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South Asia

Indian PM arrives in Sri Lanka to take part in Vesak celebrations

ASIA PACIFIC DAILY | Fri,2017-05-12


COLOMBO, May 11 (APD)— Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Sri Lanka on Thursday evening to take part in the UN Vesak Day celebrations which are being held in the island country for the first time.

The Indian Premier was received at the airport by Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was accorded a Guard of Honor on his arrival.

Modi will be the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony of the UN Vesak Day events which will be held in capital Colombo on Friday morning. He is also expected to hold talks with Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister during his visit.

"I will be in Sri Lanka for a two-day visit starting today, 11th May. This will be my second bilateral visit there in two years, a sign of our strong relationship," Modi said in a statement before leaving for Colombo.

"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. It is my honour to join these celebrations with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe."

Modi said that his visit brings to the fore one of the most abiding links between India and Sri Lanka- the shared heritage of Buddhism.

He said during his last visit to Sri Lanka in 2015, he had the opportunity to visit Anuradhapura, in the north central province of the country, which is 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, also known as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic," he said.

On Thursday night Modi is expected to visit the Gangaramayya Buddhist temple in Colombo where he will take part in the traditional lamp lighting ceremony.

On Friday he will visit the up country region of Sri Lanka where he will inaugurate a Hospital that has been built with Indian assistance, and have an interaction with the Indian-origin Tamil community.

Modi will conclude his visit on Friday evening.