Cabinet Minister Jaishankar discusses closer ties with leaders from Maldives, SL, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan

While formal announcement of portfolios of the council of Ministers in the new BJP-led government is awaited, External Affairs Minister in the previous NDA regime, S Jaishankar, who was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister on Sunday, met leaders from the Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Bhutan, and Nepal on Monday, to discuss strengthening of bilateral ties.

Leaders of seven neighbouring countries including Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, President of Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay, Nepal’s Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Mauritius’ Prime Minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and Seychelles’ Vice-President, Ahmed Afif attended Modi’s oath-taking ceremony on Sunday.

“Delighted to call on the President, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu of Maldives today in New Delhi. Look forward to India, and Maldives working together closely,” Jaishankar wrote on social media platform X.

Muizzu’s visit is important, as India’s diplomatic ties with the Maldives hit a low recently after the President, seen to be close to China, insisted on the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the archipelago.

Jaishankar also called on Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina. “The India-Bangladesh Maitri continues to advance,” he posted on X.

The Cabinet Minister, expressed his appreciation to Sri Lankan President, Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, for receiving him on Monday in New Delhi. “Recognised the steady progress in India-Sri Lanka relations,” Jaishankar said in another post on X.

Strengthening ties with neighbouring countries, is likely to be key to the NDA’s diplomatic strategy, in the next five years, as it seeks to manage China’s growing influence in the region.

“The visit of the leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for his third consecutive term, is in keeping with the highest priority, accorded by India, to its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, and ‘SAGAR’ vision,” the MEA had said in an earlier statement.

Jaishankar also posted about his meetings with Nepalese PM, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay, and Mauritius’ Prime Minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, where the focus remained on increased bilateral cooperation.

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