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* India hopes Sri Lanka take advantage of its 'Neighborhood First' policy
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 07:54 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 26, Colombo: The new High commissioner of India to Colombo, Taranjit Singh Sandhu said Sri Lanka continues to be a key part of India's "neighborhood first" policy.

Speaking at the 68th Republic Day of India celebrations in Colombo on Thursday, Sandhu expressed hope that Sri Lankan businesses will take advantage of their proximity to the fastest growing major economy in the world.

The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 68th Republic Day of India on Thursday at India House in Colombo. High Commissioner Sandhu unfurled the Indian flag and inspected a Guard of Honor 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 President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.

Highlighting India's achievement in social, political and economic fields in the last six and half decades, the High Commissioner said today, India is the fastest growing economy amongst the major economies of the world.

Congratulating the Government of Sri Lanka on completion of two years in office, the High Commissioner, who presented credentials to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday, added that India's total development assistance commitment to Sri Lanka is now around US$ 2.6 billion, with over US$ 435 million as outright grants.

Indian flagship housing project, aiming to construct 50,000 houses, is proceeding well with over 45,300 houses constructed till date.

High Commissioner cautioned against the threat posed by the dark forces of terrorism and stressed the necessity of defeating these forces decisively.

High Commissioner and officials of the High Commission paid their respects to the memory of fallen soldiers of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in a solemn ceremony at the IPKF memorial in Colombo.

To commemorate India's 68th Republic Day, famous Odissi dance group from India 'Rudrakshya' led by Guru Sri Bitchitrananda Swain performed a concert "Taal Taranga" on January 25, 2017 at the Bishop's College Auditorium, Colombo. Minister of National Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages Mano Ganesan was the Chief Guest at the function.

The Consulates General of India in Jaffna and Hambantota and the Assistant High Commission of India in Kandy also celebrated the 68th Republic Day by organizing flag hoisting ceremonies this morning.


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