‘Special Priority to Relations’: Modi in Summit With Sri Lankan PM

Rajapaksa, meanwhile, lauded India for the way in which it worked for other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2 min read
PM Modi and Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa during the virtual bilateral summit.

The Indian government gives special priority to the relations between India and Sri Lanka as per its neighbourhood first policy and SAGAR doctrine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during a virtual bilateral summit with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday, 26 September.

"The relations between India and Sri Lanka are thousands of years old. According to my government's neighbourhood first policy and SAGAR doctrine, we give special priority to relations between the two countries," Modi was quoted as saying at the summit, as he thanked Rajapaksa for accepting the invitation for the summit and congratulated him for his election as PM and the victory of his party in the Parliamentary elections.

Rajapaksa Lauds India for its Role During COVID-19

Rajapaksa, on the other hand, lauded India for the way in which it worked for other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The operation to douse the fire on the MT New Diamond ship provided an opportunity for greater cooperation between the two countries.”
Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, as quoted by ANI

According to The Indian Express, the summit is Modi's first virtual engagement with a neighbouring nation, and Rajapaksa's first diplomatic engagement with a foreign leader, since his swearing in on 9 August.

Rajapaksa had earlier visited India in February 2020, before the coronavirus outbreak.

‘Reflect High Degree of Commitment at Leaders’ Level’

Addressing the media after the summit, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Joint Secretary Amit Narang said the "successful conduct of the virtual summit reflects the high degree of commitment at the leaders’ level on taking forward bilateral relations."

"India and Sri Lanka are working to strengthen bilateral financial cooperation. India has extended 400 million dollar currency swap facility to Central Bank of Sri Lanka to assist with the economic recovery and tackle COVID-19 related disruptions," the MEA representative was quoted as saying, adding that Modi has also announced a grant of $15 million for promotion of 'Buddhist ties' between the two countries.

“PM Modi expressed hope that the temporary restrictions imposed by the Sri Lankan side on imports of some products will be relaxed soon as this will also benefit the Sri Lankan economy and common people.”
MEA Joint Secretary Amit Narang, as quoted by ANI

(With inputs from ANI.)

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