New Delhi: On his first visit abroad in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now on the final leg of his tour to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka that started on March 10.
On March 11, in Seychelles, the Prime Minister had bilateral discussions with President James Alexis Michel to strengthen maritime ties and enhance development cooperation.
On March 11 and 12, Modi had extensive meetings with Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth to further enhance bilaterasl relations. He was also the Chief Guest at the National Day celebrations.
On arrival today in Sri Lanka on a 2-day visit,Modi met President Maithripala Sirisena. He will also be meeting and other senior leaders across the political spectrum.
Modi said that during deliberations in Colombo, he had raised the issue of fishermen, which is both humanitarian and also concerns the livelihood of so many people.
An official statement here said, Modi’s “visit to friendly maritime neighbours is reflective of India’s desire to further strengthen India’s ties in the Indian Ocean region. The visit will provide opportunities to build on the close contacts at the highest political level and enhance mutual cooperation and understanding on major issues of common interest.”
Prior to Modi’s arrival in Sri Lanka, the United States welcomed the March 10th release of eight Sri Lankan detainees, including human rights activist Balendran Jeyakumari, who had been arrested under the previous administration and held without charge.
US, Sri Lanka & Human Rights
US department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki said at her press briefing Thursday: “We understand Ms. Jeyakumari has been released on bail pending trial, and we encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to afford the individuals and all detainees due process of law. We applaud this positive step and encourage the government to continue its efforts to ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Sri Lankans.”
Pak court orders release of 26/11 accused
At a time when Modi was cementing mutual ties with maritime neighbours, a court in Pakistan on Friday ordered the release of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who is accused of plotting the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. India has protested and sent a strong message asking Pakistan to take all steps to ensure he doesn’t come out of jail.