After pulling out of SAARC, India & Lanka hold talks

RSTV Bureau

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe who is on a three day visit to India met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday afternoon. Both leaders discussed issues of bilateral importance at Hyderabad House in New Delhi

“Furthering partnerships with a valued neighbour, PM Narendra Modi meets Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Hyderabad House,” said MEA Spokesperson on Twitter

Addressing media on Wednesday Lankan PM said that Prime Minister Modi has taken a lot of steps to defuse tensions and said war is not an option to solve issues between India and Pakistan.

“Cross border terrorism is a big issue in SAARC and we have to discuss how to tackle it. Don’t think war (India-Pak) is an option, PM Modi has taken a lot of steps to resolve issues, “said Wickramasinghe

When asked about Sri Lanka’s relationship with China, Wickramasinghe said that Lanka enjoys economic ties with china, not military

India and Sri Lanka have agreed to establish Government to Government and People to People interaction to enhance cooperation. Both the countries have agreed allow joint meetings of fishermen associations in November this year.

“In the first week of November, Ministers of Foreign Affairs & fishery will also hold talks at the official level. India fishermen associations on both sides will hold talks to improve situation along the coast line,” said the Lankan PM.

Wickremesinghe’s visit assumes significance as Sri Lanka was one of the five SAARC member-states which sided with India in pulling out of the summit scheduled in Islamabad on November 9-10 over an attack on an Indian army base in Uri on September 19 by Pakistan-based terrorists.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Hyderabad House  Photo-PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Hyderabad House

“This year’s SAARC Summit is in jeopardy due to the war prevailing on the border. However, as the SAARC plays an important role, carrying out the Summit is a matter of great importance,” Wickremesinghe said on October 4.

“I explained that while the failure of SAARC to deliver acceptable results for all members would spell out a bleak future, it would also compel Sri Lanka to look towards other viable options,” he added.

Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also pulled out of the SARC summit in Pakistan following Uri attack.

Besides Modi, Wickramasinghe would hold meetings with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.

Two months after she fell ill, Congress President Sonia Gandhi is also expected to meet Ranil Wickramasinghe.  Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma are also expected to accompany Sonia.

During his visit, Lankan PM will attend the opening plenary of the India Economic Summit