Modi to visit Maldives, Sri Lanka on June 8-9

New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Maldives and Sri Lanka from June 8 to 9, in his first bilateral trip after his re-election for a second term, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the choice of the two countries underlined the government’s continued emphasis on the neighborhood-first policy.
“This will be the first trip by the Indian Prime Minister to the Maldives, after Manmohan Singh visited the island nation in 2011,” said Gokhale.
According to Gokhale, New Delhi and Male have had extensive exchanges at the highest level over the past few months.
During Modi’s visit, the two countries are likely to sign agreements related to customs, white shipping and training of civil servants among others.
“Modi will address the Majlis (Parliament of Maldives) on June 8,” Gokhale said.
He, along with Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih, will also inaugurate two completed projects.
Gokhale said Solih had expressed his interest in developing a cricket team in Maldives and was keen on India’s assistance in training and bringing the country upto requisite standards.
“Among his requests, which are under positive consideration, are a cricket stadium in Maldives under a Line of Credit or some other means of financial assistance. He has also requested for coaching programme for young Maldivian players, both men and women,” he added.
The Prime Minister will be visiting Sri Lanka on June 9 with a very clear message of solidarity in the wake of the Easter bombings, said Gokhale.
“This will be the first foreign visit by a foreign head to Sri Lanka after the tragic incident. It is a very special gesture and a very clear message of solidarity that the people and Government of India stand firmly with the people and Government of Sri Lanka at this tragic time,” he said.
He said during his short and very packed visit, the Prime Minister will hold meetings with the President, the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition of Sri Lanka.

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