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It is a great pleasure and privilege to welcome President Maithripala Sirisena and Mrs. Sirisena to India.

We are honoured that you have chosen India as your first overseas destination.

Let me congratulate you on behalf of the people of India for your historic victory. The election reflects the strength of democracy in Sri Lanka.

Your mandate carries the collective voice of Sri Lanka. It represents the aspirations of your people for a united, inclusive peaceful and prosperous nation.

India is Sri Lanka`s closest neighbour and friend. The goodwill and support of the people of India will always be with you.

The timeless links of history, religion and culture provide a solid foundation of our partnership.

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We also share a broad range of interests - economic development for our countries; peace and prosperity in South Asia; maritime security in the region.

Indeed, I believe that our destinies are inter-linked. Our security and prosperity are indivisible.

President Sirisena and I had excellent discussions today on our bilateral relations and international issues.

President and I are committed to unlock the vast potential of our economic cooperation.

We are pleased to be Sri Lanka`s largest trading partner. I know that India enjoys a huge trade surplus. I expressed my support for a more balanced growth in trade in both directions.

I conveyed our readiness to promote greater flow of Indian investments and tourists into Sri Lanka.

We discussed expansion of cooperation in energy sector, both conventional and renewable.

Our Commerce Secretaries will meet soon to review our bilateral commercial relations.

We also intend to further improve air and sea connectivity between India and Sri Lanka.

The bilateral agreement on civil nuclear cooperation is yet another demonstration of our mutual trust. This is the first such agreement Sri Lanka has signed. It opens new avenues for cooperation, including in areas like agriculture and healthcare.

President and I also agreed to expand our defence and security cooperation. We welcomed the progress in our maritime security cooperation, including in the trilateral format with Maldives.

The Indian assisted projects for Internally Displaced Persons in Sri Lanka have made excellent progress. This includes the Housing Project, under which more than 27,000 houses have already been constructed. President and I expressed satisfaction with the progress.

I assured President Sirisena of India`s commitment to its development partnership with Sri Lanka. This will continue to cover a broad range of areas, including infrastructure. In this context, I am also pleased with the MoU on cooperation in agriculture.

President and I attach the highest importance to the fishermen`s issue. It affects livelihood on both sides. We agreed that there must be a constructive and humanitarian approach to the issue.

We will encourage the fishermen`s associations on both sides to meet again soon. They should find a solution that can be taken forward by both governments.

Like cricket, culture provides a strong bond between us. The Programme of Cultural Cooperation signed today will nurture those ties and promote contacts between people.

I am also delighted that Sri Lanka is now part of the Nalanda University Project.

It recalls a link forged 2300 years ago, by Prince Mahindra, known as Arhat Mahinda in Sri Lanka, and his sister Sanghamitra.They went to Sri Lanka as apostles of Buddhism.

Sri Lankan nationals visit the National Museum in New Delhi in large numbers to pay homage to the Kapilavastu relics. We have decided to reduce the fees for them.

I thanked the President for his invitation to me to visit Sri Lanka. I am eagerly looking forward to visiting his beautiful country in March.

I would like to once again welcome President Sirisena to India. We are at a moment of an unprecedented opportunity to take our bilateral relations to a new level. His visit today has set us firmly in that direction.

Thank you.

সেৱা আৰু সমৰ্পণৰ ২০ বছৰক সূচিত কৰা ২০ খন আলোকচিত্ৰ
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Parliament session should be judged on work done and discussions held, not disruptions: PM
November 29, 2021
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Namaskar friends,

This session of Parliament is very important. The country is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of freedom. Ordinary citizens from across India are pitching in by organizing several programs and taking steps to fulfill the dreams of the freedom fighters in the public and national interest during the Amrit Mahotsav of freedom. These stories are a good sign for the bright future of India.

Recently, the entire country made a resolution on Constitution Day to fulfill the spirit of the Constitution with a new resolution. In this context, all of us and every citizen of the country would like this session and subsequent sessions of Parliament to hold discussions in the interest of the country and find new ways for the development of the country according to the spirit of the freedom fighters and the Amrit Mahotsav of freedom. This session should be rich in ideas and positive debates should have far-reaching impact. I hope the Parliament should be judged how it functions and its significant contributions rather than who disrupted Parliament forcefully. This cannot be the benchmark. The benchmark would be how many hours the Parliament worked and how much positive work was done. The government is willing to discuss every issue with an open mind. The government is ready to answer every question. And we would like that there should be questions in Parliament and peace should also prevail.

Voices against government policies should be forceful but the dignity of Parliament and the Chair should be upheld. We should maintain the sort of conduct that will inspire younger generations. Since the last session, the country has administered more than 100 crore Covid vaccine doses and we are now moving fast towards the figure of 150 crores. We should be alert to the new variant. I also request all the members of Parliament and to you also to be alert, because everyone’s health is our priority in this hour of crisis.

A scheme to provide food grains free of cost under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana is going on so that more than 80 crore citizens of the country do not suffer any more during this Corona period. Now it has been extended till March 2022. The scheme costing about 2.60 lakh crore rupees takes care of the concerns of more than 80 crore countrymen so that the stove of the poor keeps on burning. I hope we take expeditious decisions together in the interest of the country in this session and fulfill the wishes and expectations of the common man. This is my expectation. Thank you very much.