New Delhi:- During a virtual bilateral summit held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, Modi told Rajapaksa that under the country’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, India “gives special priority to relations between the two countries. The relations between India and Sri Lanka are thousands of years old. According to my government’s neighborhood first policy and SAGAR doctrine, we give special priority to relations between the two countries,” said PM Modi.
Rajapaksa expressed gratitude for India’s work for other countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The operation to douse off the fire on MT New Diamond ship provided an opportunity for greater cooperation between the two countries,” Rajapaksa said. The virtual bilateral summit is preceded by the state visits of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa to India in November 2019 and February 2020, respectively. Since then, leaders have kept in close touch and spoken to each other on the telephone on several occasions including in the context of cooperation to tackle the health and economic impact of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.