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Brics summit Day 2: PM Modi, Sri Lankan President Sirisena hold bilateral meeting

Benaulim: Arriving in Goa on Saturday night, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena held a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ahead of the BRICS-Bimstec Outreach Summit.

"A friend comes to India...glad to have President @MaithripalaS visit India for the BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted soon after Sirisena landed at Dabolim Airport.

 Brics summit Day 2: PM Modi, Sri Lankan President Sirisena hold bilateral meeting

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Sri Lankan President Sirisena. PIB

Earlier on Saturday, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and his Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobga reached Goa for the summit.

As host of this year's Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit, India, as is the practice, can invite neighbouring countries to join in for an outreach summit.

Following last month's cross-border terror attack on an Indian Army camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 19 Indian soldiers, India chose to invite countries belonging to the Bimstec grouping over those of Saarc.

Countries belonging to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) are India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed for the Uri attack and launched a diplomatic blitz to isolate Islamabad in the international community.

The invitation to Bimstec countries instead of the Saarc countries is being seen as another step in this direction.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Maldives are the members of the South Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) that are also not members of Bimstec.

Following the Uri attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also pulled out of this year's Saarc Summit that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November citing Pakistan's state sponsorship of terrorism as the reason. Afghanistan and Bangladesh too followed suit citing the same reason.

The Brics-Bimstec Outreach Summit will be held here on Sunday.

On Saturday, India and Russia signed 16 agreements across multiple sectors following delegation-level talks co-chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Goa.

Among the agreements signed were procurement of the S-400 air defence system and construction of four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigate in India.

nother agreement was signed to set up a joint venture to manufacture 200 Kamov 226T helicopters.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for setting up an investment fund of $1 billion.

Modi also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday and together the two countries recognised terrorism as a "key issue", an Indian official said after a meeting between the two leaders here. But Beijing gave no assurance on supporting New Delhi's bid on a UN ban against Pakistan-based militant leader Masood Azhar.

"Both sides recognised terrorism as a key issue. President Xi said we should strengthen our security dialogue and partnership," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters.

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Oct 16, 2016 09:59:52 IST

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