New Delhi : Indi and Sri Lanka spoke with each other today on topics close to each country’s heart of matters – fisherman disputes, justice to Tamils, trade agreements, defence issues, terror and neighborhood intricacies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe during the delegation meet in the formal round of tlks. but later, when both leaders spoke to each other on matters of national interest, the countries looked determined to take the relationship to the next level when the two sides signed four agreements to deepen cooperation in health care and space science.
Thanking Wickremesinghe for choosing India for his first overseas trip after becoming Prime Minister for the fourth term, Modi hoped that the countries would achieve genuine reconciliation and development so that all people including the Tamil community could live a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka.
Modi said that both countries would intensify cooperation in combating terrorism and work together for security and stability in the maritime neighbourhood. ‘We recognise our closely aligned security interests and the need to remain sensitive to each other’s concerns. We both reaffirmed our commitment to deepen our defence and security cooperation’ he said.
Modi stated that Sri Lanka is India’s largest partner in defence training program and India is committed to expand cooperation in this area.
On the fishermen issue, Prime Minister said that it was agreed upon a mutual strategy wherein fishermen association from both sides would work in co-operative effort to find a conclusive solution. ‘I conveyed to him that this should be seen as a humanitarian issue that affects livelihoods. I informed him of the steps we are taking to encourage Indian fishermen to take up deep sea fishing’ he said.
The issue of comprehensive economic partnership agreement between the two countries found mention in the talks and Sri Lankan Prime Minister hoped that it would get finalized by next year.
Modi responded by saying that relationship between the two countries touches the hearts of ordinary Indians and Sri Lankans. Both countries have a huge stake in each other’s success, and in stability and development in the region.