Colombo: Noting that security of India and Sri Lanka was “indivisible”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday strongly pitched for enhanced cooperation in key areas of maritime security and counter-terrorism.
In an address to Sri Lankan Parliament, Modi said the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka were paramount for India and that the recent elections have reflected the hope for change, and reconciliation in the country.
He also announced India’s unstinted support to Sri Lanka in its march for development.
Modi became the fourth Indian Prime Minister to address the Sri Lankan Parliament. Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai were the other Indian Prime Ministers to address it.
Talking about the security challenges, he said both the countries should join hands and expand maritime cooperation to successfully combat terrorism and extremism.
“We deeply value our security cooperation with Sri Lanka. We should expand the maritime security cooperation between India, Sri Lanka and Maldives to include others in the Indian Ocean area,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said enhanced maritime cooperation between the two countries will be vital for building a peaceful, secure, stable and prosperous maritime neighbourhood.
“The Indian Ocean is critical to the security and prosperity of our two countries. And, we can be more successful in achieving these goals if we work together; build a climate of trust and confidence; and we remain sensitive to each other’s interest,” he said.
“For both of us, local threats remain. But, we see threats arising in new forms and from new sources. We are witnessing globalisation of terrorism. The need for our cooperation has never been stronger than today,” Modi said.
Promising India’s whole-hearted support to Sri Lanka, Modi said it was time for a “new vigour” in partnership between the two countries and that both should ensure that the proximity always translates into closeness.
“I also assure you of India`s full commitment to development partnership with Sri Lanka. We see this as a responsibility of a friend and neighbour,” he said.