India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Y.K. Sinha said that Sri Lanka continues to be a key part of India’s “neighbourhood first” policy.
The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 67th Republic Day of India today at India House in Colombo.
High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha 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 the Hon´ble President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
Later speaking about the state of India-Sri Lanka relations, the High Commissioner highlighted that the previous year has been quite transformative for India-Sri Lanka relations and congratulated the Government of Sri Lanka on completion of one year in office.
He noted that four high level bilateral visits within 90 days of the formation of a new government in Sri Lanka last year heralded a new chapter in our relations . The momentum of these relations will be maintained by the forthcoming visit of External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, to Sri Lanka for the Joint Commission Meeting.
The High Commissioner stated that Sri Lanka continues to be a key part of India’s “neighbourhood first” policy and a important element in strengthening bilateral ties with Sri Lanka will be deepening economic and commercial relations. He expressed the hope that Sri Lankan businesses will take advantage of their proximity to the fastest growing major economy in the world. He also referred to the proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, during his visit to India in September 2015 to conclude a bilateral Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement.
The High Commissioner also noted the increasing air connectivity between the two countries, and the growing tourist arrivals from India in Sri Lanka. He recalled that, in pursuance of the announcement made by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during his visit to Sri Lanka, the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme has been extended to Sri Lankan nationals from April 14, 2015, and eTV fee for Sri Lankan nationals was subsequently reduced. (Colombo Gazette)