On the occasion of the New Year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday had telephonic conversations with leaders of all South Asian countries, except Pakistan, and emphasised India’s commitment to the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
Modi spoke to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, and Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Prime Minister Lotay Tshering.
The External Affairs Ministry said Modi conveyed to the leaders his New Year greetings and good wishes on behalf of the people of India and on his own behalf.
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Speaking with the Bangladesh leader, Modi congratulated her on being re-elected as the president of the Awami League for the next three years. He also condoled the demise of former High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India Syed Muazzem Ali. He stated that the upcoming birth-centenary of ‘Bangbandhu’ Mujibur Rehman and 50 years of the Liberation of Bangladesh and establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties provided important milestones to further progress of the close bilateral ties, which was a priority of his government.
President Gotabaya of Sri Lanka warmly reciprocated Modi’s wishes and expressed confidence that the two countries would further enhance friendly ties in 2020.
Modi wished the President of the Maldives and the people of the island success in all their endeavours for development. President Solih warmly reciprocated the Indian leader’s wishes and expressed his keen desire to further deepen and strengthen the ties with India.
In his conversation with Prime Minister Oli, Modi expressed satisfaction at the progress of India-Nepal relations in 2019, with the completion of several projects. Both leaders agreed for an early inauguration of the Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar and the housing reconstruction project in Nepal through video conference.
In his conversation with the King of Bhutan, Modi highlighted important achievements of the last year which have led to the further consolidation of special ties between India and Bhutan. He said he was looking forward to the coming visit of the King to India.