After re-election PM Modi set for maiden visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka

After re-election PM Modi set for maiden visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka

Agency News

New Delhi, Jun 6: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be undertaking his two-day overseas visits to Maldives and Sri Lanka after his re-election in the just concluded parliamentary elections on Saturday and Sunday.
"These are the first foreign visits that the Prime Minister is undertaking after the general elections and the choice of two neighbouring countries the Maldives and Sri Lanka underlines the continuous emphasis the government lays on the neighbourhood first policy," Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters here on Thursday.
His would be a state visit to the Maldives, Mr Gokhale said adding "this is usually reserved only for the head of a state". Therefore, he said it is a 'mark of respect' for India and the Prime Minister.
"This will be first visit of the Prime Minister to the Maldives since 2011," he said adding the last visit was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that was for SAARC Summit followed by bilateral meeting.
Before that the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been there in 2002.
Mr Modi's visit continues "regular top level exchanges", Foreign Secretary said adding since the election of new regime in the Maldives - both sides have had 'intensive exchanges'.
Earlier, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had made a state visit to India in December 2018.
Prime Minister Modi’s forthcoming visit will provide an important occasion to review the recent developments in bilateral relations and exchange views on issues of mutual interest with the objective of further strengthening the special relationship between the two countries," an MEA has said last week.
During the visit, Prime Minister Modi and President Solih will jointly inaugurate two projects and there will be meetings with President Solih and also Vice President, the Speaker and some leaders of political parties.
Prime Minister will address the Maldives Parliament (Majlis) on June 8, Saturday.
"In overall terms, there have been significant progress in bilateral relations," Mr Gokhale said.
Mr Modi will also visit Sri Lanka on June 9 at the invitation of Maithripala Sirisena, President Sri Lanka.
Mr Gokhale also said some agreements including on Customs would be signed between two sides.
He also said the Maldives government has requested for coaching program for young Maldivian players, both men and women.
A team from BCCI also has visited the Maldives in May, he said.