PM Narendra Modi to begin two-day visit to Sri Lanka today: Here's what he plans to do

It will be Narendra Modi's second trip to Sri Lanka as Prime Minister after March 2015.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: May 11, 2017, 09:20 AM IST
PM Narendra Modi to begin two-day visit to Sri Lanka today: Here's what he plans to do

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin his two-day Sri Lanka visit from Thursday to further deepen ties with the island nation where China has been trying to expand its influence.

It will be Modi's second trip to Sri Lanka as Prime Minister after March 2015.

The visit follows the invitation of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

- During his visit, Modi will attend UN-recognised 14th International Vesak Day, the biggest Buddhist festival, as its chief guest. The day is meant to mark the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of Lord Buddha. As part of the celebration, Modi will participate in a lamp lighting ceremony at the Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, one of the most important temples in Sri Lanka.

- 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. Notably, this is the first time that Sri Lanka will be hosting the International Vesak Day celebrations.

- PM Modi is also scheduled to visit Kandy and interact with a group of Tamil people in the upcountry region, seen as an effort to reach out to the community.

- In the upcountry region, Modi will dedicate a 150-bed multi-speciality hospital built with financial assistance of Rs 150 crore by India.

- 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.

- Briefing reporters on Modi's visit, Joint Secretary (Indian Ocean Region) in the External Affairs Ministry, Sanjay Panda, had on Wednesday said no structured talks have been scheduled, but Modi will be interacting with the Sri Lankan leaders.