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PM Narendra Modi in Sri Lanka Stresses on Peace and Harmony in a Multi-Language Society as it bonds People

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to the brave hearts who lost their lives in 2001 Parliament attck
Prime Minister Modi in a garden Wikimedia
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Dickoya (Sri Lanka), May 12, 2017: In the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the Tamil-dominated tea plantation area in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said there is no better place than a peaceful and harmonious multi-language society that unifies cultures and bonds people.

“There is no better place than a multi-language society with peace and harmony,” he said with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by his side.

He was speaking at a public meeting after dedicating a 150-bed state-of-art hospital constructed with Indian aid, and pointed out that he is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit “this beautiful region”.

Modi had visited Sri Lanka two years ago and had undertaken a trip to Jaffna in the north at that time.

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The plantation Tamils are distinct from the Tamils of North and East in the island nation, which has for over three decades faced a violent struggle in the North and East by Tamils for their rights.

In a 30-minute speech peppered with quotes from the works of Tamil saints and scholars, he also announced India’s assistance in the construction of 10,000 additional houses in upcountry areas, where 4,000 have already been built under ownership basis for the beneficiaries.

He also said that India has decided to extend the 1990 emergency ambulance service, currently operating in Western and Southern provinces, to all other provinces.

Modi gave an assurance that India will fully support the journey of economic progress of the Tamils and others in Sri Lanka.

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“You are the children of Tamil mother. You speak one of the oldest classical languages of the world. Along with that you also speak Sinhalese, which is a matter of pride. Language is not just a tool of communication but it also bonds and unifies cultures and people.

Recalling the links between Tamils and Sinhalese, Modi said they are historically intertwined and were used in the courts of Nayak kings of Madurai and Thanjavur. There were even marriages among people speaking the two languages.

“We are for strengthening the spirit of unity and harmony and you must be a force in this,” he said, while addressing the Indian-origin Tamils, whose ancestors came to this part of Sri Lanka two hundred years ago.

Heaping praise on the contribution by Soumyamurthy Thondaman, the founder of the Ceylon Workers Congress, the Prime Minister recalled the troubles that the Indian-origin would have encountered when their ancestors came from India.

“Today, we remember your forefathers, those men and women of strong will and courage, who undertook the journey of life from India to then Ceylon. The journey may have been uphill and struggle hard but they never gave up. We remember and salute their spirit,” he said.

Modi said that the Tamils had encountered hardship in establishing their identity in a newly independent country through peaceful struggles. In this context, he referred to the late Thondaman, who had worked hard for the prosperity of the plantation Tamils and in their campaign for economic progress.

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He recalled that Mahatma Gandhi had made a single visit to the plantation areas of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and other places and in commemoration of the historic visit the Mahatma Gandhi Centre was set up with Indian assistance in 2015.

The Prime Minister said that the plantation Tamils would be completing shortly 200 years of their migration to the hill areas, and as a mark of this milestone “we will continue to participate in the journey for economic prosperity and progress”.

“We see you as a seamless part of our continuum. We want to nurture this relationship between Sri Lanka and India and establish ties in which my government’s priority is to work for the progress of all Indians and all Sri Lankans,” he said.

He said the Indian government had from 1947 undertaken programmes in education, health and community development centres in cooperation with the Sri Lankan government.

Under this 700 scholarships are available to students either in Sri Lanka or in India.

Praising the hard work of the plantation Tamils, he said Ceylon tea is famous the world over but it is less known that the sweat and toil of the Tamils are behind it. Sri Lanka is the third largest exporter of tea globally and earns a huge sum as foreign exchange for the country. (IANS)

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India, Canada Pledge To Fight Terrorism In All Forms

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries

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India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
  • India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism in all its forms
  • Modi and Trudeau also agreed on the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  • Both the countries are looking forward to a cooperative future

India and Canada on Friday pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.

The assertion by the two countries came in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assumes significance in the context of perceived softness on the part of Canada towards Khalistani separatists operating on its soil.

India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com
India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com

“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.

“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.

The Framework recognised the urgent imperative to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and counter violent extremism and radicalisation to violence.

The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.

Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons
Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons

Under the Framework, both sides committed to further develop exchanges and facilitate effective cooperation in the fields of security, finance, justice, and law enforcement, including, where appropriate, at the operational level.

Also Read: ‘Vanakkam!’ Tweets Canadian PM: Justin Trudeau Joins over 200,000 People at the Biggest Tamil Diaspora Festival in Toronto

It consists of institutionalised cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the office of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and regular exchanges and coordination between India and Canada, which will be guided by the joint National Security Advisors’ Dialogue.

The joint statement further said that to reaffirm the importance of lawful commerce and the freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with international law, including the rights and jurisdiction of states under UN Convention for Law of the Sea (Unclos), the two leaders supported bolstering regional connectivity through transparent development of infrastructure and use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment.

Modi and Trudeau also expressed “strong concern” over the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and the recent political developments in the Maldives and their implications for free society.

The Two Countries will work together towards peace.
The Two Countries will work together towards peace.

On the economic side, both leaders agreed to realise the full potential of bilateral trade and investment and both sides will renew efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations.

“They will also intensify negotiations to finalise a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” the statement said. Modi and Trudeau also agreed to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future and committed to promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The leaders welcomed the initiative to establish the (India-initiated) International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development,” the statement said. “They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology.”

Also Read: India and Canada to Jointly Issue Two Sets of Diwali Themed Postal Stamps

It stated that the two leaders “underscored the importance of accelerating the global transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources and acknowledged that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system”.

“Recognising the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion between the concerned officials,” the statement said. “They welcomed the expansion of direct air connectivity between Indian and Canadian cities.” IANS