- PM Modi made an unscheduled stop at a church hit during Sri Lanka attacks
- India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka, he says
- The Prime Minister landed in Colombo this morning
Here's your 10-point cheat sheet to PM Modi's visit to Sri Lanka:
"I am confident that Sri Lanka will rise again. Cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka," PM Modi said after the visit to St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade.
The Prime Minister's visit is considered a sign of India's expression of solidarity with Sri Lanka following the attacks. India has offered full support to the island nation to battle terror threats.
The Prime Minister landed in Colombo this morning following a trip to Maldives. In a special gesture, Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had received him at Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport.
Soon after his landing, PM Modi was given an official welcome at the President's secretariat. During the ceremony, President Mathipala Sirisena was seen holding an umbrella providing cover to himself and Prime Minister Modi from rain. Later the two had a working lunch.
During the day-long visit, PM Modi also met Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa. A delegation of the main Tamil party - The Tamil National Alliance - also met him.
PM Modi termed his visit to Colombo "immensely fruitful". "Sri Lanka has a special place in our hearts. I assure my sisters and brothers of Sri Lanka that India will always be there with you and support your nation''s progress. Thank you for the memorable welcome and hospitality," he said before leaving the island nation.
Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of blasts that tore through St Anthony''s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian''s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa, and three high-end hotels.
Ahead of the April 21 attacks, Indian intelligence agencies had sent several warnings to their Lankan counterparts, which President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said was not conveyed up or down the line. President Sirisena sacked the national intelligence chief after he testified to an inquiry committee last week that the attacks could have been averted.
PM Modi's visit to Sri Lanka and Maldives comes as Chinese influence expands on the strategic nations. In Maldives, he inaugurated a coastal radar system and military training centre and signed several bilateral agreements.
Ahead of the visit, PM Modi tweeted: "I am confident that my visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka will further strengthen our close and cordial ties with our maritime neighbours, in line with our ''Neighbourhood-First Policy'' and the vision of security and growth for all in the region".