Sri Lanka can’t be cowed down by terror, says Modi - GulfToday

Sri Lanka can’t be cowed down by terror, says Modi


Narendra Modi and Ranil Wickremesinghe pay their respects to victims of the Easter Sunday suicide attacks at the St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid his tribute to the victims of the horrific Easter Sunday suicide bombings, saying “cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka.”

“I am confident Sri Lanka will rise again. Cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka,” Modi tweeted as he began a packed one-day visit to the island nation.

Indian democracy has been strengthened by the sweeping mandate in the general elections, Modi said adding that democracy is a part of Indian culture.

“The results of the Lok Sabha elections are a matter of study for the world as to how mature Indian democracy is. We have seen people’s respect for democracy and their commitment to it,” Modi told the Indian community in Sri Lanka gathered at the India House.

He said that although the Indian elections saw a lot of attacks and counter-attacks among the rivals, Indians became one “from Kashmir to Kanyakumari” once the vote count was over, triggering applause in the crowd.

Stating that women voters turned out in record numbers, Modi said: “The message of this election is that as a democracy we have matured. Democracy is our tradition and there is democracy in our culture.”

The Prime Minister also appealed to the diaspora to contribute to India’s development.

“We have to take the country forward together. We have to increase the pace of development. We will try to fulfill the dreams of every Indian. You also contribute to India’s development.”

India’s image, he said, had changed a lot in the last few years.

“I have been travelling around the globe and have never come across any complaint about Indians residing in various countries. This is due to Indian culture and tradition.

“Today India’s image in the world is getting stronger. A large part of credit for this goes to the Indian diaspora. Wherever I go, I am told about the successes and accomplishments of the Indian diaspora,” Modi said.

Modi, who arrived here from the Maldives and was ceremonially received by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, began his Sri Lanka visit by going to one of the sites of the Easter Sunday attack, the St Anthony’s church.

“My heart goes out to the families of the victims and the injured.” Modi is the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka after the horrible terror attack of April 21 that killed over 250 people and which was blamed by Colombo on a Sri Lankan hardliner outfit although the mayhem was claimed by the Daesh.

The Indian Prime Minister’s Office described Modi’s visit as “important, signifying the strong bonds of friendship with a valued neighbour.”

On his part, Modi tweeted after his welcome ceremony: “Happy to be back in Sri Lanka, my third visit to this beautiful island in four years.

“Share the warmth shown by the people of Sri Lanka in equal measure. India never forgets her friends when they are in need. Deeply touched by the ceremonial welcome.” After becoming the Prime Minister, Modi earlier visited Sri Lanka in March 2015 and May 2017.

In his first overseas trip after his re-election now, Modi visited the Maldives on Saturday at the invitation of Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

His next halt was Sri Lanka, where President Maithripala Sirisena invited him.

Before returning to New Delhi, Modi will offer prayers at the Tirupati shrine.

India is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner globally, and it also accounts for the largest FDI in the island nation.

Assuring that India will remain a “dependable, strong and leading partner” in progress of Maldives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made veiled attack on Pakistan saying state sponsorship of terrorism was the biggest threat before the world.

He called for a global conference against terrorism to discuss ways to end loopholes that are exploited by terrorists for their nefarious designs.

The first visit by Modi to the South Asian archipelago nation in his new term was marked by rich symbolism on both sides.

Modi became the only the second foreign Head of State or Government to address the People’s Majlis (parliament) in its 86 year history. He was conferred Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen - the highest honour accorded to foreign dignitaries by Maldives.

Indo-Asian News Service

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