24th June 2018 15:32:30 Hours
A meritorious project of unique nature, hitherto unheard in the Army accommodated a total of 160 Tri-service personnel and their family members including 82 Army participants to go on a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya for the first time in their lifetime, thanks to a comprehensive friendly package, introduced by the Commander of the Army in collaboration with the Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army and the High Commission of India.
The batch of manifestly nervous and grateful Tri-service pilgrims who gathered at the Colombo International Airport this morning (24) took leave of the architect of the programme, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army, together with Senior Officers of the sister services extending their warm thanks to him, some of them in tears.
This project, designed closely by the Commander of the Army under the India-Sri Lanka Exchange Programme (Army to Army) in close cooperation with the High Commission of India enables pilgrims to visit the sacred Bodhgaya and other historical places of worship during their three-day stay (24-26) in India. 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.
A few hours prior to their departure, the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake and the Indian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka, HE Taranjit Singh Sandhu accompanied by Senior Officers of the sister services met the group belonging to the Tri-services and wished them a happy journey. Indian High Commissioner’s office assisted in the issuance of visiting visas for the group and assisted the passage.
An Indian Air Force aircraft flew the group to Bodhgaya showing Indian Army's goodwill towards the Sri Lankan Defence Forces.
This novel religious project was initiated, consequent upon a request, extended to General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army by his Sri Lankan counterpart who recently concluded a goodwill tour to Sri Lanka at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake.