Indian PM Modi meets Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe
Sri Lanka became the fifth country to pull out of the regional SAARC summit on October 30. (Image source: Vikas Swarup's Twitter page) Photograph: (Twitter)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe in New Delhi on Wednesday ahead of bilateral discussions. Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted about the meeting at Hyderabad House in India's capital.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is in India on a three-day bilateral visit. He will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee while he's in India.
On Tuesday, India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had met Wickremesinghe.
Sri Lanka became the fifth country to pull out of the regional SAARC summit on September 30. India was the first country to pull out of the SAARC summit, a move made in response to the attack of an Army camp in Kashmir, near the town of Uri, by terrorists from Pakistan. It was a step to diplomatically isolate Islamabad.
As the New Indian Express reports, Sri Lanka encouraged India and Pakistan to work towards peace, saying the future of the regional grouping SAARC may hang in the balance.
"Cross-border terrorism is on the table. SAARC has to look at it and discuss what has happened (cancellation of the SAARC meet). How we are going to handle it...SAARC has to decide on two issues: cross-border terrorism and areas in which we can work together. If we don't do it, there is no future for SAARC," Wickremesinghe said following his meeting with the Indian Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also agreed that the India-Pakistan rivalry had already impacted the functioning of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
After India pulled out of this year's SAARC summit, so too did Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan, leaving only the current SAARC chair Nepal, and the host country Pakistan and the Maldives. The 19th SAARC summit was scheduled to be held from 9th to 10th November 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan.