Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday honored those killed by extremist militants in Sri Lanka’s Easter bombings, vowing support for the island nation as Delhi seeks to counter the rise of China in the region.
The hours-long stop in Sri Lanka was part of Modi’s first overseas trip after winning a second term. He arrived from the Maldives, where on Saturday he called for a global conference to tackle the threat of terrorism.
In recent years, China’s presence has grown in both in Sri Lanka and in the Maldives as Beijing financed infrastructure projects and sought closer military ties, especially for its navy. The debt from those projects has, however, become a burden for both countries.
India is pursuing what it calls a “neighborhood first” foreign policy centred on its allies in South Asia, although there is little sign of a warming in relations with arch rival Pakistan.
“India never forgets her friends when they are in need,” Modi, the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka since the attacks, tweeted after touching down.
Happy to be back in Sri Lanka, my third visit to this beautiful island in four years. Share the warmth shown by the people of SL in equal measure. India never forgets her friends when they are in need. Deeply touched by the ceremonial welcome. @RW_UNP pic.twitter.com/wjZjKPno01— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 9, 2019
Modi later prayed and placed flowers at St. Anthony’s Shrine, a Catholic church in Colombo that was bombed on April 21 along with two other churches and four hotels.
“I am confident Sri Lanka will rise again. Cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka,” Modi later tweeted.
On Thursday, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said India would continue to provide support to Sri Lanka in the fight against extremist groups.
New Delhi is also looking at more multilateral investment projects, modelled on a draft agreement to develop a port terminal with Japan in Colombo that was signed last month, he said.
Sri Lanka’s president vows to block Easter attacks probeSri Lanka’s president has told his cabinet that he will not cooperate with a parliamentary investigation into security lapses leading to the ... World News
Sri Lanka readies laws to curb hate speech, false newsSri Lanka’s government will introduce laws to curb hate speech and false news that threaten ethnic reconciliation and national security, in the ... Digital
Modi sworn in for second term as Indian prime ministerNarendra Modi was sworn in for a second term as India’s prime minister on Thursday after an overwhelming election victory for his Hindu ... World News
India’s PM Modi to host Chinese President Xi for an informal summitIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year for an informal summit, an Indian foreign ministry ... World News