Benaulim (Goa), Oct 16 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with his Nepal and Bangladesh counterparts, Pushpa Kumar Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Sheikh Hasina, respectively following the BRICS-Bimstec Outreach Summit here on Sunday.
“Post dinner, still much work to do! PM @narendramodi meets Prime Minister of Nepal for a bilateral,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders.
“And capping off a busy day, a final bilateral with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina,” he said in a separate tweet.
Earlier on Sunday, Modi also held bilateral meetings with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.
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 Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri 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.
The BRICS-Bimstec Outreach Summit was held here after the BRICS Summit.