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Namal Rajapaksa, 100+ Lankan Buddhist clergy at inauguration of Kushinagar international airport

Sri Lanka’s cabinet minister for Youth and sports Namal Rajapaksa and hundred plus members of the Buddhist clergy will be in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar at the inauguration of its international airport.

Kushinagar is key to Buddhist pilgrim circuit. It is believed that the founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, attained Mahaparinirvana at this location.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Minister of the state, Yogi Adityanath, both, will be present at the location. Several other foreign envoys will also be present at the grand opening.

Namal Rajapaksa is the son of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and a member of parliament (MP). His presence at the event shows increased engagement between the two sides.

This comes a little after the Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane and foreign secretary Harsh Shringlavisited Sri Lanka.  Later this year, Sri Lanka will be hosting BIMSTEC summit, and PM Modi is expected to attend in-person, depending on circumstances.

Lately, there has been an increased focus on strengthening the Indian and Sri Lankan Buddha connect. Recently, in a conversation with WION, Sri Lankan Consul General in Mumbai Ambassador Dr. Valsan said, “Buddhism is the biggest link given to us by India. Dream of every Buddhist in Sri Lanka is to pay homage at least once in a lifetime at pilgrimage sites in India.”

Another focus of the two countries is on the Ramayana link. The new Sri Lankan high commissioner Milinda Marogoda has brought with him a stone from “Sita Eliya” in Sri Lanka. This stone will be used during the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Sita Eliya is believed to be the place where Goddess Sita was held captive by Demon King Ravana. In Ramayana, the area has been mentioned as Ashok Vatika.

Source: Thanks