Indian democracy strengthened by poll verdict: PM

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 6/10/2019 6:44:18 AM

Colombo, June 9 Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Sri Lanka Sunday on the second leg of his first foreign visit after re-election last month to strengthen the bilateral ties with the island nation, reflecting the importance India attaches to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy. Modi was received by his Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. Indian democracy has been strengthened by the sweeping mandate in the general elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Sunday, adding that democracy is a part of Indian culture. “The results of the Lok Sabha elections are a matter of study for the world as to how mature Indian democracy is. We have seen people’s respect for democracy and their commitment to it,” Modi told the Indian community in Sri Lanka gathered at the India House. He said that although the Indian elections saw a lot of attacks and counter-attacks among the rivals, Indians became one “from Kashmir to Kanyakumari” once the vote count was over, triggering applause in the crowd. Stating that women voters turned out in record numbers, Modi said: “The message of this election is that as a democracy we have matured. Democracy is our tradition and there is democracy in our culture.” The Prime Minister also appealed to the diaspora to contribute to India’s development. “We have to take the country forward together. We have to increase the pace of development. We will try to fulfil the dreams of every Indian. You also contribute to India’s development.” India’s image, he said, had changed a lot in the last few years. “I have been travelling around the globe and have never come across any complaint about Indians residing in various countries. This is due to Indian culture and tradition. “Today India’s image in the world is getting stronger. A large part of credit for this goes to the Indian diaspora. Wherever I go, I am told about the successes and accomplishments of the Indian diaspora,” Modi said. The Prime Minister later shook hands with many members of the Indian community. Modi arrived in Colombo from Maldives where he held wide-ranging talks with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Saturday. "Dear citizens of the Republic of Maldives, I am humbled by the affection I have received in you wonderful nation. Thank you for being great hosts. I also thank the Government for the hospitality. This visit will lead to stupendous outcomes, adding vigour to bilateral ties," Modi tweeted. During Modi's visit, the two countries signed six agreements to strengthen bilateral cooperation in key areas like defence and maritime security. A coastal surveillance radar system and a composite training centre for the Maldives defence forces were jointly inaugurated by Modi and Solih. Prime Minister Modi was also conferred with the Maldives' highest honour "Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen" during his visit. He also addressed the Maldivian Parliament, the Majlis,


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