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.

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Till 2029 the only priority should be the country, its poor, farmers, women and the youth: PM Modi
July 22, 2024
“Placing of the Budget by a third term government is being seen as a glorious event by the nation”
“This Budget will set the direction of the next five years of the current government and will lay a strong foundation for the dream of Viksit Bharat by 2047”
“Rise up above party politics and commit to the nation by making use of the dignified platform of the Parliament”
“Till 2029 the only priority should be the country, its poor, farmers, women and the youth”
“Muzzling of the elected government and its Prime Minister has no place in democratic traditions”
“First time members should be allowed to come forward and present their views”
“This House is not meant for political parties, this House is meant for the country. It is not meant to serve the Parliamentarians but 140 crore citizens of India”

Today is the first Monday of the month of Sawan, an auspicious day on which an important session is beginning. I extend my best wishes to all my countrymen on this occasion.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament also starts today. The entire nation is watching closely, hoping that this session will be positive, constructive, and lay a strong foundation for realizing the dreams of the people.

Friends,

I see this as a significant milestone in the glorious journey of Indian democracy. It is a matter of great pride for me and all my colleagues that, after nearly 60 years, a government has returned for a third term and has the privilege of presenting the first budget of this term. The country views this as a dignified event in the glorious journey of Indian democracy. This is the budget session, and we are moving forward with the goal of gradually implementing the promises I have made to the nation. This budget is crucial for 'Amritkaal'. We have a five-year mandate, and today’s budget will set the direction for our work over these five years, laying a strong foundation for achieving our vision of a developed Bharat by 2047, when we will celebrate 100 years of independence. It is a matter of immense pride for every citizen that Bharat is the fastest-growing major economy, maintaining a consistent growth rate of 8 percent over the past three years. Today, Bharat's positive outlook, investment climate, and performance are at their peak, marking an important milestone in our development journey.

Friends,

I request all the Members of Parliament, regardless of their party affiliation, to consider that since January, we have fought our battles with all our strength and communicated our messages to the public. Some tried to guide, while others tried to mislead. However, that period is over, and the people have given their verdict. Now, it is the duty of all elected MPs and the special responsibility of all political parties to shift our focus from party battles to fighting for the country over the next five years. We must act with greater integrity and dedication. I urge all political parties to rise above partisan politics and use the dignified platform of Parliament to serve the country for the next 4 - 4.5 years.

After January 2029, when it is an election year, you can engage in political games for those six months. But until then, we should focus all our efforts on achieving the dream of 2047 by creating a mass movement for the empowerment of the poor, farmers, youth, and women of the country. It saddens me to say that since 2014, some MPs served for

five years, some for ten, but many did not have the opportunity to speak about their constituencies or enrich Parliament with their views. Negative politics from some parties have misused important parliamentary time to cover up their political failures. I urge all parties to give an opportunity to the first-time MPs in the House, allowing them to express their views during discussions. We should allow as many voices as possible to be heard. In the first session of Parliament after the formation of the new government, there was an undemocratic attempt to suppress the voice of the government, which was elected by the majority of 140 crore citizens. In a democracy, there should be no place for silencing the Prime Minister for 2.5 hours, stifling his voice. It is concerning that there is no remorse or regret for such actions.

Today, I want to emphasize that the citizens have sent us here to serve the country, not our parties. This House exists for the nation, not for partisan interests. This House represents the 140 crore people of our country, not just the MPs. I believe that all our honourable MPs will contribute to the discussions with thorough preparation. Diverse opinions are valuable; it is negativity that is detrimental. The country does not need negative thinking but should advance with an ideology of progress and development, one that will elevate our nation to new heights. I sincerely hope we will use this temple of democracy constructively to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the common people of Bharat.

Thank you very much, friends.