In the morning of June 21, 2023, High Commission of India and Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), the cultural arm of the High Commission, organised a yoga event at the Port of Colombo to celebrate the 9th International Day of Yoga (IDY). The event was organised onboard and alongside the visiting Indian Naval Submarine Vagir, connecting Colombo to the Global Ocean Ring – a unique initiative of IDY 2023 wherein 19 Indian Navy ships were deployed the world over to commemorate Yoga Day.

High Commissioner of India, H.E. Gopal Baglay and senior officials from the Government of Sri Lanka including Gen Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), Secretary of Defence, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, Commander of Sri Lanka Navy and Rear Admiral PS De Silva, Commander Western Naval Area joined Sri Lanka Navy personnel, the crew of INS Vagir, and officials and staff of the High Commission for the programme. 

High Commissioner in his remarks, underlined the transformative power of Yoga – a shared heritage of India and Sri Lanka. He noted that High Commission and SVCC had organised nearly 100 yoga events across the country over the last 50 days with the unstinted support and enthusiasm of the yoga institutions and enthusiasts in Sri Lanka. He emphasised that the visit of INS Vagir undertaken to commemorate IDY 2023 brought the message of goodwill, friendship and camaraderie to the shores of Sri Lanka.

The visit of INS Vagir was the first foreign port call of this recently commissioned indigenous Kalvari-class submarine of the Indian Navy. During its stay in Colombo from 19-22 June 2023, thousands of people including school children, scouts, guides, members of the NCC as well as officers from Sri Lanka Navy and their family members visited the submarine and had the rare opportunity to get onboard. As an outreach initiative, the crew of INS Vagir also interacted with Colombo-based school children and presented essential items for some of these schools. The visit fostered brotherhood and togetherness between the Navies of the two neighbours in line with India’s policy of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and vision of ‘Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)’.