As Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka, the Congress party on Friday while drawing upon the ongoing tussle between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu over fishermen being detained said the issues needed to ‘properly handled’. “The chronic issues of fishermen being detained by the Sri Lankan authorities, presence of Tamilians in the island and other such issues need to be properly handled. I hope the Prime Minister has been briefed well by the Ministry of External Affairs prior to his meetings with the leaders there,” Congress leader Tom Vadakkan told ANI. He further said the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries would be determined by the nature of dialogues taking place, given China’s strong influence on Sri Lanka.
Upon his arrival in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Modi met his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe, who received him at the airport, and discussed various issues that concern with the growing cooperation between the two countries. Prime Minister Modi also met President Sirisena.
Sanjay Panda, MEA, said there were no MoUs signed between the two neighbouring nations on the opening day of Prime Minister Modi’s visit and the focus of the discussions was Buddhism, promotion of tourism, and enhancing the connectivity between the two nations. “The visit assumes importance because of our common Buddhist heritage that spans over centuries,” Panda added, while briefing the media about Prime Minister Modi’s itinerary over the day. “Space cooperation also featured in the discussions and India assured Sri Lanka of her help,” Panda added.
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Prime Minister Modi also met former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, in an unscheduled meeting in Colombo. Indian High Commisioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu told reporters, while briefing them about the Prime Minister’s itinerary over the day, that the meeting was held at Rajapaksa’s request.