Prime minister Narendra Modi has said that the friendship between India and Sri Lanka is etched in time as Buddhism imparts an ever present radiance to their relationship.
India’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka amounts to 2.6 billion dollars.
He stressed its aim is to support the neighboring country in realizing a peaceful, prosperous and secure future for its people. Sri Lanka strengthened its ties with China during its former administration. China has been making large investments to develop ports and cities there as part of its “One Belt, One Road” economic zone initiative.
But there has been a backlash from residents who oppose China’s long term leases of their ports and land.
PM Modi, Inaugurating the three-day conference of UN Vesak day celebrations in Colombo today, Mr. Modi said relations between the two neighbours is spread across many layers and lives in the hearts of people. Prime minister said that the economic and social well being of the people of Sri Lanka is linked with that of 1.25 billion Indians and only aim of India’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka is to support it in realizing a peaceful, prosperous and secure future. Highlighting the theme of conference ‘Social justice and Sustainable peace, Mr. Modi said the biggest challenge to Sustainable World Peace today may not be necessarily from conflict between the nation states but from the mindsets and instruments rooted in the idea of hate and violence.
He said the menace of terrorism in region is a concrete manifestation of this destructive emotion and deplored that such forces are not open to dialogue. Prime minister expressed firm belief that Buddhism’s message of peace is the answer to growing arc of violence all over the world. Mr. Modi said the world also owes a debt of gratitude to Sri Lanka for preserving some of the most important elements of the Buddhist heritage. He announced a direct Air India flight between Colombo and Varanasi to deepen links of Buddhist heritage. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena in his address thanked PM Modi to be the chief guest on the occasion saying his presence has brought popularity to Vesak day celebrations.
Prime Minister also visited the biggest Buddhist temple of tooth relic in Kandy and was blessed by Mahanayakas. He unveiled a plaque for construction of a cultural school to preserve Kandyan traditions and knowledge, a project funded by India. He had visited the biggest Buddhist temple in capital Colombo yesterday to offer Puja and inaugurate a lighting for Vesak celebrations. Earlier addressing a gathering of Tamils of Indian origin in Norwood, Prime Minister said that India rejoice success of its diaspora and look forward to success stories from them. Most of the Tamil community are employed in tea plantations and the Prime minister said that the community should feel proud of its forefathers and salute their spirits which made people all over the world familiar with Ceylon tea.
He also inaugurated a multispecialty hospital at Dickoya which has been built with Indian assistance. Prime minister announced for setting up of 10 thousand additional houses in hill country region. He also announced that the emergency ambulance service established with Indian funding in two of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka will be extended to the whole country.
China defended its military relationship with Sri Lanka as good for regional peace and stability after Sri Lanka rejected a request from China to dock one of its submarines in Colombo this month.
China’s Defence Ministry, in a statement sent to Reuters, did not directly mention the rejected request for the submarine visit, but said its submarines needed a place to resupply on their way to anti-piracy missions.
“The stopping to resupply of our military’s submarines that are on their way to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for protection missions is an internationally accepted practice,” the ministry said.
In recent years, the Chinese and Sri Lankan militaries had had fruitful and effective cooperation in areas like mutual visits and training, it added.
“The cooperation between the Chinese and Sri Lankan militaries is beneficial to regional peace and stability, is not aimed at any third party and should not be interfered in by a third party,” the ministry said, without elaborating.reports media reports of Reuters