Indian prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a new airport in Kushinagar earlier today, in a ceremony which saw 100 Buddhist monks fly in from Sri Lanka, accompanied by the son of the Sri Lankan prime minister.
Namal Rajapaksa, the son of Mahinda and Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Minister of Youth and Sports accompanied the 100 Buddhist monks, four State Ministers and other senior officials on the SriLankan Airlines flight. They had brought Buddhist Kapilavastu relics of Waskaduwa with them, to be displayed at the ceremony.
The new airport in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh is a Buddhist cultural site, with several others close by. The airport is reportedly part of a move by the Indian government to drive tourism to the region, with Modi telling the opening ceremony that he is “preparing more than 200 airports, heliports and water ports for seaplanes in the next four years”.
“Come to Kushinagar, get inspired by the noble principles of Lord Buddha,” he tweeted earlier in the day.
Come to Kushinagar, get inspired by the noble principles of Lord Buddha. pic.twitter.com/i1zajn5tNL
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 20, 2021
Delegates from twelve countries, including Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore also attended the ceremony.
Modi went on to tweet photographs of a meeting he held with Namal Rajapaksa, where the Sri Lankan presented a gift from his father - An English, Sinhala amd Tamil translations of the Bhagavad Gita.
“This is a great initiative undertaken by my friend, [Mahinda Rajapaksa],” he tweeted. “India-Sri Lanka ties are getting stronger and stronger across different sectors. This augurs well for the people of our nations.”
— India in Sri Lanka (@IndiainSL) October 20, 2021