Speaking on the occasion of International Vesak Day celebration in Colombo, PM Narendra Modi said that the Indian airlines Air India will operate direct flights between Varanasi and Colombo from August. He is on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka.
“My Tamil brothers and sisters will also be able to visit Varanasi, the land of Kashi Viswanath,” he said while addressing people at the opening ceremony of International Vesak Day at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Friday.
He also will inaugurate the 150-bed multi-speciality Dickoya Hospital, built with Indian assistance, later in the day.
Varanasi is the Prime Minister’s Lok Sabha constituency. He had earlier signed a partnership agreement between Varanasi and Kyoto, in his 2014 visit to Japan, thereby making them sister cities.
PM Modi met his Sri Lankan counterpart PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Maithripala Sirisena upon reaching Sri Lanka. He also happened to have talks with former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an unscheduled meeting.
Speaking at the Vesak Day ocassion, PM Modi said that he believed that both India and Sri Lanka are at a “moment of great opportunity” in regard to the relations both countries share with each other.