Sri Lanka’s 65th Anniversary of Independence Celebrated in Canberra
The Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra celebrated 65th Anniversary of Independence on 4th February in grand scale.
The celebration commenced with the flag hosting ceremony by the High Commissioner Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe at the new Chancery premises in the presence the staff and a large gathering of Sri Lankan expatriates and well-wishers. Addressing the gathering, the High Commissioner emphasized the realization of sustainable peace supplemented by comprehensive economic and social development programs benefiting the people in all parts of Sri Lanka and he also highlighted the strong bilateral relations between Australia and Sri Lanka and the recent progress made with high level visits of Australian Ministers.
The High Commissioner also appealed to the gathering to support Mother Lanka in achieving His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President’s vision of making Sri Lanka the “Wonder of Asia”.
As part of the celebrations the High Commission with the assistance of the Australian Capital Territory Administration for the first time hoisted the Sri Lanka flag at the main flag post at the Commonwealth Place.
Further, 18 Sri Lankan flags were also flown on the 4th February in the back drop of Australian Federal Parliament from dawn to dusk in the centre of the main road in Canberra city the Commonwealth arena.
Further, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe and Mrs. Malathie Samarasinghe hosted a Reception in the evening of 4th for the Parliamentarians, Diplomatic Corps., Senior Government officials and Sri Lankan expatriates. A gathering of over 300 who graced the occasion was well represented by the Government, Opposition and the DPL Corps. Hon. Chris Bowen, (former Minister of Immigration & Citizenship) Minister of Tertiary Education, Hon. Richard Marles, Parliamentary Secretary and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dr. (Ms.) Margot McCarthy, National Security Adviser represented the Government and Ms. Julie Bishop, Deputy Opposition Leader and the Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs represented the Opposition. over 15 Parliamentarians including former Speaker representing both sides of the House were also present.
Chief of Defence Force, Chief of Army, Chief of Navy, Chief of Air Force and two Ministerial Secretaries also attended in addition to many other officials. Attendance of over 35 Heads of Mission including USA, Russia, India, Pakistan, China, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Switzerland, Sweden, Ghana and Malta was significant.
Addressing the large gathering, the High Commissioner explained the efforts taken by the Government to achieve honourable peace in Sri Lanka and the vision of the leadership of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa to make Sri Lanka “The Wonder of Asia” while establishing sustainable peace with upliftment of its citizens.
Outlining the achievements since the defeat of terrorism, the High Commissioner did not fail to explain the challenges faced especially externally and emphasized the resilience of the government and its people to overcome such challenges, respecting democratic values and policy of non-alignment whilst engaging all countries and international organizations with transparency & true commitment.
High Commissioner also explained the strong bilateral relations with Australia and the recent positive achievements and friendly engagements.
Responding to the High Commissioner, Hon. Chris Bowen paid a glowing tribute to the excellent relations that he had with the High Commissioner in handling the human smuggling issues over the last one year, which has resulted in curbing human smuggling to Australia. The commitment of both Governments was highlighted explaining his experience during his visit to Sri Lanka in March 2012. He highlighted the large distinguished gathering as an endorsement of friendly and strong relationship that Sri Lanka maintains with Australia and all other countries.
A colourful two full page Independence Day supplement was published in “Canberra Times” newspaper depicting Australia-Sri Lanka recent engagements and Messages of His Excellency the President, Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Minister of External Affairs.
Consul Generals in Sydney and Melbourne along with Hony. Consuls in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Wellington, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji also conducted the Independence Day functions at their respective states/courtiers.
- Asian Tribune -