Colombo, May 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that Buddhism’s message of peace is the answer to the growing phenomenon of terrorism across the world.
“The biggest challenge to sustainable world peace today may not be necessarily from conflict between the nation states,” Modi said in his address here as the chief guest at the UN-recognised 14th International Vesak Day meant to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha.
“It is from the mindsets, thought streams, entities and instruments rooted in the idea of hate and violence,” he said.
The theme of this year’s International Vesak Day, being hosted by Sri Lanka for the first time, is Buddhist teachings for social justice and sustainable world peace.
The Indian Prime Minister said that the menace of terrorism in the region “is a concrete manifestation of this destructive emotion”.
“Sadly, these ideologies of hate and their proponents in our region are not open to dialogue and hence only open to causing death and destruction,” he said.
“I firmly believe that Buddhism’s message of peace is the answer to growing arc of violence all over the world.”
Modi hoped for not just a negative notion of peace defined by the absence of conflict, “but a positive peace where we all work to promote dialogue, harmony and justice, based on compassion and wisdom”.
Stating that the friendship between India and Sri Lanka was etched in time by Lord Buddha, he said that “Buddhism imparts an ever present radiance to our relationship”.
“As close neighbours, our relationship spreads across many layers. It draws its strength as much through our interconnected values of Buddhism as it does from the limitless possibilities of our shared future.”
The Indian Prime Minister also announced a new direct flight between Colombo and Varanasi, the place of Lord Buddha’s first sermon.
“This will ease travel to the land of Buddha for my brothers and sisters from Sri Lanka, and help you directly visit Sravasti, Kusinagar, Sankasa, Kaushambi and Sarnath,” he said.
“My Tamil brothers and sisters will also be able to visit Varanasi, the land of Kashi Viswanath.”
Stating that India was committed to the economic prosperity of Sri Lanka, Modi said: “We will continue to invest in driving positive change and economic growth to deepen our development cooperation.”
He also called for free flow of trade, investments, technology, and ideas between India and Sri Lanka for mutual benefit.
“India’s rapid growth can bring dividends for the entire region, especially in Sri Lanka. In infrastructure and connectivity, transport and energy, we are poised to scale up our cooperation,” Modi stated.
“Our development partnership stretches across nearly every sector of human activity such as agriculture, education, health, resettlement, transport, power, culture, water, shelter, sports, and human resources.”
He also mentioned that India’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka amounted to $2.6 billion.
“Its only aim is to support Sri Lanka in realising a peaceful, prosperous and secure future for its people,” Modi said. “Because, the economic and social wellbeing of the people of Sri Lanka is linked with that of 1.25 billion Indians.”
Modi arrived in Colombo on Thursday on a two-day visit at the invitation of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.
This is his second visit to the Indian Ocean island nation as Prime Minister after his visit in March 2015.