The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 63rd Republic Day of India on 26 January at India House in Colombo. High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha unfurled the National Flag and inspected a Guard of Honour presented by the BSF contingent. He also read out significant excerpts from the Address to the Nation on the eve of Republic Day by the President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil.
Dwelling on the importance of cultural cooperation and people-to-people links, he pointed out that India had just announced a three-fold increase in scholarship schemes for Sri Lanka, involving a grant of Rs. 2.5 billion. Indian Railways will be launching a special train named ‘Damba Diwa Vandana’ to take Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims from Chennai to all the major Buddhist sites in India. The High Commissioner also announced the launch of the High Commission’s Facebook page to provide an interactive platform for its various activities.
A brief cultural programme organised by the Indian Cultural Centre followed. Its highlights were singing of patriotic songs and Kathak 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
– Pix by Daminda Harsha Perera