Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced that there will be direct flights between Varanasi and Colombo from this year onwards. Speaking at Vesak Day celebrations in Sri Lanka, Narendra Modi said: “I have the great pleasure to announce that from August this year, Air India will operate direct flights between Colombo and Varanasi.” He added that with this flight, “the Tamil brothers and sisters will also be able to visit Varanasi, the land of Kashi Viswanath.”

Reaching out to the people, Narendra Modi said that they will find in India a friend and partner that will support them in their nation-building endeavours. “I believe we are at a moment of great opportunity in our ties with Sri Lanka,” he said.

Speaking at the occasion, he also greeted people on Vesak saying that Lord Buddha’s message is as relevant in the twenty first century as it was two and a half millennia ago. “On Vesak let us light the lamps of knowledge to move out of darkness; let us look more within & let us uphold nothing else but the truth,” he said.

Wishing people on the Vesak, Narendra Modi said: “I bring with me the greetings of 1.25 billion people from the land of the Samyaksambuddha, the perfectly self awakened one. Our region is blessed to have given to the world the invaluable gift of Buddha and his teachings.”