Message from High Commissioner H.E. Gopal Baglay:
I am delighted to convey my warm greetings to the friendly people of Sri Lanka and all Indians residing in this beautiful country on the 73rd Republic Day of India.
The world’s largest written Constitution came into force in a young and independent India on this day 72 years ago. Sri Lanka is India’s closest maritime neighbour and friend. It occupies a central place in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
The people of the two countries share deep-rooted commonalities in cultural, spiritual, linguistic, commercial and several other spheres, extending back thousands of years.
These unique ties provide a solid foundation for our contemporary and comprehensive bilateral engagement. Today, India and Sri Lanka are taking rapid strides along the Mitratva Magga – the Path of Friendship- guided by leaders in both countries committed to ever stronger relationship for shared progress, prosperity and peace.
This common vision drives India’s extensive development cooperation programmes in Sri Lanka. I am happy that its continued implementation saw inauguration of four grant projects in diverse areas such as education and housing during the visit of the Foreign Secretary of India to Sri Lanka in October 2021.
A few days ago, celebrating Thai Pongal with the Indian Origin Tamil Community, I handed over 1000 houses built with India’s assistance in Central Province.
Even as development assistance remains a key pillar of India-Sri Lanka engagement, bilateral exchanges and institutional mechanisms are being oriented to jointly face the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. From ensuring early vaccine and immediate oxygen supplies during COVID-19 to being the first responder in mitigating marine disasters, India continues to be Sri Lanka’s dependable friend.
The recent economic and forex support from India to Sri Lanka following the visit to India by Finance Minister, H.E Basil Rajapaksa underlines our commitment to stand with Sri Lanka.
More support measures are being worked out to meet Sri Lanka’s requirements.
At the same time, the High Commission actively encourages stronger trade and investment linkages between India and Sri Lanka, and closer people-to-people ties.
We, therefore, are happy to see continued large Indian investments in Sri Lanka and also initiatives such as the inaugural international flight from Sri Lanka to Kushinagar carrying sacred Relics and venerable members of Maha Sangha besides prominent leaders including Hon’ble Minister Namal Rajapaksa.
It was similarly a great privilege and honour to witness the establishment of Sri Lanka-India Parliamentary Friendship Association with record participation of Hon’ble Members of Parliament.
This welcome development will reinforce ties between the two democracies and the people’s representatives.
As India celebrates her 75th year of Independence, Sri Lanka is also about to reach the same milestone. The two Governments plan to celebrate together the journeys of our two plural and diverse democracies in a betting manner in the months ahead.
Such endeavours will reinforce the lasting bonds of friendship between the peoples of the two countries and propel their cooperation forward with greater momentum.
It is in this spirit that I would also like to wish you all a very happy Independence Day of Sri Lanka, little over a week from now.
Namaskar, Ayubowan, Vanakkam!