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Modi raises fishermen issue during talks with Sri Lankan president

Modi with Sri Lankan President20160514095625_l

New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the need for a permanent solution to the vexed fishermen issue during talks with visiting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena here.

Modi and Sirisena held talks over a working dinner hosted by the Indian prime minister at Hyderabad House on Friday evening.

Modi stressed on the need "to develop a mechanism and find a permanent solution to the issue of fishermen straying into each other’s waters."

He also appreciated President Sirisena’s efforts to promote reconciliation in Sri Lanka, so that all sections of Sri Lankan society can live with equality and dignity, said an official statement.

The two leaders discussed all issues of bilateral interest, in particular the problems being faced by Indian fishermen, the status of various economic projects being implemented by India and efforts to further increase trade and investment.

Modi said that President Sirisena’s visit for the Simhastha Kumbha in Ujjain was very significant as it showed the deep civilisational ties between India and Sri Lanka.

President Sirisena thanked Prime Minister Modi for receiving him and expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by government of India to Sri Lanka, in particular the various developmental projects being implemented by India.

In this context, both the leaders appreciated the meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission led by two foreign ministers, which had met after the gap of three years, said the external affairs ministry statement.

Modi will be accompanying Sirisena to Ujjain on Saturday.

According to a statement put up by the Sri Lankan president’s website, Modi has "assured to give every support to Sri Lanka to make the reconciliation programme successful."

Both leaders also discussed setting up of an allopathic medicine investment zone in Sri Lanka.

They also paid attention to enhancing of the economic, commercial and cultural relations between the two countries.

The idea of setting up a common economic zone was also taken up.

This was the sixth meeting between President Sirisena and Modi, during a short span of 15 months.

President Sirisena had chosen India for his first state visit after coming to office.

He had discussions with Modi during his bilateral visit to New Delhi earlier as well as during Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka; both met on the sidelines of international forums such as the UN General Assembly and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet in Malta as well as at the Paris climate summit.

"Thus, the leaders of Sri Lanka and India have become the two heads of states who met the most number of times during a period of 15 months. Consequently, the two heads of states have set an example of who held periodical bilateral discussions for most number of times," said the Sri Lankan president’s website.

Sirisena later tweeted, posting a picture of him and Modi shaking hands, "The amity between India and Sri Lanka is special. With @narendramodi it continues to improve."

Earlier, the Sri Lanka president arrived here on a two-day official visit.

In the evening, Sirisena also attended an event at the India Foundation where he was felicitated by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Pradhan later tweeted: "Energy relationship with Sri Lanka is very strong; IOC is present in marketing sector of Sri Lanka."

In Ujjain, the Sri Lankan president will address the valedictory session at the Vaicharick Mahakumbh which is being held as part of the Simhastha Mahakumbh on Saturday.

He will also visit Sanchi where he will tour the famed Sanchi Stupa and attend a function by the Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka during which he will unveil a statute of Angarika Dharmapala.

Sirisena is also to tour Sanchi as part of his visit in which he will also unveil a monument of Anagarika Dharmapala.

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