The Sri Lanka India Society (SLIS) celebrated India’s Independence Day and SLIS’s Platinum Jubilee on August 5, 2018 at a function held in Colombo.
High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu was the chief guest at the event. Hon. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake, Hon. Mayor of Colombo Ms. Rosy Senanayake, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasurya, President of SLIS Mr. T.S. Prakash and dignitaries from the industry and other fields were also present during the occasion.
SLIS was founded in 1949, soon after the independence of India and Sri Lanka. SLIS is the oldest and largest friendship society in Sri Lanka.
Delivering the keynote address, the High Commissioner noted that India was the 6th largest and fastest growing major economy in the world and highlighted that Sri Lanka’s location in the proximity of fastest growing economy could bring in substantial advantages. High Commissioner stressed that India – Sri Lanka relations should look towards the future. He highlighted that Sri Lankan youth could fulfill their aspirations and make them a part of India’s growth story.
Various people - oriented development projects undertaken by India in Sri Lanka, which had a direct impact on the lives of common people including the Indian Housing Project and the Emergency Ambulance Service - the nationwide expansion of which was recently launched, were highlighted. High Commissioner stressed that India had also done close to 70 people-oriented small development projects across all the Provinces of Sri Lanka. Around 20 such projects including construction of rainwater harvesting units, construction of toilets, upgradation and construction of schools such as the tri - lingual school in Polonnaruwa, and providing infrastructure facilities for Universities including a 1500 seats auditorium in Ruhuna University in Matara are currently underway.
High Commissioner emphasized that India's development partnership was not limited to one sector or area but encompassed a wide variety of sectors and was spread all across the island. He added that it was heartening to note that India had been able to fulfill our promises in a timely manner.
High Commissioner pointed out that as democracies who are mandated by the will of the people to fulfill their aspirations, India and Sri Lanka had the responsibility to make the developmental journey as smooth, fast and comfortable as possible. Not just the Governments on both sides, but the industry, academics, youth, and societies had an important role to play in shaping the future.
During the event, the past Presidents of the Sri Lanka India Society were felicitated. The event concluded with a musical performance by the Oriental Choir of Colombo and a fellowship dinner.