Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said that his visit to Sri Lanka beginning today is a sign of strong relationship between both the countries and brings to the forefront the shared heritage of Buddhism.
During his two-day visit, he will participate in the International Vesak Day celebrations, the biggest festival of Buddhists, inaugurate a hospital built with Indian assistance and address the Indian-origin Tamil community, besides attending various other programmes.
“This will be my second bilateral visit there in two years, a sign of our strong relationship,” PM said in a Facebook post, hours before travelling to Sri Lanka.
“During my visit, I will join the International Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo on May 12, where I will interact with leading Buddhist spiritual leaders, scholars and theologians,” PM wrote.
He said that it was a great honour for him to be a part of these celebrations with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“My visit brings to the fore one of the most abiding links between India and Sri Lanka – the shared heritage of Buddhism,” PM said.
The PM recalled that during his last visit in 2015, he had the opportunity to visit Anuradhapura, a UNESCO world heritage site and a leading centre of Buddhism for centuries.
“This time, I will be privileged to pay respect at the revered Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, popularly known as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic,” PM added.
He said that his trip will commence in Colombo with a visit to the Seema Malaka at the Gangaramayya temple where he will take part in the traditional lamp-lighting ceremony.
He will further hold a meeting with Sri Lankan President Sirisena, Sri Lankan PM Wickremesinghe and other eminent dignitaries.
“I will also visit the up country region of Sri Lanka where I will inaugurate the Dickoya Hospital which has been built with Indian assistance, and have an interaction with the Indian-origin Tamil community,” PM further added.