PM Modi to begin his two-day Sri Lanka visit today

| Updated: May 11, 2017 13:52 IST

New Delhi [India], May 11 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin his two-day Sri Lanka visit today to attend International Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the chief guest. This will be Prime Minister Modi's second Sri Lanka visit. He had toured Sri Lanka in March 2015. However, this visit will be apolitical. "Will be in Sri Lanka for a two day visit during which I will join Vesak Day celebrations & other programmes," tweeted PM Modi. Vesask marks the birth, enlightenment and the passing of the Buddha. It was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1999 and then Sri Lanka had played a very important role and India too had supported the Sri Lankan initiative. Sri Lanka is hosting the event for the first time. Theme of the Vesak Day is 'Buddhist Teachings for Social Justice and Sustainable World Peace'. Celebrated sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik will be making world's longest sand Buddha statue at a special Vesak zone near Sri Lankan Parliament. Various religious and political leaders, especially from the countries with Buddhist connection, would be attending the event. During his visit, the Prime Minister will also be attending the lamp lighting ceremony at Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple in Colombo. He will also be unveiling a plaque commemorating the foundation laying of the faculty of the Kandyan dance, which is being constructed with India's grant assistance. The Prime Minister will also be visiting the hilly regions of Sri Lanka that host tea plantations. He will be inaugurating a 150-bed multi-specialty hospital at Dikoya. India will be giving an aid of $2.6 billion for the hospital. Sri Lanka's hilly regions home Indian Tamil people who work in tea plantains. (ANI)

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