President Maithripala Sirisena and the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, Y. K. Sinha inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi International Centre in Matale today.
In his remarks, President Sirisena, while thanking the Government of India for funding the Mahatma Gandhi International Centre in Matale, and for various projects in different parts of the Sri Lanka, highlighted the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi to humanity and the continuing relevance of his principles and philosophy to mankind.
The President spoke at length about the strong and abiding links between Sri Lanka and India and the people of both countries, based on centuries of spiritual, cultural, linguistic and economic interaction. He referred to the shared religious links between the two countries, with both Buddhism and Hinduism coming to Sri Lanka from India.
Speaking at the ceremony, the High Commissioner of India thanked the President and other dignitaries for sparing their invaluable time to attend the inauguration ceremony. The presence of President Sirisena was a manifestation of the reverence and esteem in which Mahatma Gandhi is held by the Government and people of Sri Lanka.
The Mahatma Gandhi International Centre, which was built at a cost of SLR 88.6 million, was funded under the Government of India’s Development Cooperation Partnership with Sri Lanka. He indicated that the overall assistance of Government of India to Sri Lanka amounts to USD 2.6 billion, out of which USD 436 million is through full grant assistance.
The High Commissioner highlighted a number of projects undertaken by the Government of India, including the flagship Indian housing project, under which more than 39,500 out of a total of 50,000 houses have been completed. He conveyed his best wishes to the Mahatma Gandhi Sabha and the people of Matale on the inauguration of the Mahatma Gandhi International Centre in Matale.
The Urban Development Authority of Government of Sri Lanka was the consultant for the project. The Mahatma Gandhi International Centre consists of an auditorium, library, meditation centre and a conference hall. The Centre provides a platform to reinforce the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, promote harmony among different communities and to enrich the lives of people through meditation and yoga. It can also be used as a resource centre for cultural activities and for the youth to enhance their knowledge in various fields through seminars, workshops and conferences. (Colombo Gazette)