The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Y. K. Sinha said that the motivated and mischievous campaign of disinformation against the agreement needs to be countered by genuine debate and discussion among stakeholders in Sri Lanka.
The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 70th Independence Day of India today at India House in Colombo.
Speaking here the High Commissioner noted that the past year has been particularly transformative and has witnessed many dynamic developments in the strong, friendly and time-tested bilateral relations.
The High Commissioner noted that economic ties are at the core of India’s renewed engagement with the world.
“With a strong demographic dividend, a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and a large domestic market, the time is right for India’s economy to soar. As the Indian nation moves forward, it invites its neighbours to be part of a collective growth story, especially its close neighbor Sri Lanka. India hopes that Sri Lankan businesses will take advantage of their proximity to India,” he said.
On development cooperation with Sri Lanka, High Commissioner highlighted that India has committed over US$ 2.6 billion in development assistance to Sri Lanka, with over US$ 435 million in outright grants. The flagship housing project being funded by India is progressing at an impressive speed with over 45,000 houses constructed till date. The third phase, to construct 4,000 houses in the Central and Uva Provinces through an innovative community-driven approach, was launched in the last week of April 2016.
The High Commissioner also referred to the innovative Emergency Ambulance Service, funded by Government of India, which was flagged off by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last month. Being launched, in the first instance, in Southern and Western provinces of Sri Lanka, under an Indian grant assistance of US$ 7.55 million, this service is being provided to patients free of charge.
He also spoke about the close people-to-people contact between India and Sri Lanka, which is epitomized by huge tourist exchanges. Connectivity between both countries is already exceptional and discussions are under way to develop Palaly airport as a regional hub. (Colombo Gazette)