Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Thursday on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka where he will be the chief guest at the International Vesak Day celebrations.

“A legacy of cultural, religious & linguistic synergy. PM @narendramodi arrives in Colombo to attend #InternationalVesakDay,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted.

The Prime Minister was received at the airport by his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Modi will be the chief guest at the UN-recognised 14th International Vesak Day meant to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha.

The visit follows an invitation from Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. It is Modi’s second trip to Sri Lanka as Prime Minister after March 2015.

This is the first time that Sri Lanka will be hosting the International Vesak Day. The theme of the event is Buddhist teachings for social justice and sustainable world peace.

As part of the celebrations, PM Modi after arriving in Lanka, departed to Gangaramaya temple in Colombo, to participate in a lamp lighting ceremony. The ceremony is one of the most important one in temples of Sri Lanka.

Modi will also pray at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic at Kandy in central Sri Lanka. The golden-roofed Kandy temple houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic — a tooth of Lord Buddha.

In Pallekelle, Modi will unveil a plaque commemorating the foundation laying of the Faculty of Kandyan Dance at the Sri Lankan International Buddhist Academy that will be constructed with India’s grant assistance.

Modi will also open an India-funded 150-bed multi-speciality hospital at Dickoya in the central hill district which is home to Tamil tea plantation workers of Indian origin.

Although no bilateral talks are scheduled, the visit is expected to give renewed momentum in India-Sri Lanka ties.

Last month, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe visited India.

First Published | 11 May 2017 7:26 PM
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