Modi gives Ashoka to Lanka, gets Buddha in return

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka demonstrates the priority that India attaches to the SAGAR doctrine

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Colombo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday planted a sapling of an evergreen Ashoka tree at the President’s House here along with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

Prime Minister Modi arrived in Sri Lanka on the second leg of his first foreign visit after re-election last month, reflecting the importance India attaches to its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

Modi was welcomed by Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, where the prime minister planted a sapling of the Ashoka tree.

“Deep roots. Strong relationship. PM @narendramodi and President @MaithripalaS plant a sapling at the President’s House,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

A plaque was put aside the sapling that read ‘Asoka Saraca asoca’, planted by Prime Minister Modi in Colombo on 9 June.

President Sirisena also introduced his cabinet ministers to Prime Minister Modi.

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi was accorded a ceremonial reception at the President’s House. He arrived in Colombo from the Maldives where he held wide-ranging talks with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Saturday.

Modi’s visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka demonstrates the priority that India attaches to the SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) doctrine, the sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a special gift, a replica of the Samadhi Buddha Statue, from a “special friend” Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena after the two leaders met here on Sunday.

“This replica of the Samadhi Buddha Statue has been hand carved using white teak. This masterpiece has taken almost two years to complete. The meditation pose is known as Dhyana Mudra,” Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.


“A special gift from a special friend. President @MaithripalaS presented PM @narendramodi the Samadhi Buddha Statue. This is considered to be one of the best sculptures in the Anuradhapura era. The original statue was sculptured between the 4
th and 7th centuries AD,” the tweet read.

Prime Minister Modi arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday for a day-long visit and met with President Sirisena and discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest.


Modi was accorded a ceremonial reception at the President’s House. Sri Lankan President Sirisena was seen holding an umbrella and providing cover to himself and Prime Minister Modi from rain.

Modi is the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka after the Easter attacks in April. His visit is considered as a sign of India’s affirmation of solidarity with Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the deadly Easter terror attacks in April.