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Commemorating the 75th anniversary of Indian independence, the President of the Sri Lanka India Society (SLIS), Mr. Kishore Reddy, was honoured with the presence of the President of Sri Lanka: Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the First Lady Mrs. Maitri Wickremesinghe, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka His Excellency Gopal Baglay and Mrs. Bina Baglay, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Hon. Ali Sabry and Mrs. Sarah Sabry and many other dignitaries to celebrate a night of friendship.
Established in 1949, the Sri Lanka India Society is one of the oldest and largest friendship societies in Sri Lanka and to date are two great nations that continue their deep-rooted, centuries-old ties. From being part of the Commonwealth to sharing similar sentiments on religion and cultural norms, the Indo – Lanka relationship has been multi-faceted, unwavering and time-tested. Since gaining independence just six months apart, over the years the neighbours have strengthened their relationship in the region whilst the benefits of its synergies have touched the lives of many. And recently a dinner was held to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Indian independence from the British during which President Ranil Wickremesinghe was presented with the ‘Param Rakshak’, a token of appreciation by the SLIS. The token of appreciation was a masterpiece sculptured by the visual artist Dananjaya Edirisinghe, a former employee of Fairfirst Insurance, which symbolised the formation of the most powerful relationship and protection surrounding India and Sri Lanka.
The bond between the two nations and the 75th anniversary of Indian independence was organised as an evening of friendship by the SLIS, held at Taj Samudra Grand Marquee on the 15th of September along with the support of the event’s cosponsors: LIC Lanka, Lanka IOC, Niru (Diamond Cutters) and Fairfirst Insurance.
In his address to the attendees, President Ranil Wickremesinghe looked back on the different forms of diplomatic relationships the two countries had in the past and how they influenced each other for its betterment. He highlighted democracy and trade as two modern aspects that bind the two countries together. In addition, he shared that steps would be taken to revive and upgrade the Indo – Lanka Free Trade Agreement in order to boost trade ties between the countries. The President did not forget to express his appreciation toward Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India’s donation of Rs. 2 billion that will be utilised to create new pathways for Buddhist Relations between the nations.
The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, His Excellency Gopal Baglay, stated, “The strength of the relationship between India and Sri Lanka lies in their people-to-people ties. The closeness of history, the closeness of geography, our proximity, the shared heritage, the shared history: there is so much that binds us. And it is just not a historical coincidence that when India woke up to the dawn of independence in 1947, Sri Lanka was not to be left far behind.” He also spoke of the upcoming anniversary that celebrates 75 years of Indo – Lanka diplomatic relations as two independent countries with aspirations to take commemorative measures for the occasion.
President of the Sri Lanka India Society, Mr. Kishore Reddy when speaking about the relationship between the nations in contemporary regard said, “Trade and investment have grown and there is cooperation in the fields of development, education, culture and defence. Both countries share a broad understanding of major issues of international interest. As a friendship society, we are very happy and equally proud of India’s assistance to Sri Lanka at a time of need and this truly resonates with the phrase “a friend in need is a friend indeed”.” He concluded his speech with a toast saying, “We wish Sri Lanka and India peace and prosperity, today and in the future, and to the enduring friendship and partnership between both countries.”
Picture Caption: Sri Lanka India Society hosts dinner and invites the President of Sri Lanka: Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe to commemorate 75 years of Indian Independence