity to the two leaders to comprehensively review the broad framework of the bilateral relationship in the context of the time-tested friendly ties between the two countries and give broad political direction for a strengthened and deepened collaborative partnership on key issues of mutual interest. (ANI)

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