India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi Makes Unscheduled Visit to Colombo Church Bombed During Easter Attacks in Sri Lanka

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made an unscheduled visit to a Colombo church bombed during the Easter suicide attacks on his first trip to neighbouring Sri Lanka since his election triumph.

Modi’s motorcade made a detour to St Anthony’s Shrine on Sunday while en route to President Maithripala Sirisena’s seafront office in the capital, where a red carpet military parade awaited.

“I am confident Sri Lanka will rise again,” Modi posted on Twitter, where he also shared photos of himself at the church. “Cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who received Modi at Colombo’s airport, said the two discussed ways to combat attacks such as the assault on the three hotels and as many churches which left 258 dead and nearly 500 injured on April 21.

“Since both Sri Lanka and India have been victims of terrorism, both the leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and decided to step up cooperation in this critical area,” Sri Lanka’s presidential office said in a statement.

The statement added that the two leaders held most of their talks in Modi’s limousine while driving the 33km distance between the capital and the airport.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday attacks, which were carried out by a local group, National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), that allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIL.

Modi also held talks with opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and minority ethnic Tamil leaders before returning home later on Sunday.

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SOURCE: Al Jazeera

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