New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday arrived in Sri Lanka at a time when the island nation is heeling from the Easter bombings which killed more than 250 people. Modi was received by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The first world leader to visit Sir Lanka after the dastardly terror attack, PM Modi paid tribute to the victims at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo.  

After arriving in Sri Lanka, Modi said that he was happy to be back in the island nation, which was his third visit to the country. 

"Happy to be back in Sri Lanka, my third visit to this beautiful island in four years. Share the warmth shown by the people of Sri Lanka in equal measure. India never forgets her friends when they are in need. Deeply touched by the ceremonial welcome," tweeted Modi.  

Modi also met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Sirisena had earlier invited Modi to the island nation. 

Modi is also expected to meet former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka is facing a crisis situation after the Easter bombings on April 21, 2019. The attack has deeply affected tourism in the country. The country has been on high alert even as two months have passed since the attack.

According to Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, Austin Fernando, Modi’s visit to the island nation is important as it is a sign of solidarity.

"PM Narendra Modi's visit to Sri Lanka will send a message that it is a safe place to travel to. We would like the Indian government to lift the travel advisory for Sri Lanka," Austin said.

"His visit to SL after the April 21st bombings sends a message internationally. Domestically when we look at it, it gives a message that there is ahead of a government who is visiting to show solidarity," he added.

PM Modi on Saturday had visited the Maldives where he met President Ibrahim Solih. There he was honoured with the Maldives' highest honour "Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen".

Earlier, Modi said that his visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka reflects the importance India attaches to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy and that it will further cement ties with the two nations.

"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," said Modi.

Modi while addressing the Maldives Parliament, ‘the Majlis’ attacked Pakistan and said that state sponsorship of terrorism is the biggest threat the humanity is facing today. He also said that terrorism is not just a threat for a country but to the entire civilisation.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma