Mumbai: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday thanked India for helping people around the world amid the COVID-19 epidemic.
The Sri Lankan PM said in his remarks at the virtual bilateral summit, “I am grateful to India for providing support to people around the world during this COVID-19 epidemic.
“This is my first summit after becoming the Prime Minister,” he added.
Talking about the recent rescue operations conducted by the Indian Navy, he said, “The fire-extinguishing operation on the MT New Diamond ship provided an opportunity for greater cooperation between the two countries.”
Prior to Rajapaksa’s remarks, Prime Minister Modi said that India has always prioritized Sri Lanka for its neighborhood policy and security and development in the region (SAGAR) principle, the relationship between the two countries is thousands of years old.
He thanked the leader for accepting his invitation.
PM Modi said, “Relations between India and Sri Lanka are thousands of years old. As per my government’s Neighborhood First Policy and SAGAR Principle, we give special priority to relations between the two countries.”
This virtual bilateral summit was PM Modi’s first such virtual engagement with the neighboring country and PM Rajapaksa’s first diplomatic engagement with the leader of a foreign country after being sworn in as Prime Minister on August 9, 2020.