India's 69th Republic Day celebrated

High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu inspecting a Guard of Honour presented by a contingent of the Border Security Force after unfurling the Indian National flag. Pictures by Sarath Peiris

The Indian High Commission and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 69th Republic Day of India yesterday 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.

The 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 46000 houses in the North and East and ongoing construction of 14000 houses in the plantation sector, fresh infrastructure assistance of US$ 318 million for development of Sri Lanka Railways and US$ 45 million for renovation of Kangesanturai Harbor among others. He added that India’s total development assistance to Sri Lanka stood at US$ 2.76 billion, with over US$545 million as outright grants. 

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