Day after oath, Jaishankar meets leaders of Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh | Latest News India

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By Mahtab Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Union minister S Jaishankar met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu on Monday to discuss bilateral relations and ways to deepen regional cooperation.

Union minister S Jaishankar met the three visiting leaders of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives (X/DrSJaishankar)
Union minister S Jaishankar met the three visiting leaders of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives (X/DrSJaishankar)

Jaishankar, who is set to return to the external affairs ministry, met the leaders a day after they participated in the ceremony where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in for a third term. Besides these three leaders, leaders of Bhutan, Mauritius, Nepal and Seychelles were also invited to the inauguration.

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People familiar with the matter described Muizzu’s participation in the ceremony as significant as it reflected the desire of the Maldivian leadership to engage with India after a period when bilateral relations dipped to a fresh low. Muizzu, who was elected last year on the back of an “India Out” campaign, had demanded the withdrawal of Indian military personnel deployed in the Maldives soon after assuming office.

“Delighted to call on President Dr Mohamed Muizzu of Maldives today in New Delhi. Look forward to India and Maldives working together closely,” Jaishankar said in a post on X after his meeting.

Images of the banquet hosted by President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday night showed Muizzu seated next to Modi.

In a similar post after his meeting with Hasina, Jaishankar said the “India-Bangladesh Maitri [friendship] continues to advance”. A Bangladeshi official described the meeting as unstructured and said the two sides reviewed the overall relationship.

Following his meeting with Wickremesinghe, Jaishankar said on X: “Recognized the steady progress in India-Sri Lanka relations.”

The people cited above said on condition of anonymity that no structured bilateral meetings between Modi and the visiting leaders were planned because of the prime minister’s domestic travel plans.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, Modi met the visiting leaders in a group at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also held separate and brief one-on-one meetings with all of them, though the people said there were no substantive discussions.

While thanking the leaders for participating in the ceremony, Modi reaffirmed India’s commitment to its “Neighbourhood First” policy and “SAGAR” vision or Security and Growth for All in the Region, according to a statement from the external affairs ministry.

Modi said that in his third term, India will “continue to work for the peace, progress and prosperity of the region in close partnership with the countries, even as it pursues its goal of Viksit Bharat by 2047”. In this context, he sought deeper people-to-people ties and connectivity in the region.

India, he said, will “continue to amplify the voice of the Global South in the international arena”.

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