Media Center

High Commissioner of India, H.E. Gopal Baglay's Message on the occasion of 74th Republic Day of India - Broadcast

High Commissioner’s Message        

My dear brothers and sisters from Sri Lanka, Namaskar, Ayubhowan, Vanakkam!

I convey my greetings to you all on the occasion of India’s 74th Republic Day. It was on 26th January 1950 that the Indian Constitution – world’s largest written Constitution – came into effect.

This year’s Republic Day celebrations are unique on multiple counts. India and Sri Lanka will jointly mark an important milestone in 2023 – establishment of 75 years of diplomatic relations. Governments of India and Sri Lanka will undertake a series of joint activities this year to mark this landmark occasion.

Sri Lanka celebrates the 75th Independence Day next week, on 4th February. I take this opportunity to wish all the people of Sri Lanka a Happy Independence Day in advance.

India has been demonstrating its commitment to the people of Sri Lanka in different ways. I will cite two recent examples. India is the only creditor nation of Sri Lanka to have conveyed written financing assurance to IMF in order to clear the way for Sri Lanka and enable the IMF programme.

India’s unprecedented support of around US$ 4 billion in 2022. Supply of food, fuel, fertiliser and medicine from India under this Indian assistance have benefitted all sections of the Sri Lankan society.  Under India’s Lines of Credit, supply of buses and SUVs, railway projects continue because these supplies help our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters.

Friends, as we move forward, India will continue to do everything possible to help Sri Lanka’s economic recovery.  As the fifth largest economy in the world and an ever reliable partner of Sri Lanka, India will work towards channelizing more investments in important sectors, which promise employment and boost economic activities in the country. Areas like infrastructure, health, renewable energy, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals shall receive focused attention.

While we await figures for calendar year 2022, India was also the largest source of investments for Sri Lanka in 2021.

 The use of Indian Rupee in bilateral trade will act as a catalyst in the commercial and business arena. 

Friends, Sri Lanka’s exports to India grew by 15% during the six-month period of April to September 2022. With over 100,000 tourists in 2022, India continues to be largest source of tourists for Sri Lanka. Around one in every five to six tourists in Sri Lanka is an Indian.  Stronger and closer interaction between the people will pave way for deeper linkages between the two countries. Connectivity is a force multiplier in this context. I am glad that Chennai-Jaffna flights have recommenced recently. Resumption of ferry services would be a welcome development. 

          India has recently doubled the scale of grant projects for SLR 300 million to SLR 600 million.    Our commitment to roll out unique digital identity cards is a testimony to the dynamic and evolving nature of development cooperation.

India also augments the inland and maritime security landscape by providing state-of-the art equipment. Dornier for maritime surveillance and SUVs for Sri Lanka police are outstanding examples.

Friends, multi-dimensional nature of the bilateral relationship is built on the robust foundation of millennia-old connect between the people of India and Sri Lanka. We are ‘civilizational twins’. 

Dear brothers and sisters, as both countries prepare themselves individually as well as jointly for celebrating different landmarks, I am confident that the content and extent of this relationship will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Thank you. Ayubowan. Vanakkam. Dhyanavad.