Jaishankar meets Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam counterparts

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Bangkok, Aug 2 (IANS) In a move to enhance India’s close links with southeast Asian nations Vietnam and Timor Leste, as well as southern neighbours Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Friday held bilateral meetings here with his counterparts from these countries.

Jaishankar, who is in the Thai capital to attend a number of ASEAN-related multilateral meetings, also met his Mongolia counterpart for a bilateral meeting.

The External Affairs Minister met his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh, who is also the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister. The two ministers had co-chaired the 10th Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting on Thursday.

“Good start to second day; strong traditional friendship stands reaffirmed #VietNam @FMPhamBinhMinh,” Jaishankar tweeted.

After his meeting with his Timor Leste counterpart, Dionisio da Costa Babo Soares, the two agreed to step up engagement across all sectors.

“Cordial conversation with Timor Leste FM Dionisio da Costa Babo Soares. Agreed to step up engagement across all sectors,” he tweeted.

During his meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Tilak Marapana, Jaishankar reiterated India’s strong support in the fight against terrorism in light of the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka.

“An important neighbour, a valuable friend. Warm meeting with FM @MFA_SriLanka Tilak Marapana. Reiterated our strong support in the fight against terrorism,” Jaishankar tweeted.

On Easter this year, a series of suicide bombings across the island nation killed 258 people, including many Indians.

Jaishankar also met his Bangladesh counterpart A.K. Abdul Momen. “An excellent meeting with my Bangladeshi counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen. Look forward to visiting Dhaka soon. Neighbourhood first!,” he tweeted.

His meeting with the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister comes days after the visit of Myanmar’s senior General Min Aung Hlaing to India on a nine-day tour. The US has barred the Myanmar general from entering the US, holding him responsible for “gross human rights violations” against the Rohingya in the country’s Rakhine state.

Jaishankar later also held talks with his Mongolian counterpart Damdin Tsogtbaatar and discussed a range of issues of mutual interest.

“Working on advancing our comprehensive engagement with ‘third neighbour’ & Strategic Partner #Mongolia @TsogtbaatarD,” he tweeted.

On Thursday, the first day of his visit, Jaishankar addressed the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting and the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Ministerial Meeting and met 10 foreign ministers for bilateral meetings, including of China, Japan, the UK, New Zealand and the European Union.

Jaishankar is in the Thai capital to attendA the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting, the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum and the 10th Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting.

–IANS

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