Sri Lankan prez writes to Modi; expresses hope that India will soon thwart current havoc of COVID-19

·2-min read

Colombo, Apr 28 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing confidence that India will soon thwart the current havoc of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Modi, which was released to the media here, Gotabaya said he has been observing with deep empathy and concern, the unfolding health scourge in India which has brought immense suffering to the people.

'I am confident that under your able leadership and with the resolute support of dedicated experts and professionals, India will soon thwart the current havoc of the pathogen,' he said in the letter.

Gotabaya said the country's Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka plans to “compassionately recite the ‘Rathana Suthra’ to invoke blessings on the people of India, thus demonstrating the close bond and affinity between our two countries.' Rajapaksa's reference to Rathana Suthra was about a Buddhist lore that in times of the Buddha, when India's ancient city of Vaishali in Bihar was hit by famine and plague, the people called for Buddha to help. He recited the Rathana Suthra which dispelled all diseases.

Rajapaksa also thanked Modi for donation of 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatrunga said on Wednesday that the travel bubble arrangement for Indian tourists to visit Sri Lanka was still being continued.

He said the numbers of Indian tourists have dropped since the new wave of infections have hit India.

India is Sri Lanka’s biggest inbound travel market.

India saw a record single-day rise of 3,60,960 coronavirus cases, which pushed the total tally to 1,79,97,267, while the death toll crossed two lakh following 3,293 fresh fatalities, according to Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease is 1,48,17,371, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.12 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed. PTI Corr RS AKJ RS