June 24, Colombo: A group of 160 Sri Lankan tri-service personnel and their family members including 82 Army participants today left for Bodh Gaya on a special visit organized by the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka.
"The visit to Bodh Gaya is yet another manifestation of the shared Buddhist heritage of India and Sri Lanka, and will help deepen the bonds of friendship and camaraderie that exist between the Armed Forces of both countries," the High Commission of India said in a statement.
The three-day visit from June 24 -26 includes travel to and from India on an Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft, which was specifically deployed from India to transport the travelers.
Apart from a visit to the sacred Mahabodhi Temple, various other events and activities, including interaction with their Indian counterparts and a tour of the Officers Training Academy (OTA) at Gaya, are part of the group's itinerary, which is being coordinated by the Indian Army.
On Monday, the Lankan team will visit the Officers' Training Academy (OTA) at Gaya followed by a visit to Bodh Gaya. On Tuesday, the same C-17 aircraft will fly them back to Colombo.
The itinerary, prepared by the office of the Indian Chief of the Army Staff, the host of the tour would provide food, accommodation and all transport to the touring Tri-service group at their cost.
High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu Army commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake met the military and their families at Colombo airport on Sunday, before the group embarked upon their visit to India.
Indian High Commissionerís office has assisted in the issuance of visiting visas for the group and assisted the passage.
The travelers shared their excitement about their special visit, and thanked the Government of India for organizing it.
This novel religious project was initiated, following a request, extended to Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army General Bipin Rawat, who recently visited Sri Lanka, by his Sri Lankan counterpart Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake.