Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed the Indian-origin Tamil community at Norwood Grounds in Dickoya and assured them that India will support their endeavours towards peace and prosperity, the Indian Express reported.
“The Government and people of India are with you in your journey towards peace and greater prosperity,” he said. Earlier in the day, he inaugurated a Rs 150 crore super-speciality hospital in Dickoya town that was built with Indian assistance. Dickoya is a subdistrict of Dimbula, one of the six primarily tea-growing regions in Sri Lanka.
Modi congratulated the Tamil community for their hard work and said that Sri Lanka has benefitted from it.” If Sri Lanka today is third largest exporter of tea, it’s because of your hard work,” Modi said. “People all over the world are familiar with famous Ceylon Tea that originates in this fertile land,” he further added.
Calling for celebrations over the diversity between Sinhalese-speaking population and Tamil-speaking people, Modi said, “Diversity calls for celebration and not confrontation. Sinhala and Tamil people and languages existed harmoniously.” He also said that Sinhalese language should be a matter of “pride” for the people. “You speak one of the oldest-surviving classical languages in the world. It is a matter of pride that many of you also speak Sinhala,” Modi said.
Stressing the need for strengthening “threads of unity and harmony” between Indian and the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, the prime minister said, “We remember your forefathers. Men and women of strong will and courage who undertook the journey of their life from India to then Ceylon.” He also praised some of the original inhabitants of the community. “A great icon of India, MGR was born in this soil establishing a lifelong connection. You produced one of the finest spinners in the world, Muttiah Muralitharan.”
The Prime Minister also said that he is aware of the steps taken by Sri Lankan government for the development of the community. “Sri Lankan Government is taking active steps to improve your life which includes a Five-year Action plan. India will fully support their effort in this direction,” he said. “We will continue to work tirelessly for your socio-economic development in all possible ways.”
Talking about the bilateral deals between the two nations, Modi said, “We have decided to extend 1990 Emergency Ambulance Service, currently operating in Western & Southern Provinces, to all other Provinces.”
“Under Indian housing project in Sri Lanka, 4000 houses being constructed in up country areas, happy to announce an additional 10,000 houses,” he added. (Colombo Gazette)