Indian PM Emphasizes Maritime Security Cooperation During Foreign Tour

May 31: Indian Prime Minister Modi’s first foreign tour is to India’s neighbouring nations in the Indian Ocean, emphasising the need for greater cooperation and maritime security in these waters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to start in the Maldives on June 7-8, and then stop in Colombo, Sri Lanka on June 8 as a mark of solidarity with the nation that witnessed the biggest Islamic State attack, this year on Easter Sunday.

While President Sirisena and Prime Minister Modi will hold a brief meeting on Friday where the issue terrorism will come up, it will not be a full-fledged bilateral meeting. The Sri Lankan visit could entail the Indian Prime Minister visiting St. Anthony’s Church, the site of the Easter attack.

While in the Maldives, Prime Minister Modi will be invited to address their parliament. His visit to Sri Lanka is intended to draw home the point that for India its ‘neighbourhood first’ policy is paramount. These are also two countries where China has made major inroads. India could no longer want to cede space to Beijing. Therefore, there will be a lot of conversations in the strategic, maritime and defence sphere.

India is currently cooperating with Colombo in the investigations being carried out on the Easter attack and Islamic State presence. While real-time intelligence continues to be shared, New Delhi has also sent an NIA team to Colombo to further assist them with the investigation.

Source: India Today

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