PM Modi and PM Wickremesinghe jointly address the media
PM Modi congratulates Sri Lankan PM upon his victory parliamentary elections
India, Sri Lanka welcome significant developments in bilateral relations
Sri Lanka's progress is important for our two countries, South Asia and our maritime region: PM Modi
India, Sri Lanka discuss ways to deepen trade, connectivity, human & economic links
India, Sri Lanka to intensify cooperation in combating terrorism
India and Sri Lanka have a huge stake in each other’s success and in stability and development in our region: PM Modi
This is a relationship that touches the hearts of ordinary Indians and Sri Lankans: PM Modi

Your Excellency Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, 

Members of the media,

I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to you, and Prof. Maithree Wickremesinghe, and members of your delegation.

Let me congratulate you once again for leading the United National Front for Good Governance alliance to victory in last month's parliamentary elections.

We are deeply honoured that you have chosen India as your first overseas destination. It is a happy coincidence that your last full term as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister coincided with the first NDA Government.

We thank you for your belief in and steadfast support for India-Sri Lanka relations. You are a deeply valued friend, whose vision for Sri Lanka’s progress and commitment to its pursuit is greatly admired in India.

This is a historic year for India-Sri Lanka relations, as it is for Sri Lanka. We had the honour of hosting President Sirisena on his maiden visit abroad in February. I had the privilege of an extraordinary visit to Sri Lanka in March. Now, we have Prime Minister Wickremesinghe here.

Sri Lanka has voted twice this year for change, reforms, reconciliation and progress. There can be no stronger statement of Sri Lanka’s democratic tradition. There can be no clearer sign of Sri Lanka’s march towards a peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous future.

As a close neighbour and friend, we wish Sri Lanka every success; rejoice in your progress; and, assure you of India’s unwavering support.

So, we are pleased that the Government of Sri Lanka has taken a number of significant steps in recent times. The leadership has shown remarkable political unity, at a time of great hope.

I am confident that with the wisdom and will of the leadership in Sri Lanka and the support of the people, Sri Lanka will achieve genuine reconciliation and development, so that all Sri Lankans, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, can live a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka.

Your progress is important for our two countries, South Asia and our maritime region.

Prime Minister and I had excellent discussions today.

We welcomed some significant developments in bilateral relations since March, including the currency swap arrangement. We also expressed hope that progress on key bilateral initiatives and projects will gather speed now.

We both want deeper economic engagement. We would like to see our trade grow and become more balanced for Sri Lanka. We discussed how we can achieve these goals in a more open and competitive Indian market, including through bilateral arrangements for trade and investments.

I also sought his support for Indian investors, who are keen to participate in Sri Lanka’s economic development, especially in infrastructure, energy and transport sectors.

I offered India’s full support to strengthen connectivity between our two countries to deepen human and economic links that will benefit all sections of our societies.

I assured Prime Minister Wickremesinghe of continuing commitment to our development partnership - in infrastructure, railways, energy, community development projects, agriculture, capacity building, science and technology, space and civil nuclear field.

We will continue to nurture people-to-people ties. We just finished an absorbing test series. We shall all miss the great Kumar Sangakkara on the cricket field.

We recognise our closely aligned security interests and the need to remain sensitive to each other’s concerns. We both reaffirmed our commitment to deepen our defence and security cooperation.

We will intensify cooperation in combating terrorism and work together for security and stability in our maritime neighbourhood. Sri Lanka is our largest partner in defence training programme and we will continue to expand our cooperation in this area.

Prime Minister and I also discussed the fishermen issue. We agreed that fishermen's associations on both sides should continue their efforts to find a solution.

I conveyed to him that this should be seen as a humanitarian issue that affects livelihoods. I informed him of the steps we are taking to encourage Indian fishermen to take up deep sea fishing.

In conclusion, let me say that India and Sri Lanka have a huge stake in each other’s success, and in stability and development in our region.

This is a relationship that touches the hearts of ordinary Indians and Sri Lankans. It is also of great strategic importance to our two countries. With President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, we can look to the future with great optimism.

Thank you.

Explore More
It is now time to leave the 'Chalta Hai' attitude & think of 'Badal Sakta Hai': PM Modi

Popular Speeches

It is now time to leave the 'Chalta Hai' attitude & think of 'Badal Sakta Hai': PM Modi
‘Modi Should Retain Power, Or Things Would Nosedive’: L&T Chairman Describes 2019 Election As Modi Vs All

Media Coverage

‘Modi Should Retain Power, Or Things Would Nosedive’: L&T Chairman Describes 2019 Election As Modi Vs All

Nm on the go

Always be the first to hear from the PM. Get the App Now!
India has a vibrant cultural history: PM Modi
Gurudev Tagore popularised traditional folk art and dance forms as the country's culture: PM
Gurudev Tagore considered entire world as his family. Wherever he went, he was welcomed affectionately: PM

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 to Shri Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut (a cultural organisation of Bangladesh) and Shri Ram Vanji Sutar respectively, at a function held here today. The awardees were selected by a jury headed by the Prime Minister and includes Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Election Commissioner Shri N Gopalaswami and the President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations Shri Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that culture is the lifeblood of any nation as it gives identity to it. He said, “India's rich cultural heritage was preserved in the face of colonisation and foreign invasion.” This was possible due to the contribution of people like Gurudev Tagore and Swami Vivekananda, he added. 

PM said that India's multi-dimensional heritage was well reflected in the works of Gurudev. Rabindra Sangeet has all the colours of our country and it is not bound by a language. He called Tagore's teachings timeless and said that the world stands to learn a great deal from his works. “He recognised the folk arts and traditional dances as indicative of Indian culture," PM said.

Exponent of Manipuri dance  Shri Rajkumar Singhajit Singh was given the award for the year 2014.  Chhayanaut, a cultural organization of Bangladesh was given the award for 2015 for its role in the promotion of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s works and Bangla arts. Renowned sculptor and scholar Shri Ram Vanji Sutar was given the award for 2016.

Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony was instituted by the Government from 2012 during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. It is awarded annually and carries an amount of One Crore rupees, a citation in a Scroll, a Plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft or handloom item.  



Click here to read PM's speech