Briefing the media this afternoon, Joint Secretary (Indian Ocean Region) in the External Affairs Ministry Amit Narang said the grant will assist in deepening people-to-people linkages between the two countries in the sphere of Buddhism.
PM Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa held the first-ever India-Sri Lanka Virtual Bilateral Summit on Saturday. They agreed that the Indian side would facilitate the visit of a delegation of Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka in the first inaugural flight to Sacred City of Kushinagar. Kushinagar Airport was designated as an international airport recently recognizing its importance as a Buddhist site. Both sides also agreed to explore opportunities in the areas of Ayurveda and Yoga.
Both leaders were unanimous that the ancient cultural links between India and Sri Lanka are special and must be nurtured further. Sri Lankan PM Rajapaksa made a special mention of the Jaffna Cultural Centre which is an iconic project built with Indian assistance. The centre is almost ready and the Sri Lankan Prime Minister extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to inaugurate the project.
India and Sri Lanka have reached an understanding to extend the MoU on High Impact Community Development Projects for a five-year period beginning 2020. Both leaders agreed to continue the successful Indian housing project and gave instructions to the relevant officials to fast-track the construction of 10,000 houses in the plantation sector. The Joint Secretary said, the discussions were held in a friendly, frank and cordial manner. The outcomes of the Summit are substantial, forward looking and also help to set an ambitious agenda for bilateral ties. Both leaders discussed the economic dimension of the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Prime Minister Modi called upon the new government in Sri Lanka to work towards realizing the expectations of Tamils for equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka by achieving reconciliation nurtured by implementation of the Constitutional provisions. He emphasized that implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution is essential for carrying forward the process of peace and reconciliation.