The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay on June 14 invoked Buddhist monk Arahat Mahinda to deliver a symbolic, goodwill message in Sinhala to mark the occasion of Poson Poya Day.
The Poson Poya Day is of the highest significance to Sri Lankan Buddhists, as it marks the historic arrival of Arahat Mahinda Thera to the country with the message of Lord Buddha, paving the way to create a new identity as well as a cultural renaissance.
“Arahat Mahinda had carried the message of Buddhism from India on a Poson full moon day like today and Sri Lanka was among the first among many countries that India had extended its message of Buddhism,” Mr. Baglay said in his video message.
The envoy recalled that under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian government included assistance of $15 million to Sri Lanka to promote Buddhist diplomacy between the two countries.
Mr. Baglay also spoke about the first international flight that landed at the Kushinagar International Airport in October 2021, which was from Sri Lanka.
The ancient city of Kushinagar, situated in Uttar Pradesh is considered a sacred spot for Buddhist pilgrims as it was believed to be the final resting place of Lord Gautama Buddha.
The envoy’s goodwill message in Sinhala comes at a time when Sri Lanka is undergoing its worst economic crisis since its independence from Britain in 1948. India has provided a $55 million Line of Credit to Sri Lanka for the import of fertilisers, in a bid to help the island nation tide over its food scarcity, the Indian High Commission said last week.
The nearly bankrupt country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, announced in April that it is suspending nearly $7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about $25 billion due through 2026.
Sri Lanka's total foreign debt stands at $51 billion.