Several foreign dignitaries, including Sri Lankan minister Namal Rajapaksa, on Wednesday hailed the inauguration of the Kushinagar International Airport, and said it will boost the number of Buddhist tourists visiting India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the new international airport at Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, and said his government has taken a number of steps to instil new energy in the aviation sector.
“Tourism between India and Sri Lanka has always been very robust. We have a lot of Indians coming to Sri Lanka and also Sri Lankan pilgrims coming to different states (in India), especially Varanasi, Prime Minister’s constituency,” Rajapaksa told reporters at the inauguration event.
“So now we believe that opening up Kushinagar will increase the number of pilgrims (coming to India) from Sri Lanka and also Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world,” the Sri Lankan Cabinet minister said.
Ambassador of Thailand to India Pattarat Hongtong said the Kushinagar airport will improve tourism between the two countries and facilitate Buddhist travellers.
Ambassador of Vietnam to India Pham Sanh Chau also said that the Kushinagar Airport will give a boost to the numbers of Buddhist tourists visiting India.
The Kushinagar airport has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 260 crore and will facilitate domestic and international pilgrims to visit the ‘mahaparinirvana’ site of Lord Buddha and is an endeavour to connect the Buddhist pilgrimage holy sites around the world, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.