Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda who is on a three-day official visit to the State of Odisha met with the Chief Minister and the Governor of the State.
High Commissioner Moragoda’s meeting with the Odisha Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik was held at the Naveen Niwas in Bhubaneswar. Their discussion, which was held in a very cordial manner, recalled the historical ties and the deep cultural bond between the State of Odisha and Sri Lanka.
The ways and means to further enhance air connectivitybetween Sri Lanka and Odisha were also discussed. With a view to further strengthening people to people contacts, the Chief Minister and the High Commissioner agreed to work on the preparation of a guide book containing the important Buddhist sites in Odisha for the use of Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims and tourists. High Commissioner Moragoda invited Chief Minister Patnaik to undertake a visit to Sri Lanka at a mutually convenient time.
Symbolizing the historical connection between Sri Lanka and the State of Odisha, High Commissioner Moragoda presented to Chief Minister Patnaik, a large photograph of a Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara mural by Solias Mendis, which depicts Prince Danta and Princess Hemamala bringing the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha from Kalinga (modern day Odisha) to Lanka.
The first president of the Biju Janata Dal party since 1997, Shri Naveen Patnaik has been holding the post of Chief Minister of Odisha since 2000. He is the longest-serving Chief Minister of Odisha and as of 2023, one of the longest-serving chief ministers of any Indian state, holding the post for over two decades.
High Commissioner Moragoda met with the Governor of the State of Odisha Prof. Ganeshi Lal on the same day at the Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar. The Governor extended a warm welcome to the High Commissioner and the subsequent discussion was held in a very cordial manner. Their discussion focused on further enhancing the relations between Sri Lanka and Odisha. The High Commissioner invited Governor Lal to visit Sri Lanka.
High Commissioner Moragoda also presented to the Governor a stone obtained from the stream flowing besides the Seetha Amman Temple in Seetha Eliya (Ashoka Vatika) in Sri Lanka, which is believed to be the site where Seetha was held captive according to the Ramayana.
High Commissioner Moragoda was accompanied to these meetings by Minister of the High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi Upul Pushpakumara and Minister Counsellor Gamini Sarath Godakanda.