The Gauthama Buddha Airport in Lumbini, Nepal is to be developed as an International Airport with modern facilities to enable Sri Lankan Buddhist devotees to fly there directly on pilgrimage to places of workshop in Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha.
Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari disclosed this during official discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena when he called on her at the Presidential Palace after attending the BIMSTEC Conference on Saturday afternoon.
President Bhandari who warmly welcomed President Sirisena thanked him for visiting Nepal which had long-standing economic, political and cultural ties with Sri Lanka. Congratulating President Sirisena on his appointment as BIMSTEC Chairman, Mrs. Bhandari said Nepal on its part would extend its fullest support and co-operation to him in carrying out his functions in the new post.
The Nepalese President who recalled her visit to Sri Lanka to attend the International Vesak festival in 2017 said she highly appreciated the grand welcome accorded to her during the visit discussion between the two leaders also centred round further strengthening mutual relations between the two countries in the fisheries, agriculture and tourism sectors.
The Nepalese President also thanked President Sirisena for the five President’s scholarships granted annually to Nepalese students for higher studies in Sri Lanka.
President Sirisena said he would extend his fullest support and co-operation towards the successful completion of the wide scale development plan for places of Buddhist worship in Nepal, drawn up by the Lummbini Development Trust.
Following the meeting of the two state leaders, two new MOUs were signed between Sri Lanka and Nepal. The MOU for the training of public servants was signed by the secretary of Nepal Foreign Ministry and Sri Lanka Ambassador in Nepal Mrs. W.S. Perera.
The MOU for youth development was signed by W.S. Perera and the Secretary of the Nepal Sports Ministry.
President Sirisena and his delegation also attended a banquet hosted by the Nepalese President.