Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is on a two-day Sri Lanka visit attended the International Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo on Friday morning. Speaking at the event, PM Modi said he is grateful to the President, Prime Minister and people of Sri Lanka for extending him the honour to be Chief Guest at the event. Talking about Buddhism he said its various strands are deep seated in India’s governance. “Sri Lanka takes pride in being among the most important nerve centres of Buddhist teachings and learning. Buddhism and its various strands are deep seated in our governance, culture and philosophy,” PM Modi added.
Watch the full speech here:
#WATCH: PM Narendra Modi attends International Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo, Sri Lanka http://t.co/xNHxLwwBsl
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 12, 2017
At the event, Prime Minister also announced a flight between Colombo and Varanasi. He said after this, ‘my Tamil brothers’ will be able to visit Varanasi, the land of Kashi Vishwanath. “I have the great pleasure to announce that from August this year, Air India will operate direct flights between Colombo and Varanasi,” he said. “I also bring with me the greetings of 1.25 billion people from the land of the Samyaksambuddha, the perfectly self-awakened one,” he added.
Talking about India-Sri Lanka relations, Narendra Modi said India will always support its neighbouring country in its nation-building endeavours. “I believe we are at a moment of great opportunity in our ties with Sri Lanka. You will find in India a friend and partner that will support your nation-building endeavours,” he said at the event. He added that the message of Lord Buddha is as relevant today as it was two and a half millennia ago. “Lord Buddha’s message is as relevant in the twenty-first century as it was two and a half millennia ago. The themes of Social Justice and Sustainable World Peace, chosen for the Vesak day, resonate deeply with Buddha’s teaching,” he said.
PM Modi said that the biggest challenge to ensure world peace is not the conflict between the states but the mindsets. “The biggest challenge to Sustainable World Peace today is not necessarily from the conflict between the nation states. It is from the mindsets, thought streams, entities and instruments rooted in the idea of hate and violence. On Vesak let us light the lamps of knowledge to move out of darkness. Let us look more within & let us uphold nothing else but the truth,” he added. Apart from this, Prime Minister also said that he’ll be leaving Colombo to head towards another important religious site in Kandy.