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I am keenly looking forward to my three nation tour of Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka on March 10-14. We have a strong, multifaceted and important relationship with each, and they all occupy a very important place in our foreign policy.

My visit to the three Indian Ocean Island countries reflects our foreign policy priorities in India’s immediate and extended neighbourhood. India attaches paramount importance to strengthening relations with this region, which is vital for India’s security and progress.

My first destination will be Seychelles. India’s relationship with Seychelles has been built on the foundation of mutual trust and shared values. My visit to Seychelles will be the first Prime Ministerial visit to Seychelles since 1981. I am keenly looking forward to my meeting with President James Michel, a great friend of India.

On March 11-12, I will be in Mauritius. I am honoured to have been invited to be the Chief Guest at the Independence Day celebrations in Mauritius on 12 March, a date special to all Indians because Mahatma Gandhi began his Dandi March on the same date in 1930. My visit to Mauritius will aim to strengthen our age-old civilizational ties with “Chhota Bharat”.

I am honoured to be invited to address the National Assembly of Mauritius. I will be participating in the joint commissioning of Indian-built Offshore Patrol Vessel Barracuda, and in the beginning of construction works for the building of World Hindi Secretariat.

I look forward to discussing with Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth ways in which we can further deepen our strategic partnership. I also look forward to meeting the entire political leadership of Mauritius, which has provided unstinting support for this relationship.

My visit to Sri Lanka will be the first standalone Prime Ministerial visit to Sri Lanka since 1987. This will be our second Summit in a month’s time since the visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to India last month.

I see this visit as an opportunity to further strengthen our relationship in all its dimensions – political, strategic, economic, cultural, and above all, people to people contacts.

This visit is also part of my objective of maintaining frequent contact with our neighbouring countries. I am delighted with the opportunity to visit one of our most important neighbours.

I look forward to discussing our bilateral relations with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. I am also looking forward to meeting other political leaders of Sri Lanka. We will work together to forge a new partnership between our countries.

I am deeply honoured to be invited to address the Parliament of Sri Lanka. My programme also includes some of the most important symbols of our timeless relationship. I will be visiting the Mahabodhi Society in Colombo, and travel to Anuradhapura, Talaimannar and Jaffna, and interact with the cross-section of society. In Jaffna, I will be laying the foundation stone for the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre that will come up adjacent to the historic Jaffna Public Library.

I am confident that my visits to all three countries will reinvigorate our relations with them in this all-important region we call home – the Indian Ocean.

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MoS Dr. Jitendra Singh’s Statement after meeting with the political parties of Jammu-Kashmir under the leadership of the Hon'ble Prime Minister
June 24, 2021
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A discussion with the political parties of Jammu-Kashmir under the leadership of the Hon'ble Prime Minister has just ended. This has been a very positive effort towards the development and strengthening of democracy in Jammu-Kashmir. The meeting took place in a very cordial atmosphere. All the participants expressed their full allegiance to the democracy of India and the Constitution of India.

The Home Minister apprised all the leaders of the improvement in the situation in Jammu-Kashmir.

The Prime Minister listened to every party’s arguments and suggestions with all seriousness and he appreciated the fact that all the people's representatives shared their point of view with an open mind. The Prime Minister laid special emphasis on two important issues in the meeting. He said that we all have to work together to take democracy to the grassroots in Jammu-Kashmir. Secondly, there should be all-round development in Jammu-Kashmir and development should reach every region and every community. It is necessary that there should be an atmosphere of cooperation and public participation.

Hon'ble Prime Minister also pointed out that elections to Panchayati Raj and other local bodies have been successfully held in Jammu-Kashmir. There is improvement in the security situation. About 12,000 crore rupees have directly reached the panchayats after the conclusion of elections. This has accelerated the pace of development in the villages.

The Prime Minister said that we have to approach the next important step related to the democratic process in Jammu-Kashmir i.e. assembly elections. The process of delimitation has to be completed expeditiously so that every region and every section gets adequate political representation in the assembly. It is necessary to give a proper representation to the Dalits, backwards and people living in tribal areas.

There was a detailed discussion in the meeting regarding the participation of everybody in the process of delimitation. All the parties present in the meeting have agreed to participate in this process.

The Prime Minister also emphasized the cooperation of all the stakeholders to take Jammu-Kashmir on the path of peace and prosperity. He said that Jammu-Kashmir is moving out of the vicious circle of violence and moving towards stability. New hope and new confidence have emerged among the people of Jammu-Kashmir.

The PM also said that we will have to work day and night to strengthen this trust and work together to improve this confidence. Today's meeting is an important step for strengthening the democracy and the development and prosperity of Jammu-Kashmir. I thank all the political parties for attending today's meeting.

Thanks