Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid histribute to the victims of the horrific Easter Sunday suicide bombings, saying"cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka".
"I am confident Sri Lanka will rise again. Cowardlyacts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka. India stands insolidarity with the people of Sri Lanka," Modi tweeted as he began a packedone-day visit to the island nation.
Modi, who arrived here from the Maldives and wasceremonially received by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, began his SriLanka visit by going to one of the sites of the Easter Sunday attack, the StAnthony's church.
"My heart goes out to the families of the victims andthe injured."
Modi is the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka afterthe horrible terror attack of April 21 that killed over 250 people and whichwas blamed by Colombo on a Sri Lankan Islamist outfit although the mayhem wasclaimed by the Islamic State.
The Indian Prime Minister's Office described Modi's visit as"important, signifying the strong bonds of friendship with a valuedneighbour".
On his part, Modi tweeted after his welcome ceremony:"Happy to be back in Sri Lanka, my third visit to this beautiful island infour years.
"Share the warmth shown by the people of Sri Lanka inequal measure. India never forgets her friends when they are in need. Deeplytouched by the ceremonial welcome."
After becoming the Prime Minister, Modi earlier visited SriLanka in March 2015 and May 2017.
In his first overseas trip after his re-election now, Modivisited the Maldives on Saturday at the invitation of Maldivian PresidentIbrahim Mohamed Solih.
His next halt was Sri Lanka, where President MaithripalaSirisena invited him.
Modi is scheduled to hold talks with Sirisena. Later, theLeader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapakse, a former President, and adelegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will call on the Indian leader.
Before returning to New Delhi, Modi will offer prayers atthe Tirupati shrine.
India is Sri Lanka's largest trading partner globally, andit also accounts for the largest FDI in the island nation.