Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka on Thursday. The visit assumes significance as India seeks to further deepen ties with the neighbouring island nation where China has been trying to expand its influence, PTI report says. “Will be in Sri Lanka for a two day visit during which I will join Vesak Day celebrations & other programmes,” PM Modi tweeted this morning.
PM Modi is visiting the country primarily to attend the biggest Buddhist festival ‘Vesak Day’ as its chief guest. His visit schedule includes a visit to Kandy where interaction with a group of Tamil people in the upcountry region, seen as an effort to reach out to the community. It has been learned that PM Modi will dedicate a hospital built with financial assistance of Rs 150 crore by India.
Check out PM Modi’s tweet
Greetings to everyone, especially our industrious scientists and those passionate about technology, on National Technology Day.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 11, 2017
It will be Narendra Modi’s second visit to Sri Lanka since becoming the prime minister. India has been pressing Sri Lanka for devolution of power to the Tamils as part of the reconciliation process.
The ‘International Day of Vesak’ celebrations, to be held in Colombo from May 12 to 14, will include an International Buddhist Conference in which over 400 delegates from more than 100 countries will participate.
Vesak, the most important day in the Buddhist calendar, marks the commemoration of Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing away. Modi is also likely to take part in lamp-lighting ceremony at the Ganga Ramaya temple as part of ‘Vesak Day’ celebrations, the PTI report says.
In Kandy, the Prime Minister will visit the famous Dalada Maligawa which is a Buddhist temple. The upcountry area in Sri Lanka is dominated by Tamil plantation workers who have strong bonding with Tamil Nadu and Panda said there have been lot of expectations from them to receive Modi.
Earlier this year, Sri Lanka had said “things are being finalised” with India to develop the port. The island nation had also sought to assuage India’s unease over the Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean and said that it would ensure that New Delhi’s concerns were “not jeopardised”.
PM Modi had travelled to Sri Lanka in March, 2015. His visit to Sri Lanka comes close on the heels of a trip by his counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe.
During that visit, the two countries had signed a pact to boost economic ties as Modi and Wickremesinghe discussed a range of bilateral issues and matters of mutual interest. The pact provided a framework to identify the infrastructure projects where India could invest.