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Jaishankar arrives in Sri Lanka on his first foreign trip in Modi 3.0, all eyes on Katchatheevu island issue

Notably, the Katchatheevu Island became a hot topic during Lok Sabha elections when PM Modi slammed the Congress over the ceding of Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The 1.9 square km island is located at Palk Strait, 20 km from the Indian shore.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Colombo Published on: June 20, 2024 11:30 IST
EAM S Jaishankar was received by Sri Lankan of State Tharaka Balasuriya and Governor of Eastern prov
Image Source : @DRSJAISHANKAR/X EAM S Jaishankar was received by Sri Lankan of State Tharaka Balasuriya and Governor of Eastern province Senthil Thondaman welcomed him at Colombo airport.

Colombo: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday, his first visit in his second consecutive term in office, during which he will hold talks with the country's leadership to bolster bilateral ties. Jaishankar was received by Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Senthil Thondaman, Governor of the Eastern Province, on his arrival in Colombo.

"Landed in Colombo for my first visit in the new term. Thank Minister of State @TharakaBalasur1 and Governor of Eastern province @S_Thondaman for the warm welcome. Look forward to my meetings with the leadership," Jaishankar posted on X.  Notably, this is Jaishankar's first visit after the government raked up the Kachchatheevu Island issue at the time of general elections this year. 

India's SAGAR policy

Sri Lanka is central to India's Neighbourhood First and SAGAR policies, he wrote. Under its 'Neighbourhood First' policy, India is committed to developing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all its neighbours. SAGAR or Security and Growth for All in the Region is India's vision and geopolitical framework of maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.

The trip to Sri Lanka will be Jaishankar's standalone bilateral visit after he assumed charge as the external affairs minister for the second term on June 11. Jaishankar was last week part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's delegation at the G7 Outreach summit in Italy's Apulia region.

Kachchatheevu island controversy

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi said the External Affairs minister will have meetings with the Sri Lankan leadership on wide-ranging issues. "This will be the external affairs minister's first bilateral visit after the formation of the new government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi," it said. "Reaffirming India's Neighbourhood First Policy, the visit underlines India's continued commitment to Sri Lanka as its closest maritime neighbour and time-tested friend," the MEA said in a statement. However, it did not mention whether the minister would discuss the Kachchatheevu island issue that was brokered days before the country was scheduled for Lok Sabha Elections. "The visit will add momentum to connectivity projects and other mutually beneficial cooperation across sectors," it said.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe was among seven top leaders from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region who attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi and the Union Council of Ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 9.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: EAM Jaishankar to embark on first visit to Sri Lanka after Katchatheevu island controversy

 

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