NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India has always given priority to Sri Lanka under its Neighbourhood First Policy and Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) doctrine, adding that relations between the two countries are thousands of years old.
Speaking during the virtual summit with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, he thanked the leader for accepting his invitation.
“The relations between India and Sri Lanka are thousands of years old. According to my government’s Neighbourhood First policy and SAGAR doctrine, we give special priority to relations between the two countries,” said PM Modi.
“I thank you (Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa) for accepting my invitation for this virtual bilateral summit between India and Sri Lanka. I also congratulate you for being elected as Prime Minister and victory of your party in Parliamentary elections,” he added.
This virtual bilateral summit was PM Modi’s first such virtual engagement with a neighbouring country and also PM Rajapaksa’s first diplomatic engagement with a leader of a foreign country after he was sworn in as the Prime Minister on August 9, 2020.
Prior to the virtual summit, the state visits of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa to India had taken place in November 2019 and February 2020 respectively.