Speaking at the International Vesak Day celebrations in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that from August this year, Air India will operate direct flights between Colombo and Varanasi.
"My Tamil brothers and sisters will also be able to visit Varanasi, the land of Kashi Viswanath," he said while addressing a crowd of India-origin Tamils in the tea plantation region of central Sri Lanka.
Varanasi is the Prime Minister's Lok Sabha constituency. In a 2014 visit to Japan, Modi had signed a partnership agreement between Varanasi and Kyoto, both historically significant cities, making them sister cities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka where he will participate in the International Vesak Day celebrations. Later in the day, he will be inaugurating the 150-bed multi-specialty Dickoya Hospital which has been built with Indian assistance.
Upon his arrival in the neighbouring island nation on Thursday, PM Modi had met President Maithripala Sirisena and Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had earlier visited India in April. In an unscheduled meeting, Modi reportedly also held talks with former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.