Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 27
India’s three leading foreign policy managers on Friday held talks with leaders of India’s extended neighbourhood to consolidate existing relationships.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is in Colombo for a security trilateral with Maldives and Sri Lanka, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar concluded his visit to the UAE and is in Seychelles to meet its newly elected president, and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla concluded his two-day visit to Nepal where he met the top leadership to turn the page on six months of acrimony.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday called on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and also met with the country’s defence secretary to further advance the “valuable” bilateral cooperation which contributes to peace and security in the region.
Doval arrived on Friday for trilateral maritime dialogue among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. This format is being revived after six years and is aimed at consolidating the existing partnership between the three countries on maritime security against the backdrop of Colombo’s unwillingness to reduce the salience of China in its infrastructure development.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had visited both countries last month after participating in the 2 + 2 talks in India. While Maldives is receptive to partnering the US in defence cooperation, Colombo was cold to Pompeo’s suggestion that Chinese influence is malignant.
In Seychelles, Jaishankar handed over a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the newly elected president of Indian-origin Wavel Ramkalawan. Before being elected President, Ramkalawan’s party had combined with three others to reject a pact signed between PM Modi and his predecessor to take over Assumption island for building a naval base.
Shringla in Nepal met the entire leadership and struck the right notes by promising to “work to Nepal’s priorities” and terming the country as “fundamental” to India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ approach.
“India’s development and modernisation are incomplete and intrinsically and symbiotically linked to the development and modernisation of neighbouring countries such as Nepal,” he said in an address to a Nepalese think-tank.