Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who is on a two-day visit to India, today said the cordial ties between the two neighbours are poised to strengthen further. The Sri Lankan President unveiled the statue of Angarika Dharmapala, who played a major role in the revival of Buddhism in India, at Sanchi. He praised the efforts made by Indian government to secure and develop Buddhist archaeological sites.
“Since our two countries have had extremely intimate bilateral relations for centuries, I consider this invitation as a firm endorsement of goodwill and friendly attitude to each other,” Sirisena, while addressing the International Vichar Mahakumbh here said.
“Our friendly relations have strengthened by such meet and sharing ways of some issues of our mutual concerns. I am confident that our relationship will enhance and also blossom in the future,” he added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh were also present on the occasion.
Recalling his first visit to India after being elected as the President, Sirisena said, “You (Modi) may recall that my first overseas visit after being elected as the President of Sri Lanka was to India.” He also thanked India for the commitment shown by the country in socio-economic areas of Sri Lanka.
“I appreciate the keen interest and commitment India has exhibited in socio-economic development in Sri Lanka. I thank India with great appreciation for such commitments,” he said. Sirisena said the unveiling of the statue of Angarika Dharmapala signalled deep appreciation of the mutual relationship the two nations enjoy.
He said the opportunity accorded to him to worship the relics of Buddha’s disciples, is also evidence of the mutual commitment in the sphere of religious matters between the two countries.
Lauding the efforts made by Indian government to secure and develop Buddhist archaeological sites, he said, “This endorses interest and commitment of the Indian government towards respecting Buddhism. “As the premier of the country with a majority Buddhist population I have special reasons to be happy,” he added.