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HC’s Republic Day 2020 Address: Telecast- Rupavahini

HC’s Republic Day 2020 Address: Telecast- Rupavahini

I extend my warm greetings to all of you on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day of India. I also take this opportunity to extend good wishes to the people of Sri Lanka, on the Independence Day celebrations of Sri Lanka, which is due in a few days from now.

2019 was a momentous year for both India and Sri Lanka. 2019 saw people of both countries asserting their commitment to democratic values by exercising their right of franchise. The substantial mandate received by the leaders also reflected the tremendous faith that the people have placed in the leaders in taking them towards a secure, stable, peaceful, and prosperous future.

India and Sri Lanka are neighbours by destiny, friends by choice and family by blood. In the next decade, as India emerges a 5 trillion Dollar economy, Sri Lanka would be a partner in this growth story. It will benefit immensely from the growth story unfolding next door, which will boost trade, investment and opportunities for Sri Lanka.

For us our relationship with Sri Lanka is not just important, it is special. It is for this reason, that Prime Minister Modi was the first world leader to visit Sri Lanka after the cowardly terrorist attack last year; it is for this reason that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited India on his first international tour; it is for this reason that Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena visited India in this new year, on his first overseas visit.


If someone asks me, what is at the heart of this special relationship, I would say: It is the people in both countries. People are at the heart of this special relationship.

I am proud to state that the largest grant project ever undertaken by India in any country abroad, is in Sri Lanka. The total number of houses committed by India in Sri Lanka stands at 63,000 of which 47000 are already completed and handed over. India’s second largest grant project in Sri Lanka, the 1990 Suwaseriya Ambulance Service is now available throughout the country. Last year, we also connected Jaffna internationally, after a gap of four decades, with regular flights now available between Chennai and Jaffna.

In the last decade, India and Sri Lanka have together completed nearly 70 people-oriented development projects across all Provinces of Sri Lanka, all under grant. 20 additional community development projects are ongoing in varied fields covering education, health, transportation, agriculture, fisheries, handicrafts and culture. These projects are spread across Sri Lanka from East to West and North to South. They are based on Sri Lanka’s own requirements and priorities.

During the recent visit of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to India, India has committed further assistance of 400 million US Dollars for development of Sri Lanka and 50 million US Dollars for security and counter terrorism in Sri Lanka.

While we are partners in growth, we also face common the biggest threats and challenges. We have to fight those who spread hate, who spread false ideologies, who turn innocent minds into weapons. As multicultural democracies, we have to constructively fight the threats that radicalization, and Jihadi terrorism pose to our societies.

We are standing at the cusp of a future which is challenging but promising in equal measure. On the occasion of the 71st Republic Day of India, I assure you that India will always stand with Sri Lanka. Together, we shall prosper and flourish, and meet all challenges head on.

Thank you..

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