13 May, 2017
Modi will 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. Modi met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and interacted with leading Buddhist spiritual leaders in the country.
Talking about the bilateral and economic relations, Prime Minister Modi said that "economic and social well being of people of Sri Lanka is linked with that of 1.25 billion Indians and security of our societies is indivisible".
China's naval ambitions in Sri Lanka received a jolt when Colombo rejected Beijing's request to dock one of its submarines in the nation's capital.
Modi had visited Sri Lanka two years ago and had undertaken a trip to Jaffna in the north at that time.
The meeting comes days after Rajapaksa called for a black flag protest around Prime Minister Modi's visit.
Modi made the announcement of the beginning of the flights, during his address at the inauguration of the International Vesak Day, which is considered as the biggest festival of Buddhists.
"The friendship between India and Sri Lanka was etched in time by the "Great Master".
As Modi put a switch on, the entire complex of the Gangaramaya temple, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, was lit up by colourful lights, which was followed by fireworks in the sky.
This assumes significance since China is aggressively trying to make inroads in Sri Lanka.
"We will continue to invest in driving positive change and economic growth to deepen our development co-operation", he said. Among the highlights of his visit were the International Vesak Day celebrations in Sri Lanka, where he wasthe chief guest.
"In infrastructure and connectivity, transport and energy, we are poised to scale up our cooperation".
PM Modi gave an assurance that India will support the economic progress of the Tamils and others in Sri Lanka. Language is not just a tool of communication but it also bonds and unifies cultures and people. The Prime Minister told the Tamils that being the children of Tamil mother, it was a matter of pride that they also speak Sinhala.
At the event, PM Modi remembered the journey of people who started their journey from India to Ceylon. "Sri Lankan government is taking active steps to improve your life which includes a Five-year Action plan".