Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a global conference to tackle the threat of terrorism in the region and around the world.
During a speech on his first foreign visit since winning re-election, he told the Maldivian parliament in Male that “terrorism is not just a threat for a country, but to the entire civilisation”.
“The international community has actively arranged for global convention and many conferences on the threat of climate change. Why not on the issue of terrorism?” Modi said on Saturday.
He called for a global conference “so that there can be meaningful and result-oriented discussions for plugging the loopholes that terrorists and their supporters exploit”.
“In the neighbourhood, Maldives is priority,” Modi said in his speech.
Yesterday, during his hours-long stop in Sri Lanka on his way back home from Maldives, the Indian PM honoured those killed by Islamist militants in Sri Lanka’s Easter bombings, vowing support for the island nation as Delhi seeks to counter the rise of China in the region.
“India never forgets her friends when they are in need,” Modi, the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka since the attacks, tweeted after touching down.
Modi later prayed and placed flowers at St Anthony’s Shrine, a Catholic church in Colombo that was bombed on April 21 along with two other churches and four hotels.
“I am confident Sri Lanka will rise again. Cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka,” Modi later tweeted.
On Thursday, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said India would continue to provide support to Sri Lanka in the fight against extremist groups.
India is pursuing what it calls a “neighbourhood first” foreign policy centred on its allies in South Asia, although there is little sign of a warming in relations with arch rival Pakistan.
His trip to the Maldives and Sri Lanka is being viewed as a statement of intent to counter the rise of China, which has been making strategic inroads in the Indian Ocean in recent years and seeking closer military ties, to the alarm of New Delhi.