President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in Goa on 15 October 2016 to participate at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) - BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical Cooperation) Outreach Summit. The President was met by the Minister of Labour of the State Government of Goa Shri Avertano Furtado and the Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shri M J Akbar and received a ceremonial welcome at the Naval Airport.
A retreat of India - BIMSTEC leaders was held prior to the BRICS - BIMSTEC Outreach Summit on 16 October. On the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaders of BIMSTEC countries were invited for an interactive Summit with BRICS leaders. Highlighting that BRICS - BIMSTEC countries comprises nearly half of the world's population, the leaders at the outreach summit were unanimous in their commitment to jointly explore possibilities of expanding trade and commercial ties, and investment cooperation between BRICS and BIMSTEC countries, while advancing common goals of peace, development, democracy and prosperity.
Addressing the Outreach Summit, President Sirisena emphasised that the 20th Anniversary of BIMSTEC in 2017 provides an opportunity to effect the much needed transformation of the organization, to help it realize the full potential of regional cooperation and called for the early finalisation of the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement.
The President held a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed matters of bilateral importance including Indian projects implemented in Sri Lanka. He also held a bilateral meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jing Ping. Both leaders renewed their commitment to enhance cooperation and commemorating the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations and the 65th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact in 2017. President Sirisena met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal of Nepal, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan and the State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi. During discussions with these leaders President Sirisena highlighted the importance of the shared Buddhist heritage and invited their participation at the United Nations Vesak Celebrations in Sri Lanka in May 2017.
President Sirisena was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Harsha de Silva, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in India Chitranganee Wagiswara, Director General for South Asia of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asoka Girihagama and Consul General of Sri Lanka in Mumbai Saroja Sirisena.
Consulate General of Sri Lanka
17 October 2016