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New Delhi: A Virtual Bilateral Summit is being held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa on 26th of this month. The Summit will be Prime Minister Modi’s first such virtual engagement with a neighbouring country and also Mr Rajapaksa’s first diplomatic engagement with a leader of a foreign country after he was sworn in as Prime Minister in August.
 
India- Sri Lanka bilateral relations are marked by regular high level exchanges. Such exchanges have provided momentum to mutual cooperation and ties which are multi-dimensional in nature and cut across spheres such as commerce, security, defence, culture, and tourism.
 
Prime Minister Modi has maintained regular interaction with both the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Following the election victory of Mr Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, Mr Modi was the first leader to congratulate him over telephone. Most recently, both the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister called Mr Modi on 17 September to wish him on his birthday.
 
A Virtual Bilateral Summit under challenging circumstances posed by COVID-19, testifies to the deep-rooted civilizational ties and shared heritage between the two neighbouring countries. This is also a reflection of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ approach and SAGAR doctrine.
 
The Summit will give an opportunity to the two leaders to comprehensively review the broad framework of the bilateral relationship in the context of the time-tested friendly ties between the two countries and give broad political direction for a strengthened and deepened collaborative partnership on key issues of mutual interest



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