Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Sri Lanka that India would “walk side by side” with Sri Lanka as it charted its own path to progress and prosperity for all its citizens.
“India desires to see an economically prosperous Sri Lanka. A Sri Lanka where unity and integrity, peace, harmony security and equal opportunity and dignity prevail throughout the country among all its peoples,” Prime Minister Modi said.
He expressed these views while speaking via videoconferencing from New Delhi at the inauguration of the Jaffna Durayappah Stadium renovated by India.
The stadium was jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi along with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena through videoconferencing.
Mr. Modi said India strongly believes that its economic growth must bring benefits to its neighbours, PTI reported.
“Our relations are not limited to the confines of our two governments, they reside in the rich context of our history, culture, language, art and geography. India strongly believes that its economic growth must drive and bring benefit to its neighbours,” he said
While thanking India for its assistance, Mr. Sirisena said Sri Lanka was committed to strengthening bilateral relations even though there may be wrong understandings and interpretations at times.
Mr. Modi, along with Mr. Sirisena, inaugurated the Durayappah Stadium, named in honour of a former Mayor of Jaffna late Alfred Thambirajah Durayappah.
The stadium, in disuse since 1997, has been renovated by India at a cost of over Rs. 7 crore.
Mr. Modi said the modern tools of communication have enabled 1.25 billion people of India and the friendly people of Sri Lanka to “join in this celebration”.
“After a wait of nearly 20 years your applause and cheers will once again rekindle the soul of Duraiappah stadium. Even while we are sitting thousands of kilometres away in Delhi, we can feel the pulse of vibrancy, an atmosphere of change in Jaffna,” Mr. Modi said.
The renovated stadium, with a seating capacity of 1,850, will provide the necessary infrastructure to promote sports and recreational activities and assist the overall development of the youth of the war-ravaged Northern Province.
“The Duraiappah Stadium is not just brick and mortar. It is a symbol of optimism and economic development. An arena of prosperous and healthy future of Jaffna’s youth. It demonstrates your determination to shed the legacy of violence and pursue the path of economic progress,” the Prime Minister said.
President Sirisena thanked the Indian government for its assistance and support for Sri Lanka’s development.