Happy New Year-2020: Indian PM Wishes Asian Leaders over phone, skips Pakistan

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By Our Diplomatic Affairs Bureau

NEW DELHI: On the occasion of the New Year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday had telephone conversation with Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, The Druk Gyalpo of Kingdom of Bhutan and Lyonchhen (Dr.) 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 K.P. Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal.

Prime Minister conveyed to the leaders his New Year greetings and good wishes on behalf of the people of India and on his own behalf. He emphasized India’s commitment to ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and the vision of shared peace, security, prosperity and progress for all of India’s friends and partners in the region.

In his conversation with the King of Bhutan, the Prime Minister highlighted important achievements of the last year which have led to further consolidation of special ties between India and Bhutan. Prime Minister fondly recalled his last visit to Bhutan and the love and affection he received from the people there. He also emphasized the need to enhance youth exchanges between the two countries. Prime Minister also mentioned that he was looking forward to forthcoming visit of the King to India.

President of Sri Lanka Mr.Gotabaya Rajapaksa warmly reciprocated the wishes of Prime Minister and expressed confidence that India and Sri Lanka would further enhance their friendly ties in the year 2020. The two leaders reiterated their commitment to closely work together towards this end.

Speaking to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister reiterated India’s commitment to further expand the close and extensive cooperation with Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Rajapaksa reciprocated the wishes warmly and expressed keen desire to further enhance relations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Modi wished the President of the Maldives and the people of the Maldives success in all their endeavours for development. President Solih warmly reciprocated Prime Minister’s wishes and expressed his keen desire to further deepen and strengthen the ties with India by enhancing the existing bilateral cooperation and exploring newer areas for working together.

Speaking with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister, inter alia, congratulated her on being re-elected as the President of the Awami League for the next three years. Prime Minister also expressed his condolence on the untimely demise of former High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India Syed Muazzem Ali. Prime Minister noted the progress achieved in India-Bangladesh relations in 2019. He also stated that the upcoming birth-centenary of Bangbandhu and 50 years of the Liberation of Bangladesh and establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties provided important milestones to further progress of the close India-Bangladesh ties, which is a priority of his Government.

In his conversation with Prime Minister Oli, the Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction at the progress of India-Nepal relations in 2019, with the completion of several projects. He specifically noted the completion of Motihari (India)- Amlekhgunj (Nepal) petroleum products pipeline in a record time. 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.

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