On Monday, PM Modi replied to Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa's tweet where he shared his experience of visiting the Ganga saying that he was "glad" that his Sri Lankan counterpart had the opportunity of visiting Varanasi and the holy river.
Mahinda Rajapaksa who assumed office as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka last year in November came to India on a five-day visit to India to improve bilateral ties between the two countries. After his official engagement in Delhi, Mahinda Rajapaksa travelled to Varanasi and will go on further to Sarnath, Bodh Gaya and Tirupati.
"The Ganga is at the heart of our civilization. It is our cultural and economic lifeline. I am glad you spent time in Varanasi and also went along the Ganga. The experience would have been wonderful!" said PM Modi in response to Prime Minister Rajapaksa's tweet.
Before leaving #Varanasi, I had the honour of visiting the sacred River Ganga. I commend PM @narendramodi’s #NamamiGange effort, not only because of the river’s spiritual and cultural significance but also because it is host to approximately 40% of #India’s population. pic.twitter.com/kQ5Vedyju3— Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) February 10, 2020
The Sri Lankan PM had also commended PM Modi for his efforts to clean the river under the 'Namami Gange' project. The Clean Ganga or Namami Gange programme is, as the name suggests, a massive, central government-led initiative to cleanse the river. During their talks at the Raj Bhavan, PM Modi said that they exchanged views on bilateral and global issues, fighting terrorism and boosting security cooperation. Joint economic projects in Sri Lanka also found a mention in the talks.
Last year his brother and newly sworn-in President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had also come to visit India, just two weeks after assuming office. Mahinda Rajapaksa served as the country's president from 2005-2015, becoming one of the longest-serving leaders in South Asia. He was also prime minister for a brief period in 2018.