Oct 10, 2021

Namal to lead 100-strong delegation for Kushinagar airport opening

It is reported that Minister Namal Rajapaksa, who is currently in Maldives enroute from Kenya, is to visit India on Oct. 20 which marks the Vap full moon.

The 'Sunday Times' reports that Namal, together with more than 100 monks will leave in a fortnight on a special flight provided by the Indian government for Kushinagar, for the opening of a new international airport in the city.

A large number of Buddhist monks who had backed the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna will be included in the tour, reports say.

Kushinagar is a main pilgrimage site for Buddhists as it is where the Parinirvana of the Buddha took place.

The flight has been arranged keeping with the promise given by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during the virtual summit between the two leaders last year.

Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, State Minister of Estate Housing and Community Infrastructure Jeevan Thondaman and officials from the Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs Ministry will also join the tour, 'Sunday Times' add.

Global media reports say that relations between the Indian PM Modi and the Rajapaksa family have become increasingly cordial after India's Adani Group acquired 51% of shares of the West Container Terminal of the Colombo port.

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