Speaker of the Lok Sabha of India Meira Kumar and the delegation paid a courtesy call on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees Saturday (12).
The Indian Speaker, who is participating in the 3rd Asian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in Colombo as the Chief Guest, discussed strengthening parliamentary contacts between India and Sri Lanka among other matters of bilateral interest with President Rajapaksa. She apprised him of the various activities that India was planning, together with the Sri Lankan government to observe the 2600th anniversary of the Enlightenment of Lord Buddha (Sambuddhatva Jayanti). Mrs. Kumar informed of the agreement by Indian Prime Minister to arrange an exposition later this year of the sacred Kapilvastu relics in Sri Lanka, following a request that had been made personally by President Rajapaksa.
Among other activities, India is also organising an international conference on Buddhism in Kandy in March 2011 and commissioning an Indian gallery, including a 16-feet high statue of Lord Buddha, for the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy, Mrs. Kumar has told the President.
President Rajapaksa welcomed the initiatives and informed the progress of various developmental activities being undertaken by India in Sri Lanka such as the housing project and the rehabilitation of the railway network in the north. The two sides also agreed to promote parliamentary exchanges, especially between young parliamentarians. India’s Speaker also has said that she looked forward to the visit to India in the near future of a Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation led by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. President Rajapaksa hosted a banquet on Sunday in honour of the delegates to the Conference. Sri Lanka’s Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha were also present.