India’s economic growth will not be confined to bringing about development only in the country but it must also drive and bring benefit to its neighbours like Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday.
In his video address during the joint inauguration of the renovated Durraiappah Stadium in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Modi said: “India strongly believes that its economic growth must drive and bring benefit to its neighbours. Durraiappah Stadium embodies the spirit of our cooperation. Indeed, India’s support for Sri Lanka’s development is a promise of our friendship.”
Modi said the stadium was not just brick and mortar but a symbol of optimism and economic development.
Duraiappah Stadium, named in honour of a former mayor of Jaffna, the late Alfred Thambirajah Duraiappah, has been renovated by the Indian government at a cost of over Rs 7 crore ($1 million). Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena was present in the stadium at Jaffna for the inauguration.
Modi said India would like to see Sri Lanka as “an economically prosperous” country.
“A Sri Lanka where — unity and integrity; peace, harmony and security; and equal opportunity and dignity prevails throughout the country among all its people,” he said.
Prime Minister appreciated the performance of ‘Surya Namaskar’ on the occasion and said, “The ‘Surya Namaskar’, performed just a short while ago, has sent the message of holistic healthcare, harmonious and sustainable living with nature to the world”.
“In about seventy-two hours from now, the world would be celebrating the second anniversary of the International day of Yoga on 21 June. Sri Lanka was among the first supporters of the UN resolution on this subject in 2014,” he said, adding the Surya Namaskar performed in Jaffna on Saturday in a way marks the “start of the International day of Yoga with a curtain raiser from Jaffna, from this Durraiappah Stadium”.
“We could not have asked for a more fitting start and tribute to the International Day of Yoga,” Modi said and thanked Sri Lankan President Sirisena for the unique gesture.
“Durraiappah Stadium will stand as yet another symbol of our lasting friendship,” he said.
India will “walk side by side with Sri Lanka” as it charts its own path to progress and prosperity for all of its citizens, he said.
He further said New Delhi’s assistance to Colombo will be based on the “priorities” drawn by the Sri Lankan government and the cordial ties between two countries should not be “limited to the confines of our two governments” only.
“They (cordial relationship) reside in the rich contacts of our history, culture, language, art, and geography,” he said.
The renovated stadium has a seating capacity of 1,850. It will provide the necessary infrastructure to promote sports and recreational activities, and assist the overall development of the youth of the northern province in Sri Lanka.
The stadium has been in disuse since 1997.