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Mahinda hails security cooperation with India after meeting Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa shake hands after a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi Saturday/MEA handout

ECONOMYNEXT – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa says that he looks forward to India’s continued support “on co-operation in regard to the security of our two countries,” after he met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi Saturday.

In a statement released in New Delhi Rajapaksa said their “discussions were premised on the outcome of the discussions that Prime Minister Modi held with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa during his very successful State Visit to India in November of last year.”

He thanked the Indian Prime Minister for his Government’s “Neighborhood First” policy and the priority that he attaches to relations with Sri Lanka. “We agreed that our cooperation is multi-faceted, with priority given to a number of areas, including security, economic, cultural and social sectors.”

Mahinda Rajapaksa and Narendra Modi discussed security and intelligence cooperation in New Delhi Saturday/ MEA handout

“A part of our discussions centred on security India has always assisted Sri Lanka to enhance our capabilities in intelligence and counter-terrorism, and we look forward to continued support in this regard,” the Sri Lankan Prime Minister said.

He went on to say that “since our recent experience in April last year, we have had to re-think our national security strategies and assistance from India in this regard would be much appreciated. I thanked Prime Minister Modi for visiting Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. That visit provided us with immense strength to come to terms with the tragedy.”

“I also appreciate Prime Minister Modi’s offers of 400 million dollars as a credit line to enhance the economy of Sri Lanka and another 50 million dollar credit line for our efforts in combating terrorism. We discussed how to follow-up on these offers that were made during President Rajapaksa’s visit in November,” he added.

“Another topic of our discussion was the progress of ongoing projects that are being implemented in Sri Lanka with Indian assistance, including housing and community-related projects,” Rajapaksa said.

He said he requested Modi to consider further assistance to expand the housing project to all parts of the island. “Doing so will provide significant benefits to many Sri Lankans living in rural parts of the country,” Rajapaksa pointed out.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa called on Indian President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi Saturday Feb 8, 2020/MEA handout photo

Prime Minister Rajapaksa also called on Indian President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Saturday evening.

Kovind in a statement said that India firmly believes that its growth is linked to peace and prosperity in its neighbourhood.  “A stable and prosperous Sri Lanka is in the best interest of India” he said.

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President Kovind strongly condemned the Easter terror attacks in Sri Lanka last year.  Both leaders committed to continue their resolve to fight and defeat terrorism.   

(Colombo February 08, 2020)

Arjuna Ranawana

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