PM Modi meets Lankan counterpart Wickremesinghe, Prez Sirisena

Colombo [Sri Lanka], May 12 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe and discussed various issues that concern with the growing cooperation between the two countries.

However, no MoUs were signed at the meeting. Prime Minister Modi also met President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena. After their meeting, President Sirisena took to Twitter to praise Prime Minister Modi and said it was "wonderful" to meet him.

"It is wonderful to meet this great human being @narendramodi in Colombo again. Thank you for gracing #InternationalVesakDay," he tweeted. Prime Minister Modi also took to Twitter to post pictures of his meeting with 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.

Throwing light on Prime Minister Modi's schedule over the day, Panda shared that the former was received by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and other senior ministers at the airport.

Upon arrival, Prime Minister Modi went straight to the Gangaramaya temple to light the illuminations. Following that, President Sirisena hosted a private dinner in his honour. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan, Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, and others participated in the dinner.

Prime Minister Modi also met former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa who had earlier accused President Sirisena of compromising the country's sovereignty and declared that black flags would be shown to the visiting Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Modi is expected to deliver a celebratory address at the Bandarnaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BIMCH) on the occasion of International Vesak Day today (May 12).

The Prime Minister will then inaugurate the 15-bed Dickoya Hospital. Prime Minister Modi will also address the Indian origin Tamil community at Norwood Grounds. He will then meet representatives of the Ceylon Workers' Congress (TBC). Thereafter, the Prime Minister will also be holding a meeting with representatives of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TBC).

The Prime Minister will then arrive at the President's Palace for a lunch hosted by the Sri Lankan President.

Prime Minister Modi will also visit Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple (The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic), where he will sign the visitor's book and interact with Mahanayaks.

Just before returning to India, the Prime Minister will meet Sri Lankan Leader of Opposition at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.

The Prime Minister will also visit the hilly regions of Sri Lanka that host tea plantations and is the first Indian PM to do so.

Source: ANI