PM Narendra Modi greets leaders of neighbouring countries on New Year, leaves out Pakistan

Updated: Jan 02, 2020, 13:43 IST | ANI | New Delhi

Modi spoke to the leaders of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

New Delhi: On the occasion of New Year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday had telephonic conversations with the leaders of neighbouring countries including his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and emphasised India's 'Neighbourhood First' policy. Modi spoke to the leaders of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives. The Prime Minister spoke to Hasina and reviewed the bilateral ties between the two countries.

During the call, Modi congratulated Hasina on being re-elected as the President of the Awami League for the next three years and also expressed his condolence on the untimely demise of former High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India Syed Muazzem Ali, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement. The Prime Minister, at the same time, also noted the progress achieved in India-Bangladesh relations in 2019.

"He also stated that the upcoming birth-centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of the Liberation of Bangladesh and establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties provided important milestones to further progress of the close India-Bangladesh ties, which is a priority of his government," the statement added. Emphasising India's commitment to 'Neighbourhood First' policy, Modi also dialled his Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli and expressed his satisfaction at the progress of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2019, including the completion of several projects, the statement outlined.

The Prime Minister specifically noted the completion of Motihari (India)- Amlekhgunj (Nepal) petroleum products pipeline in record time. "Both the leaders also agreed for an early inauguration of the Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar and the housing reconstruction project in Nepal through video conference," it said. On the occasion of New Year, the Prime Minister also talked to Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, his Bhutanese counterpart Lyonchhen Lotay Tshering, Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

"The Prime Minister conveyed to the leaders his New Year greetings and good wishes on behalf of the people of India and on his own behalf. He also shared the vision of peace, security, prosperity and progress for all of India's friends and partners in the region," according to the statement. During his talks with President Solih, the latter warmly reciprocated the Prime Minister's wishes and expressed his keen desire to further deepen and strengthen the ties with India by enhancing the existing bilateral cooperation and exploring newer areas for working together.

Similarly, the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister also warmly reciprocated the wishes of Modi and expressed confidence that India and Sri Lanka would further enhance their friendly ties in the year 2020. The two leaders reiterated their commitment to closely work together towards this end, the statement continued. Meanwhile, in his conversation with the King of Bhutan, the Prime Minister highlighted important achievements of the last year which have led to the further consolidation of special ties between India and Bhutan.

"The Prime Minister fondly recalled his last visit to Bhutan and the love and affection he received from the people there. He also emphasised the need to enhance youth exchanges between the two countries," the statement said. Modi also mentioned that he was looking forward to the forthcoming visit of the Bhutan King to India.

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