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PM Modi concludes Sri Lanka visit; ticks all diplomatic boxes

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The big news Narendra Modi addresses Maldivian Parliament and nine other top stories

He arrived from the Maldives, where on Saturday he called for a global conference to tackle the threat of terrorism.

"The results of the Lok Sabha elections are a matter of study for the world as to how mature Indian democracy is".

During the visit, he was conferred with "Nishan Izzuddeen", the Maldives' highest honour accorded to foreign dignitaries.

Modi was received by Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid at Male airport.

But India has been able to assert itself in both Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the past few months.

Since first becoming prime minister in 2014, Modi has stressed a "neighbourhood first" policy for the South Asian region, promising neighbours prioritised benefits of India's economic growth. The visit is further aimed at cementing ties with the Indian Ocean archipelago.

India has become wary of China's increasing involvement in both Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The two leaders had last week met at Modi's swearing-in ceremony.

In a veiled reference to Chinese predatory lending, Modi said, "India has always shared its achievements with the world". The mosque is built using Coral in Addu.

Modi paid a brief visit to the neighboring country on Sunday, meeting his counterpart Ranil Wickramasingha, as well as other top officials.

India sent out the message that terrorism and radicalism pose a collective threat to humanity at large.

"Together with you - come rain or shine". From time immemorial, blue waters have washed our shores. They also made a decision to work on other projects in the pipeline including in sectors such as port development, health, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and energy.

Addressing the Maldivian Parliament, The People's Majlis, Modi said the relations between India and the Maldives were older than history. We will try to fulfil the dreams of every Indian.

Prime Minister also addressed the Indian community in Colombo. We will soon take measures in this direction.

On Saturday, the two countries agreed to start a regular passenger-cum-cargo ferry service between Kochi in Kerala and Kulhudhuffushi and Male in the Maldives.

PM Modi was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, "India gives utmost importance to its relationship with Maldives".

"We regard the Maldives as a valued partner with whom we share deep bonds of history and culture".

"Had fruitful discussions with him on ways to strengthen friendship between India and the Republic of Maldives", he said.

Modi added that India has focused on projects benefiting the common citizens of Maldives in order to strengthen the partnership between the two nations. "Wherever I go, I am told about the successes and accomplishments of the Indian diaspora", Modi said.

Terming Maldives "a marine neighbour" and a "friend", Modi said, "There is no small, big, weak and powerful in friends".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is now on a state visit to the Maldives, held a flurry of meetings with several leaders of the island nation and discussed various issues to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

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