Statement To Media By The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, during the visit of President of Sri Lanka, Shri Maithripala Sirisena, to India

Text of Statement To Media By The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, during the visit of President of Sri Lanka, Shri Maithripala Sirisena, to India

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.

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.


PM to IAS Probationers

"First and foremost duty of Indian Administrative Service should be to promote public interest – that is the essence of democracy"

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today urged IAS probationers to keep public interest foremost in the discharge of their official duties and responsibilities. Addressing 183 probationers, including 3 from the Bhutan Civil Service, who called on him today, the Prime Minister explained that while bureaucracy existed even during the British rule, the key difference was that officers of that era worked to perpetuate the rule of the British, while in independent India, the objective of administration should be the public interest. This is the essence of democracy, the Prime Minister added.

Referring to the teachings of Lord Buddha, the Prime Minister motivated the probationers to "light the lamp within you" - अप्पो दीप भवः He told the probationers that it is the inherent goodness that is present in all human beings, which will be the best guide for them in their career.

The Prime Minister referred to his recent advice to all Secretaries of the Union Government to visit their first place of posting, and see what changes, if any, have happened there, even as they progressed in their careers. He told the probationers that the assured career path that the IAS offers should not make them complacent. He said they should judge themselves not by the posts they hold, but by what difference they have been able to make in the lives of the poor. The Prime Minister said many of the services offered by Government today, are also offered by the private sector. He therefore emphasized that officers handling such services in the Government, should judge the quality of their service using the yardstick of the best in that category, and even by international standards.

In response to a question on the development of the North-East, and ending the sense of alienation in the region, the Prime Minister said that the core problem is not with policy (neeti), but with practice (reeti). He said at times, officers from other parts of the country even tried to avoid a posting in the North-East. The Prime Minister emphasized the need for infrastructure development in the North-East to improve accessibility and connectivity with other parts of India. He said once infrastructure develops, the North-East will be able to progress.

In response to another question, the Prime Minister said he is of the firm view that the 21st century will be India`s century, and India will rise to the position of "Vishva Guru." In this context, he said that the world had once again started taking note of India`s rapid economic growth rate.

In reply to a question on defence preparedness, the Prime Minister said a multi-pronged approach is essential, which involves good relations with all neighbouring countries, and a boost to domestic defence manufacturing capabilities.


PM and Michael Bloomberg announce partnership to advance the Smart Cities Initiative

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, and former Mayor of New York City, Mr. Michael Bloomberg, today announced a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, to advance the "Smart Cities Initiative."

The Smart Cities Initiative is a historic effort to promote economic growth, improve governance, and deliver more effective and efficient public services to India`s urban residents. Under the partnership, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide assistance to the Ministry of Urban Development to select cities for Smart Cities Mission funding on a continuous basis. This approach is different from the conventional approach, which involved preparation of Detailed Project Reports, and their appraisal and approval by the Central Government. It will ensure that real citizen engagement happens, as people get involved both in design and execution of city development plans. This will actualize the idea of cooperative and competitive federalism.

The Prime Minister described the Smart Cities Initiative as a challenging task, which nevertheless has to be undertaken to improve the quality of life for India`s urban citizens with stakeholder`s participation.


PM condoles the passing away of Shri R.R. Patil

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has condoled the passing away of former Maharashtra Home Minister, Shri R.R. Patil.

"My thoughts are with Shri RR Patil`s family. Am saddened to know of his demise, which leaves a void in Maharashtra politics," the Prime Minister said.

Statement To Media By The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, during the visit of President of Sri Lanka, Shri Maithripala Sirisena, to India Statement To Media By The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, during the visit of President of Sri Lanka, Shri Maithripala Sirisena, to India Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 8:52 PM Rating: 5

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