India-Sri Lanka a very special relationship based on shared heritage and shared interests- 64th Republic Day of India celebrations in Sri Lanka
The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated today the 64th Republic Day of India at India House in Colombo.
The High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha unfurled the National Flag and inspected a Guard of Honor presented by the BSF contingent. He read out significant excerpts from the Address to the Nation on the eve of the Republic Day by the President of India Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.
The High Commissioner noted that the President of India had highlighted that India has changed more in last six decades than in six previous centuries and the foundations were laid through our Constitution, which represented a second liberation from the stranglehold of traditional inequity in gender, caste, community, etc.
He further added that in the last six decades, India’ economic growth has more than tripled, literacy rate has increased by over four times, there has been significant reduction in poverty, India is now net exporter of food grains and there has been a drive towards gender equality.
He said that the President’s message underlined that India’s most impregnable asset is self-belief and each challenge becomes an opportunity to strengthen our resolve to achieve unprecedented economic growth and social stability.
Speaking about the state of India-Sri Lanka relations, High Commissioner highlighted that it is a very special relationship based both on shared heritage and shared interests. He noted that the last year witnessed dynamic developments in our strong, friendly and time-tested relations with Sri Lanka.
Referring to recently held 8th meeting of the Joint Commission co-chaired by the Ministers of External Affairs of the two countries, He said that it took stock of the entire gamut of our relationship and agreed on many new initiatives.
He underlined the strong commitment on both sides to take the relationship, renew and enlarge it continuously. He referred to high-level exchanges of visits including the visit of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka to India in September 2012, two high-level Parliamentary delegations led by the Speaker of Lok Sabha and Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha and the visits of the Ministers of External Affairs.
High Commissioner called people-to-people links constituting the bedrock of our relationship and referred to successful exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka. He underlined the growing economic ties between the two countries and that India was the leading source country in terms of foreign tourist arrivals and foreign direct investment into Sri Lanka. He referred to the decision to double bilateral trade to US$ 10 billion by 2015 and to move towards an enhanced framework for a special economic partnership. He mentioned about several new initiatives and projects which are in the pipeline including Sampur Power Plant, new manufacturing zones and exploration of feasibility of physical connectivity across Palk Strait. He reiterated that India is committed to being a partner of Sri Lanka in meeting its aspirations of peace, harmony and development.
A brief cultural programme organized by the Indian Cultural Centre followed. Its highlights were singing of patriotic songs and dance performances by the students of the Indian Cultural Centre. Subsequently, the High Commissioner of India and other officials of the High Commission paid their respects to the memory of fallen soldiers of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in a solemn ceremony at the IPKF memorial in Colombo.
To commemorate India’s 64th Republic Day, reputed R. Ramachandra Nair and Madhava Madam C V N Kalari Sangam presented “Kalarippayattu”, a martial art form from Kerala at the Lionel Wendt Auditorium on 25th January. The troupe, sponsored by Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) will be performing in Jaffna and Kandy on 28 January and 31 January respectively.
Consulates General of India in Jaffna and Hambantota and the Assistant High Commission of India in Kandy also celebrated the 64th Republic Day by organizing flag hoisting ceremony today morning.
- Asian Tribune -