PM Modi holds bilateral talks with several world leaders on CHOGM sidelines
An Indian prime minister is attending CHOGM after a hiatus of nearly a decade, having skipped CHOGMs in Perth, Colombo and Malta since 2009. The Indian government has said that this symbolises the country’s wider efforts to step up its role across global forums.
Prime Minister Narendra Modion Thursday had a series of bilateral meetings including discussions with Seychelles President Danny Faure and his Mauritius counterpart Pravind Kumar Jugnauth on the sidelines of the multilateral Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here. “Friend in an extended neighbourhood! PM @narendramodi and President of Seychelles, Danny Faure met on the sidelines of #CHOGM18 and discussed cooperation in areas of trade and investment and other bilateral issues,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
The bilateral talks between Faure and Modi assumes significance after Seychelles ordered an inquiry into the leak of a highly classified agreement signed with India to develop infrastructure on Assumption Island, which lies southwest of the mainland of Mahe.
The opposition in Seychelles has decided not to ratify the pact because of Assumption’s relative proximity to Aldabra atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises.
Cementing close friendship with Mauritius, Prime Minister Modi met his Mauritius counterpart Jugnauth and talked about cooperation in trade and investment, maritime cooperation and people-to-people ties, Kumar said.
The “pull-aside meetings” with world leaders included an interaction with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Gambian President Adama Barrow, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Rick Houenipwela. Modi also interacted with President of Kiribati, Taneti Maamau, and Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, Gaston Browne
Sheikh Hasina is set for an interaction with Modi, their first meeting since the Bangladeshi Prime Minister’s visit to New Delhi last year. Some of the other world leaders expected to have one-on-one deliberations with Modi include Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Michael Holness.