The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, His Excellency Santosh Jha, delivered a poignant speech at the evening reception hosted by India House to commemorate the 75th Republic Day of India on 26 January 2024.

In his address, High Commissioner Jha expressed gratitude to the distinguished guests for joining in the celebration, emphasizing their presence as a testament to the robust bonds of friendship, partnership, and cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

Highlighting the significance of Republic Day, Jha commemorated the enactment of the Indian Constitution in 1950, marking India’s transition to a republic and celebrating its vibrant democracy, which empowers millions of citizens.

Jha outlined India’s remarkable economic journey, citing its rapid ascent as the fastest-growing major economy globally and its projected rise to the third-largest economy by 2027-2028. He underscored Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to transform India into a developed nation by 2047, emphasizing the collective efforts needed to realize this goal.

The High Commissioner elaborated on India’s pioneering initiatives, particularly the Unique Digital Identity Number (Aadhar), which has facilitated efficient governance and empowered millions of underprivileged citizens. He cited examples of Aadhar’s role in delivering welfare schemes and driving digital financial transactions, positioning India as a global leader in digital innovation.

Jha also highlighted India’s strides in infrastructure development, renewable energy, and foreign policy, underscoring its commitment to regional cooperation and partnerships. He reaffirmed India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy and emphasized the strategic importance of the India-Sri Lanka partnership.

The Vision document adopted in July 2023, aimed at strengthening economic ties and connectivity between the two nations, was highlighted by Jha. He mentioned initiatives such as daily flights between Jaffna and Chennai, ferry services, and energy projects designed to enhance Sri Lanka’s economic development.

Emphasizing India’s role as Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner and investor, Jha reiterated India’s commitment to supporting Sri Lanka’s development priorities, including infrastructure, healthcare, education, and digital initiatives.

In conclusion, the High Commissioner reiterated the inseparable bond between India and Sri Lanka, envisioning a prosperous future for both nations. He expressed readiness to further deepen and strengthen bilateral ties, seeking continued support and cooperation from all stakeholders.

The evening reception concluded with a resounding call for collaboration and mutual prosperity, symbolizing the enduring friendship between India and Sri Lanka.

The speech by High Commissioner Santosh Jha resonated with attendees, reaffirming the shared values and aspirations that underpin the longstanding partnership between India and Sri Lanka.