Colombo, March 13 (newsin.asia): The High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay, laid emphasis on the importance of connectivity – cultural, civilizational, contemporary and commercial, in his interactions with people on the second day of his visit to the predominantly Tamil Northern Province.
The High Commissioner visited Kankesanthurai (KKS) harbor and took stock of the project to rehabilitate it with Government of India’s assistance of US$ 45.27 million. When completed, the project will enable movement of goods and people between Kankesanthurai and India.
The High Commissioner visited Palaly airport. In the light of the readiness of the Government of Sri Lanka to resume flights between Jaffna and Chennai and also to reopen Palaly for flights within Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner saw the facilities created there for international flights, which had been discontinued last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also discussed expansion of the infrastructure at the airport to enhance air connectivity with India, including for the promotion of trade.
A number of practical suggestions were made at the breakfast interaction the High Commissioner had with leading local businesspersons. These pertained to, inter alia, promoting investment from India in infrastructure, energy and manufacturing, skills development, agriculture and food processing, fisheries and tourism. The High Commissioner reiterated India’s readiness to support all such mutually beneficial initiatives. He emphasized that enhancing sea and air connectivity, through the development of the KKS Harbor and expansion of the Palaly airport will bring greater economic benefits and prosperity to the region.
The High Commissioner met the Mayor of Jaffna V. Manivannan and visited the Jaffna Cultural Centre with him. The iconic landmark was built with India’s grant assistance. The towering building, the design of which celebrates close architectural and cultural links with India, is intended to serve as a people-centric hub of cultural activities that reinforce civilizational heritage and cross-Strait ties. The discussions at the Centre included various aspects of its functioning under joint management after early inauguration.
The High Commissioner paid homage at the statues of Goddess Saraswathi – the presiding deity of learning and wisdom- and Saint poet Thiruvalluvar at the entrance of the Jaffna Public Library. He also visited the India Corner at the Library which celebrates the linguistic, literary and educational links with India.
The High Commissioner appreciated the commemoration in the India Corner of the life and works of Babasaheb Dr B. R. Ambedkar – the Father of the Indian Constitution and a crusader for the rights of the underprivileged and minorities. He paid floral tribute to the late President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.
India’s close connection and cooperation for the development of human resources in Sri Lanka were highlighted during the ceremony to open school buildings at Ramanathan College, Jaffna. The High Commissioner stressed the central place of quality education -especially for girls and women – for inclusive development and social, economic and political justice and equality.
The interaction of the High Commissioner with a few prominent media persons over a luncheon hosted by the Consul General of India in Jaffna brought out the significance of freedom of speech and expression for democracy. The suggestion to establish a platform for regular interaction of media with the Consulate was welcomed.
Earlier in the day, the High Commissioner offered prayers at the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, one of the most revered religious places in Sri Lanka. He also paid respects to Sri La Sri Somasunthara Gnanasampantha Paramachariya Swamigal and other prominent Hindu spiritual leaders and sought their blessings for his efforts to strengthen ties between India and Sri Lanka and the two peoples.
Solemn remembrance marked the ceremony at the IPKF memorial where the High Commissioner, the Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Priyantha Perera, other senior Officers of Sri Lankan Army paid homage to the fallen heroes of India Army who embraced death for the cause of peace in Sri Lanka.
In a brief meeting thereafter at the Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna, the High Commissioner and the Special Forces Commander discussed the growing cooperation between the Armed Forces of the two countries, which serves to enhance security in our shared region and is marked by camaraderie.
The High Commissioner interacted with officials of the Consulate General of India in Jaffna and their families and thanked them for their hard work to promote India-Sri Lanka relations in all spheres.