Sri Lankan president in Nepal on pilgrimageOctober 29th, 2009 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Oct 29 (IANS) Amid stringent security, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Nepal Thursday on a three-day pilgrimage after his plans were interrupted earlier this year due to an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan.
The former lawyer, whose government inflicted a crushing defeat on Tamil guerrillas in May killing their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, is leading a high-level delegation on the visit, the main focus of which is to visit Lumbini in southern Nepal, the birthplace of the Buddha.
Arriving on a special flight, the 63-year-old was welcomed at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu by the Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala, who is also the foreign minister, and Culture Minister Minendra Rijal.
The Sri Lankan president will separately meet Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and other senior ministers and parliamentarians.
On Friday, he will fly to Lumbini to inaugurate a vihar - a Buddhist monastery built by the Sri Lankan government. Sri Lanka is predominantly Buddhist.
The island nation is also the current chair of the regional grouping, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, and efforts are on between the member countries, especially Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, to promote religious tourism.
Rajapaksa had visited Kathmandu in May to inaugurate direct flights by the Sri Lankan national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines, between Colombo and Kathmandu.
However, he cut his visit short and returned home without visiting Lumbini after gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.
Rajapaksa is the first head of state to visit Nepal after it became a republic with the end of a decade-long communist insurgency.
- Rajapaksa expected in Nepal again - Oct 05, 2009
- Sri Lanka gift brings Buddha alive in Nepal - May 17, 2011
- LTTE fears colour Sri Lanka president's Nepal visit - Mar 02, 2009
- Rajapaksa shortens Nepal visit over attack on Lankan cricket team at Lahore - Mar 03, 2009
- Rajapaksa visits Pakistan (Lead) - Feb 10, 2012
- Nepal President to arrive in India - Jan 27, 2011
- Sri Lankan President visits Nepal - Mar 02, 2009
- Sri Lanka, India discuss travel advisory - Sep 13, 2012
- Sri Lankan president orders security for Nasheed's wife - Feb 11, 2012
- Patil, Rajapaksa to watch World Cup final in Mumbai (Lead) - Mar 31, 2011
- Indian MP refused entry into Sri Lanka - Feb 22, 2011
- A candid post-mortem of the LTTE (Book Review) - Jul 16, 2012
- Sri Lanka, China seek to strengthen military ties - Sep 01, 2012
- Rajapaksa visits Pakistan - Feb 10, 2012
- Rajapaksa wants to discuss targeting of Sri Lankans with India - Sep 07, 2012
Tags: buddhist monastery, communist insurgency, deputy prime minister, government sri lanka, gunmen opened fire, level delegation, mahinda rajapaksa, president mahinda rajapaksa, regional grouping, religious tourism, south asian association, south asian association for regional cooperation, southern nepal, sri lankan airlines, sri lankan cricket, sri lankan cricket team, sri lankan government, sri lankan president, sujata koirala, tamil guerrillas