COLOMBO, May 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the biggest challenge to sustainable world peace is from mindsets rooted in hate and violence, and not necessarily from conflict between the nation states.
Speaking as the chief guest at the International Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo, the prime minister said that the themes of social justice and sustainable world peace, chosen for the Vesak day, resonate deeply with Buddha’s teachings.
“The biggest challenge to sustainable world peace today is not necessarily from conflict between the nation states,” he told the audience which included Lankan President Maithripala Srisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, diplomats, politicians and several Buddhist leaders from across the world.
“It is from the mindsets, thought streams, entities and instruments rooted in the idea of hate and violence,” he said, adding that the menace of terrorism in our region is a concrete manifestation of this destructive emotion.
He said Lord Buddha’s message is as relevant in the 21st century as it was two and a half millennia ago.
Our region is blessed to have given to the world the invaluable gift of Buddha and his teachings, he said, adding that Buddhism and its various strands are deep seated in “our governance, culture and philosophy.”
Mr. Modi, on his second visit to Sri Lanka in two years, was earlier received by his Sri Lankan counterpart Wickremesinghe at the venue amid traditional fanfare.
The prime minister lit a lamp a traditional practice initiating the UN ‘Vesak Day’ celebrations, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.
Several Buddhist monks chanted prayers during which Mr. Modi closed his eyes and kept his hands folded.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Wickremesinghe thanked Mr. Modi for being the chief guest at the event.
“Proud to host Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo. I want to thank Prime Minister Modi for being the chief guest during the celebrations,” Mr.Wickremesinghe said.
“Teachings of Buddhism are relevant in today’s world. Buddhism shows a moderate path and need to consolidate social justice,” he said.
Mr. Modi arrived here on Thursday on a two-day visit which is mainly aimed at reinforcing the traditional connect between India and Sri Lanka at a time when China is seeking to make inroads in the island nation. PTI