PM Narendra Modi holds bilateral talks with Sheikh Hasina, others on CHOGM sidelines

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is held every two years. 

PM Narendra Modi holds bilateral talks with Sheikh Hasina, others on CHOGM sidelines
Pic courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

London: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday had a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the multilateral Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

He met Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and had a "productive exchange of views on various issues of bilateral interest," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. This marked their first meeting since the Bangladeshi leader's visit to New Delhi last year and ahead of her proposed visit to India in the coming months.

PM Modi also met  Seychelles President Danny Faure and discussed cooperation in areas of trade and investment and other bilateral issues, Kumar said. He also met his Mauritius counterpart Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and talked about cooperation in trade and investment, maritime cooperation and people-to-people ties.

The "pull-aside meetings" with world leaders included an interaction with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, 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.

PM Modi also interacted with President of Kiribati Taneti Maamau, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith C Rowley.

"The summit offers ample opportunity for leaders to interact in meeting rooms for bilateral discussions on matters of mutual interest as well as cooperation over Commonwealth issues," a senior official said, as per PTI.

Officials had earlier indicated that no meeting has been requested or scheduled with Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and later confirmed there was no interaction between the two, the news agency further said.

The bilateral talks took place as the formal heads of government meeting got underway in London on Thursday, following a formal launch by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

At the launch of the CHOGM executive session at Lancaster House open to the media, British Prime Minister Theresa May said, "The great strength of the Commonwealth is that all our members have equal status, an equal voice, and an equal right to make that voice heard. So, as we tackle these challenges, I want to hear from everyone, and everyone will have chance to speak. We face many challenges in the world today. But the Commonwealth is a unique organisation and, at this summit, we have an opportunity to deliver lasting change that benefits all of our 2.4 billion people."

An Indian Prime Minister is attending CHOGM, held every two years, after a hiatus of nearly a decade, having skipped CHOGMs in Perth, Colombo and Malta since 2009. 

(With PTI inputs)