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High Commission marks 69th Republic Day of India in Colombo


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The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 69th Republic Day of India on Friday, 26 January, at India House in Colombo. High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu unfurled the Indian flag and inspected a Guard of Honour presented by a contingent of the Border Security Force. He read out excerpts from the Address to the Nation on the eve of the Republic Day by President of India, Ram Nath Kovind

The President of India recalled with gratitude, the sacrifices made by millions of freedom fighters in obtaining Independence and creating the Republic of India. President’s address complimented the contribution of various sections of people including soldiers, farmers, mothers, doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, teachers, scientists, missile technologists, engineers, senior citizens, youth, children and many more, to the Republic in diverse ways.  

The ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – of the World being One Family and the principles of compassion, of assisting those in need, of building capacities of our neighbors are the principles that underpin Indian society - the very principles India brings to the International Community. President further urged all to renew the sense of selflessness, determination and commitment to craft a modern India that is both a land of talent- and a land of unlimited opportunities for that talent.

High Commissioner congratulated the Government of Sri Lanka on completion of three years in office. Recalling that both India and Sri Lanka celebrate 70 years of independence, he highlighted the special place Sri Lanka has in the hearts of Indian people. He recalled the exceptional high level bilateral visits including the landmark visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2017. 

He further enumerated some of the many achievements in the last year including the expansion of Indian assisted 1990 Emergency Ambulance Service nationwide, completion of nearly 46,000 houses in the north and east and ongoing construction of 14,000 houses in the plantation sector, fresh infrastructure assistance of $ 318 million for development of Sri Lanka Railways and US$ 45 million for renovation of Kankesanthurai Harbor among others. He added that India’s total development assistance to Sri Lanka stood at $ 2.76 billion, with over $ 545 million as outright grants.

High Commissioner and officials of the High Commission paid their respects to the fallen soldiers of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in a solemn ceremony at the IPKF memorial in Colombo.

To commemorate India´s 69th Republic Day a special cultural event “Bollywood and Beyond” was organised at BMICH, Colombo on 17 January. The event featured an enthralling performance by Indian violin wizard Dr. L. Subramaniam and renowned Indian singer Kavita Krishnamurthy accompanied by other eminent musicians. President Maithripala Sirisena, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, a number of Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior officials and diplomats were among the dignitaries who participated in the event. The Consulates General of India in Jaffna and Hambantota and the Assistant High Commission of India in Kandy also celebrated the 69th Republic Day by organising flag hoisting ceremonies yesterday.

- Pix by Gitika Talukdar


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