Ayubowan, Vanakkam, Namaskar!!
Greetings to all Indians in Sri Lanka and to my Sri Lankan brothers and sisters on the occasion of India’s 74th Republic Day.
This year, Sri Lanka also celebrates 75 years of its Independence and India and Sri Lanka mark 75 years of establishment of diplomatic ties. India celebrated 75 years of her Independence last year. Both India and Sri Lanka, close neighbors and friends, now look forward to the next 25 years for enhanced cooperation for progress and prosperity as well as peace.
Over the past year, India rendered unprecedented financial assistance of around USD 4 billion for the people of Sri Lanka. This year, India became the first bilateral creditor of Sri Lanka to convey financing assurance to the International Monetary Fund and support restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debt.
These steps have reinforced India’s commitment for the well-being of Sri Lanka in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Neighbourhood First policy.
The recent visit of External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar to Sri Lanka has opened avenues for further cooperation through investment in infrastructure, manufacturing and promoting connectivity. India was Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner in 2021. Sri Lanka’s exports to India have also grown. The use of Rupees for trade settlement is further helping Sri Lanka’s economy. These are concrete steps to help Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and growth.
I am glad to note that India was once again the largest source of tourists for Sri Lanka last year. Resumption of Chennai-Jaffna fights is yet another step in bringing the people of the two countries closer. Ferry services between the two countries will bolster this further.
Recent developments in India-Sri Lanka ties have strengthened our friendship and all-round cooperation. At the same time, the two countries also remain vigilant to address common challenges, especially in maritime security domain.
As Sri Lanka celebrates a momentous day on 4 February 2023, I wish the people of this beautiful country a very happy 75th Independence Day, and convey that India will continue to stand with Sri Lanka.
– Gopal Baglay