Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena agreed on Sunday that terrorism is a “joint threat that needs collective and focussed action”.

PM Modi, who became the first foreign leader to visit the island nation since the 21 April Easter Sunday terror attacks, reiterated India’s commitment to partner with Sri Lanka for “a shared, secure and prosperous future”.

“Met President @MaithripalaS, our second meeting in 10 days. President Sirisena and I agreed that terrorism is a joint threat that needs collective and focussed action. Reiterated India’s commitment to partner with Sri Lanka for a shared, secure and prosperous future,” the PM tweeted after his talks with President Sirisena.

 

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the two leaders discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest.

The PM also received a replica of the Samadhi Buddha Statue as a gift from “special friend” Sirisena.

“A special gift from a special friend. President @MaithripalaS presented PM @narendramodi the Samadhi Buddha Statue. This is considered to be one of the best sculptures in the Anuradhapura era. The original statue was sculptured between the 4th and 7th centuries AD,” tweeted the Prime Minister’s Office.

“This replica of the Samadhi Buddha Statue has been hand carved using white teak. This masterpiece has taken almost two years to complete. The meditation pose is known as Dhyana Mudra,” it added.

 

A banquet was also hosted in honour of PM Modi by President Sirisena. The PM was accorded ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Secretariat by the President. The PM then planted a sapling at the Presidential Secretariat in President Sirisena’s presence.

The meeting was the second between the two leaders in the last 10 days. President Sirisena had attended PM Modi’s swearing-in on 30 May in New Delhi.

The PM also addressed the Indian diaspora in Sri Lanka.

“I am happy to share that the Indian community overseas and the Government of India are on the same page when it comes to several issues,” he tweeted following the interaction.

 

Earlier today, the PM visited St. Anthony’s Shrine and paid tributes to those who lost their lives in the Easter Sunday bombings.

“Started the Sri Lanka visit by paying my respect at one of the sites of the horrific Easter Sunday Attack, St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade. My heart goes out to the families of the victims and the injured,” the PM tweeted.

 

He affirmed that India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka and that acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of the island nation.

“I am confident Sri Lanka will rise again. Cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka,” he added in another tweet.

The PM was accompanied to the church by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who also received him at the airport after his arrival in Colombo from the Maldives.

Prime Minister Modi held “fruitful discussions” with Wickremesinghe during which he “assured India’s full support to further strengthen bilateral development partnership including through people oriented projects in Sri Lanka”.

 

The PM also held extensive meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa, Leader of Opposition.

“Had an extensive meeting with the Leader of Opposition, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. We discussed the need for close collaboration between India and Sri Lanka in the fields of counter terrorism, security and economic development,” PM Modi tweeted.

 

A Tamil National Alliance delegation led by R Sampanthan also called on Prime Minister Modi and congratulated him on his electoral victory.

PM Modi was visiting the island nation to further strengthen New Delhi’s relations with Colombo.

“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 Sri Lanka in equal measure. India never forgets her friends when they are in need. Deeply touched by the ceremonial welcome,” PM Modi tweeted earlier today.

 

He termed his visit to Colombo “immensely fruitful”.

“Sri Lanka has a special place in our hearts. I assure my sisters and brothers of Sri Lanka that India will always be there with you and support your nation’s progress. Thank you for the memorable welcome and hospitality,” he said before leaving the island nation.

 

This was the third visit to Sri Lanka by PM Modi. He had visited in March 2015 and May 2017.

Bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka have touched a new high under Prime Minister Modi.