Bilateral visit to strengthen ties with maritime neighbours: PM Modi before trip to Lanka, Maldiveshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/bilateral-visit-to-strengthen-ties-with-maritime-neighbours-pm-modi-before-trip-to-lanka-maldives/

Bilateral visit to strengthen ties with maritime neighbours: PM Modi before trip to Lanka, Maldives

A day before the trip kicks off, PM Modi, in a speech, said his visit to the Maldives is reflective of the importance the two countries attach to their relationship as "maritime neighbours and long-standing friends".

Narendra Modi, PM Modi, Modi in Kerala, Sree Krishna Temple in Guruvayur, Thrissur, Rahul Gandhi, Congress, Indian Express
PM Modi said he is confident that his visit to both the countries will further strengthen close and cordial ties between them. (File)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be undertaking a trip to the Maldives and Sri Lanka on Saturday and Sunday respectively as part of his first overseas visit after his re-election for the second term.

He will first travel to Maldives, which will be the first bilateral visit to the island country by a prime minister since 2011.

A day before the trip kicks off, PM Modi, in a speech, said his visit to the Maldives is reflective of the importance the two countries attach to their relationship as “maritime neighbours and long-standing friends”.

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Here is the full text:

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“I am visiting the Republic of Maldives and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on 08-09 June 2019 at the invitation of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and President Maithripala Sirisena, respectively. This will be my first overseas visit after my re-election.

We had the pleasure of receiving President Solih in December last year. I also had the opportunity to attend the inauguration of President Solih in November 2018. My visit to the Maldives is reflective of the importance we both attach to our relationship as maritime neighbours and long-standing friends.

We regard the Maldives as a valued partner with whom we share deep bonds of history and culture. Our bilateral relations with the Maldives have been greatly strengthened in the recent past. I am confident that my visit will further deepen our multifaceted partnership.

My visit to Sri Lanka is to express our solidarity with the Government and the people of Sri Lanka in the wake of the terrible terrorist attacks there last Easter on 21 April 2019. India stands with Sri Lanka in the fight against terrorism.

Our bilateral relations with Sri Lanka have gained considerable momentum in the last few years. I had the pleasure of meeting President Sirisena during his recent visit to India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new government. I look forward to meeting the Sri Lankan leadership during my visit.

I am confident that my visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka will further strengthen our close and cordial ties with our maritime neighbours, in line with our ‘Neighbourhood-First Policy’ and the vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region.”