Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday dialled the leaders of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal to convey his greetings on New Year, the government said. The release, issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), however, made no mention of Pakistan.
“On the occasion of the New Year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today had telephone conversation with Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, The Druk Gyalpo of Kingdom of Bhutan and Mr Lyonchhen Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of Bhutan, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President and Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Maldives, Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and KP Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal,” said the PIB release.
During his calls with the leaders, the PM reiterated the government’s commitment to the Neighbourhood First Policy, said the release.
While exchanging pleasantries with the King of Bhutan, the PM told him that he was looking forward to his upcoming visit to the country, it said.
PM Modi congratulated Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on being relected as the President of Awami League for the next three years. The PM also expressed his condoldences to his counterpart on the passing away of country’s former high commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali, it said.
In his conversation with Nepal’s PM KP Oli, the PM expressed satisfaction at the completion of Motihari (India)- Amlekhgunj (Nepal) petroleum products pipeline.
“Both the leaders also agreed for an early inauguration of the Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar and the housing reconstruction project in Nepal through video conference,” said the government readout.
According to the official release, the PM also held talks with the President of the Maldives Ibrahim Solih and Sri Lanka’s recently elected president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as well as with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on their countries’ respective ties with India.
The PM had on Dec 24 held a telephonic call with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, as he congratulated him on being re-elected as the country’s leader.
The PM has over the last week held telephonic calls with leaders of all the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries but Pakistan.
Bilateral ties between the India and Pakistan have hit a new low on the heels of Pakistan attempting to lobby the international community against India over the abrogation of Article 370 and more recently the ongoing Citizenship Amendment Act.
It has been reported in sections of the media that Saudi Arabia has convened a meeting of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on the situation in Kashmir at the request of Pakistan. Conflicting reports have emerged about the venue of the proposed meeting, which may be held in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.
The Ministry of External Affairs has repeatedly maintained that no country has the right to comment on issues “internal” to India, a call which has found support from all political quarters.