Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday tried to reset bilateral ties with Sri Lanka, paying tribute to the victims of Easter Sunday serial bombings and saying, “Cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka.”
Both sides agreed terrorism was a joint threat that needed collective and focussed action.
After flying in from the Maldives, Modi went straight to St Anthony’s church, one of the sites of the terror attacks, before going to the Presidential Secretariat.
Modi is the first foreign leader to visit the country after the terror attacks on April 21. He held meetings with Sri Lanka’s top leadership, including President Maithripala Sirisena, Leader of Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe. Both sides described the brief visit as immensely fruitful.
“Assured India’s full support to further strengthen bilateral development partnership including through people-oriented projects in Sri Lanka,” Modi said after his meeting with Wickremesinghe.
Modi also met a Tamil National Alliance delegation led by R Sampanthan. He addressed the Indian diaspora there as well.
Modi’s visit came on a day when Sirisena while making a unity pitch at Mullaitivu, warned against the emergence of a ‘Muslim Prabhakaran’ in the country.