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JANUARY - MARCH 2013

Newsletter of the High Commission of India, Colombo


C O N T E N T S VISITS

H.E. Mr Ashok K. Kantha laid wreath at IPKF Memorial, Jaffna

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Visit of President of the Russian Federation to India

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Visit of President of Nepal to India

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H.E. Mr Ashok K. Kantha, Indian High Commissioner attends the annual feast of St. Antony´s church at Kachchativu

Visit of President of Republic of Mauritius to India

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Signing of Contract Documents for Revival of Atchchuvely Industrial Estate in Jaffna

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Visit of Prime Minister of Bhutan to India

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Visit of President of France to India

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Transfer of eligible sentenced Indian nationals, serving prison terms in Sri Lanka, to India

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Visit of Prime Minister of UK to India

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Visit of President of India to Bangladesh

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Inauguration of Indian Education Fair by Hon. S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education

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Visit of President of India to Mauritius

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Visit of President of Egypt to India

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India announces successful completion of distribution of 10,000 bicycles to IDPs of Northern Province

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Prime Minister's visit to South Africa for fifth BRICS Summit

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Indian housing project gains momentum

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Felicitation of Dr. Vajira Chitrasena by the High Commission of India

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Intervention by India in the United Nations Human Rights Council under Agenda Item: 2 on the Resolution on Promoting Reconcilation and Accountability in Sri Lanka

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High Commissioner meets Ven. Senior Monks of the Mahasangha

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64TH REPUBLIC DAY OF INDIA 64th Republic Day of India celebrations in Sri Lanka Message on the occasion of India´s 64th Republic Day from H.E. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India

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Remarks by H.E. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India, at Republic Day Reception India House

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64th Republic Day celebrations at CGI, Jaffna

Launch of OIYC (Overseas Indian Youth Club), Colombo Chapter

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64th Republic Day celebrations at CGI, Hambantota

Visit of High Commissioner of India to Helboda, NuwaraEliya district

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CULTURE

64th Republic Day celebrations at AHC, Kandy

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Kalarippayattu performance on the occasion of 64th Republic Day

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Dinner hosted by Sri Lanka India Society to celebrate 64th Republic Day

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BILATERAL BEAT 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Swami Vivekananda in Sri Lanka

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India to set up nine language labs in the nine provinces of Sri Lanka

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India-Partner country in the 4th Jaffna International Trade Fair

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Eighth India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission Meeting

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Remarks by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid after the conclusion of the India - Sri Lanka Joint Commission Meeting 19 Joint Celebration of the 'Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Day (ITEC Day)' and the 'International Students Day'

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High Commissioner of India visits Killinochchi & Vavuniya District Hospital and India Housing project, Phase-II at the Malayalapuram village

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Inauguration of ´India Corner´ in Jaffna

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COVER PAGE :

World Hindi Day Celebrations

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“Brunthagaanam" - A Cultural Evening

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Thyagaraja Aradhana

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Children’s Festival

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Geet Madhuri 2013

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Bharatha Natyam Dance Recital by Sahana Balasubramanya 35 Bharatanatyam by Ganna Smirnova and Oxana

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India-Sri Lanka Foundation supports participation of “Beat Drummers” group from Sri Lanka in the World Percussion Festival, 2013, New Delhi

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Ragamalika - Music Concert by Kavalam Sreekumar

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Gift of books on Buddhism to University of Colombo

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Book launch on Cinema Linkages with the support of ISLF

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"Drishya Sandhya" by Santiniketan Friends

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Events in pics

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Felicitation of Dr. Vajira Chitrasena by the High Commission of India

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Felicitation of Dr. Vajira Chitrasena by the High Commission of India

64TH REPUBLIC DAY OF

INDIA

High Commission of India No. 36 -38, Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka Tel: +94-11 2327587, +94-11 2422788-9 Fax: +94-11-2446403, +94-11 2448166 E-mail: cpiccolombo@gmail.com website: www.hcicolombo.org facebook: www.facebook.com/hcicolombo Assistant High Commission of India No. 31, Rajapihilla Mawatha, PO Box 47, Kandy, Sri Lanka Tel: +94 81 2222652 Fax: +94 81 2232479 E-mail: ahc.kandy@mea.gov.in Consulate General of India No. 103, New Road, Hambantota, Sri Lanka Tel: +94-47 2222500, +94-47 2222503 Fax: +94-47 2222501 E-mail: cg.hambantota@mea.gov.in Consulate General of India No. 14, Maruthady Lane, Jaffna, Sri Lanka Tel: +94-21 2220502, +94-21 2220504, +94-21 2220505 Fax: +94-21 2220503 E-mail: cg.jaffna@mea.gov.in


JANUARY - MARCH 2013

VISITS

Visit of President of the Russian Federation to India H.E. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to New Delhi on December 24 for the 13th annual bilateral summit, during which the two countries inked a host of important bilateral agreements. President Putin, who took over as President for the third time in May 2012, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reviewed the entire gamut of India-Russia bilateral relations and also laid down a broad agenda to be followed for the year 2013 It was the 13th annual summit between the two countries, a mechanism set up in 2000, which has since witnessed a steady growth in bilateral relations in the political, strategic and economic spheres. 2013 is being celebrated as the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. H.E. Putin as President earlier came for summit meetings in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2007. He had last visited India in March 2010 as Prime Minister of Russia on a working visit. Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Moscow in December 2011 for the 12th annual summit. The 13th summit marked the culmination of a series of high level

exchanges between the two countries during 2012. Then President Dmitry Medvedev visited New Delhi in March 2012 for the 4th BRICS Summit. Then External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visited Moscow in April 2012 on the eve of the 65th anniversary celebrations and also attended the 11th Russia-India-China Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting, the statement said. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin visited New Delhi in July 2012 and in October 2012, the latter occasion for the 18th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission meeting. The 12th Defence Minister-level Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Technical Cooperation was held in New Delhi in October 2012. India and Russia share a multi-dimensional strategic partnership which spans traditional strategic sectors like defence, nuclear and energy and is increasingly being augmented by cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, science and technology, culture and tourism and people-topeople contacts. The countries also share close political coordination on various regional and international issues at major global forums.

Visit of President of Nepal to India During the visit President Dr. Yadav attended the closing function on the 150th Anniversary celebration of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya at the Banaras Hindu University on 25 December, 2012 and received an Honorary Doctorate from the University. President Dr. Yadav met with the President on December 26, 2012 and held delegation level talks with the Prime Minister on the same day. External Affairs Minister also called on the President of Nepal. India and Nepal enjoy a special and unique relationship rooted in shared heritage, civilization, culture and extensive people-topeople relations across an open border. It has always been India’s endeavour to support peace, stability and prosperity in Nepal. In this context, India is committed to continue its institutionalised cooperation and development assistance to Nepal. At the invitation of the President of India, the The visit was in line with the tradition of high-level political exchange President of Nepal H. E. Dr. Ram Baran Yadav paid between India and Nepal. President Dr. Yadav had been on official an official visit to India from 24-29 December, visit to India in January/February 2011. 2012. 03


JANUARY - MARCH 2013

Visit of President of Republic of Mauritius to India H.E. Mr. Rajkeswur Purryag, President of Republic of Mauritius paid a State Visit to India from 3rd to 10th January, 2013. He was accompanied by Mrs. Aneetah Purryag, and the Ministers of Arts & Culture and of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, and senior officials. President Purryag was the Chief Guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2013 on 8-9 January and was honoured with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award.

In New Delhi, on 4 January 2013, President Purryag met the President and held talks with the Prime Minister. Vice President, Speaker of Lok Sabha and the Minister of External Affairs were called on President Purryag on that day. President Purryag visited Patna, Tirupati and Kochi during his State Visit. In Bihar, he also visited his ancestral village, Bojeetpore near Patna.

Visit of Prime Minister of Bhutan to India Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigmi Y. Thinley visited India from February 7-9, 2013. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, Minister incharge of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Economic Affairs and Foreign Secretary Yeshey Dorji and other officials from the Royal Government of Bhutan. While in India, the Prime Minister of Bhutan called on the President of India and the Vice-President of India. He met with the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Foreign Secretary.

Visit of President of France to India President of France, H. E. France Francois Hollande paid a state visit to India on Feb 14-15 at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was accompanied by Hollande's partner Valerie Trierweiler, a high-level delegation including several key Ministers of his Cabinet, senior officials, businesspersons and media. The French President arrived in New Delhi on the morning of Feb 14. and was presented a Guard of Honour at the Rashtrapati Bhavan . Afterwards, he visited Raj Ghat to pay homage to the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. He held delegation level talks with Indian Prime Minister. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid , United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and 04

the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj were called on him. On Feb 15, the French President delivered a lecture in the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti House, following which, Hollande honouredProfessor Amartya Sen with Commandeur de la legion d'Honneur. Thereafter, the French President visited Mumbai, where had a meeting with the Governor of Maharashtra, K Sankaranarayanan, and participate in a Business Conference. Relations between India and France have been laid on strong historical foundations and shared values. With upgradation of the relationship to strategic partnership in 1998, the relationship has become multifaceted and symbiotic in areas such as defense, civil nuclear energy,


JANUARY - MARCH 2013

space and counter terrorism. There have been regular high-level exchanges at the Head of State/Head of Government levels. Most recently, External Affairs Minister had visited France to have talks with his counterpart, the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Laurent Fabius, in January 2013. Today our relations are growing fast in all sectors of

contemporary relevance with wide ranging contacts in economic, industrial and commercial spheres. There is also increased interaction in the fields of education, science and technology, culture and lifestyle industries services. France has consistently supported India's growing role in the international fora and the two countries have regular consultations on global and regional issues of importance.

Visit of Prime Minister of UK to India His Excellency, Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister (PM) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, paid an official visit to India on February 18-20, 2013. PM Cameron was accompanied by a delegation including CEOs of leading business houses, Vice Chancellors of reputed universities, dignitaries and senior officials. In New Delhi, PM Cameron held delegation level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 19 February, 2013 at Hyderabad House. On the same day he called on the Hon’ble President. PM Cameron visited Mumbai on 18 February, 2013and had a Business Interaction and wreath laying at the Police Memorial, amongst other engagements

PM Cameron accompanied by a large official business delegation last visited India in July 2010. India's multifaceted bilateral relationship with the UK intensified with its upgradation to a Strategic Partnership in 2004. UK continues to be among India's major trade partners. The two-way merchandize trade during 2011-12 rose to US$ 16.157 billion, up 27% from US$ 12.56 billion in 2010-11. UK cumulative equity investments in India are US$ 17.08 billion (October 2012). About 700 Indian companies have operations in UK with over 70 of them listed on the London Stock Exchange. UK supports India's permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council and is an important interlocutor for India in the EU, G8, G20 and the global context.

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JANUARY - MARCH 2013

Visit of President of India to Bangladesh President of India paid a State visit to Bangladesh from March 3-5, 2013 at the invitation of the Government of Bangladesh. This was President’s first visit abroad after his assumption of the office of President.

H e re c e i v e d a n H o n o ra r y Doctorate of Law from the University of Dhaka at a formal Convocation Ceremony. He attended a Reception to meet members of the Indian community in Bangladesh.

During the visit, President Mukherjee called on the President of Bangladesh Mr. Md. Zillur Rahman, and received the Bangladesh Liberation War Honour Award. The President also met Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina. The Leader of the Opposition and the Chairperson of BNP, the Foreign Minister and the Finance Minister of Bangladesh also called on President Mukherjee.

He also traveled out of Dhaka to Bhadrabila in Narail District, Shilaidaha in Kushtia District and Mirzapur. India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Bangladesh and seeks a deeper and stronger partnership. The visit of the President provided an opportunity to take bilateral relations to new heights.

Visit of President of India to Mauritius The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee paid a state visit to Mauritius from March 11 - 14. The President was received at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport by the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam. The President was also given a Ceremonial Guard of Honour at the airport soon after his arrival. The President and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, H.E. Dr. Naveenchandra Ramgoolam and their delegations held delegation level talks at Port Louis in Mauritius on March 12, 2013. Memorandum of Understanding(MoUs) between the India and Mauritius signed three bilateral agreements at Port Louis in Mauritius on this day. The Agreements were:Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) between the Ministry of Social Justice And Empowerment of The Republic of India and the Ministry of Social Security, National

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Solidarity and Reform Institutions of the Republic of Mauritius in the Field of Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens. Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) between the Republic of India and the Republic of Mauritius on Cooperation in the Field of Health and Medicine. Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) between the Republic of India and the Republic of Mauritius on Cooperation in the Field of Tourism.

The President of Republic of Mauritius, H.E. Mr. Rajkeswur Purryag GCSK, GOSK hosted a luncheon in honour of the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Port Louis in Mauritius on March 12, 2013 on the second day of his three day State Visit. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, H.E. Dr. Naveenchandra Ramgoolam GCSK, FRCP was also present on the occasion.


JANUARY - MARCH 2013

Visit of President of Egypt to India President of Egypt Dr. Mohamed Morsy paid a State Visit to India from March 18-20, 2013. He was accompanied by senior Ministers and a large business delegation on what was his first official visit to India. President Morsy held delegation level talks with the Prime Minister on March 19, 2013. Vice President, External Affairs Minister, the leader of Opposition and UPA Chairperson called on the President. Later in the day President of India hosted a banquet in his honor. During his visit, President Morsy also

addressed a

business event organized by the apex chambers of commerce of India. Bilateral trade has increased significantly in the recent years in spite of the political transition and currently stands at US$ 5.5 billion. India is Egypt's 7th largest trading partner and second largest source of its exports. More than 50 Indian companies have a presence in Egypt in various sectors and the cumulative Indian investments in Egypt is more than US$ 2.5 billion. Both countries are keen to further deepen and diversify the growing bilateral engagement during the President's visit.

Prime Minister's visit to South Africa for fifth BRICS Summit I also take this opportunity to thank the local government and the people of Durban for their welcome. India has a special affinity for this city as it was Durban that first welcomed the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, when he arrived in South Africa nearly 120 years ago in May 1893.

The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Durban, South Africa for the 5^th BRICS Summit which took place from 25^th March to 28^th March 2013. Following is the Prime Minister’s Statement to the Media after the Plenary Session of the 5th BRICS Summit on 27 March 2013 in Durban : I would like to thank His Excellency President Jacob Zuma and the people of South Africa for the warm hospitality and for the excellent arrangements made for Fifth BRICS Summit.

The BRICS platform has evolved tremendously since the First Summit at Yekaterinburg in 2009. Our agenda now encompasses diverse areas, including global economic developments, peace and security, reforms of political and economic institutions of global governance, international trade, sustainable development and food and energy security. We have just concluded very fruitful discussions on many of these issues. As Chair of BRICS during the last year, India’s focus was on consolidating intra-BRICS cooperation, as well as highlighting the capacity of BRICS to contribute meaningfully in addressing global challenges. I am happy that with the support of our BRICS partners, we were able to implement the ambitious Action Plan adopted at the New Delhi Summit in 2012.

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It gives me great satisfaction to note that one of the ideas that we first discussed at New Delhi, that of instituting a mechanism to recycle surplus savings into infrastructure investments in developing countries, has been given a concrete shape during the Durban Summit. Our Finance Ministers will now work to develop the details of this project. Our discussions today demonstrated the similarity of our perspectives on many global issues, such as the situation in West Asia and efforts to rekindle global economic growth. A number of substantial outcomes, such as the launch of the BRICS Business Council and the Consortium of Think Tanks, as well as the enabling

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agreements between our Development Banks to enhance financing of projects in Africa and for sustainable development, signify the promise of intraBRICS cooperation.This being the first BRICS Summit on African soil, it is only appropriate that it includes a special BRICS – Africa event and I look forward keenly to our interaction with African leaders later today. I once again thank President Zuma for hosting this Summit, and for admirably guiding it towards a very successful outcome. I also extend my best wishes to him as he takes over the Chairmanship of BRICS. Thank you.


JANUARY - MARCH 2013

64TH REPUBLIC DAY OF INDIA

64th Republic Day of India celebrations in Sri Lanka The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 64th Republic Day of India on Saturday, 26 January, 2013 at India House in Colombo. The High Commissioner H.E. Ashok K. Kantha unfurled the National Flag and inspected a Guard of Honour presented by the BSF contingent. He read out significant excerpts from the Address to the Nation on the eve of the Republic Day by the Hon´ble President of India Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. The High Commissioner noted that the President of India had highlighted that India has changed more in last six decades than in six previous centuries and the foundations were laid through our Constitution, which represented a second liberation from the stranglehold of traditional inequity in gender, caste, community, etc. In the last six decades, India´ economic growth has more than tripled, literacy rate has increased by over four times, there has been significant reduction in poverty, India is now net exporter of foodgrains and there has been a drive towards g e n d e r e q u a l i t y. H e s a i d t h a t t h e President´smessage underlined that India´s most i m p re g n a b l e asset is selfbelief and each challenge becomes

an opportunity to strengthen our resolve to achieve unprecedented economic growth and social stability. Speaking about the state of India-Sri Lanka relations, High Commissioner highlighted that it is a very special relationship based both on shared heritage and shared interests. He noted that the last year witnessed dynamic developments in our strong, friendly and timetested relations with Sri Lanka. Referring to recently held 8th meeting of the Joint Commission co-chaired by the Ministers of External Affairs of the two countries, He said that it took stock of the entire gamut of our relationship and agreed on many new i n i t i a t i v e s . H e u n d e r l i n e d t h e s t ro n g commitment on both sides to take the relationship, renew and enlarge it continuously. He referred to high-level exchanges of visits including the visit of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka to India in September 2012, two highlevel Parliamentary delegations led by Hon´ble Speaker of Lok Sabha and Hon´ble Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha and the visits of the Ministers of External Affairs. High Commissioner called people-topeople links constituting the bedrock of our relationship and referred to successful exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri L a n k a . H e underlined the growing economic ties between the two countries and that


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India was the leading source country in terms of foreign tourist arrivals and foreign direct investment into Sri Lanka. He referred to the decision to double bilateral trade to US$ 10 billion by 2015 and to move towards an enhanced framework for a special economic partnership. He mentioned about several new initiatives and projects which are in the pipeline including Sampur Power Plant, new manufacturing zones and exploration of feasibility of physical connectivity across Palk Strait. He reiterated that India is committed to being a partner of Sri Lanka in meeting its aspirations of peace, harmony and development.

Commissioner of India and other 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 64th Republic Day, reputed R. Ramachandra Nair and Madhava Madam C V N Kalari Sangam presented “Kalarippayattu”, a martial art form from Kerala at the Lionel Wendt Auditorium on 25th January. The troupe, sponsored by Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) performed in Jaffna and Kandy on 28 January and 31 January respectively

A brief cultural programme organized by the Indian Cultural Centre followed. Its highlights were singing of patriotic songs and dance performances by the students of the Indian Cultural Centre. Subsequently, the High

Consulates General of India in Jaffna and Hambantota and the Assistant High Commission of India in Kandy also celebrated the 64th Republic Day by organizing flag hoisting ceremony.

Message on the occasion of India´s 64th Republic Day from H.E. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka On the occasion of the 64th Republic Day of India, I extend my warm greetings and good wishes to my fellow citizens of India and to the friendly people and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. As we celebrate this occasion as another milestone in India’s journey as an independent nation-State, it is a time to take stock of the areas where we have done well and those where we could have performed better. As another year passes by, we have reason to be proud of our continuing commitment to individual freedoms, secularism and pluralism. Our civilizational ethos has been underpinned by peaceful coexistence and tolerance, values that Mahatma Gandhi 10

placed at the core of India’s national life. These principles are enshrined in our Constitution that provides the foundation for our secular, democratic and inclusive polity. Amid the continuing turmoil in many parts of the world, India’s stature as a functioning democracy and a factor of stability in our region and beyond remains tall and its institutional structure is resilient, despite challenges. The past year has shown in ample measure that India’s faith in its youth, and their ability to act as agents of social change, is not misplaced. Our economy has not been immune to the vicissitudes of the global economy. However, I have no doubt that our


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strong economic fundamentals, backed by sound policies and the dynamism of our people, will enable us to return to a higher growth path sooner rather than later. Government has taken a number of initiatives in recent months to reinvigorate a rapid growth trajectory that will meet our aspirations for inclusive and sustainable development for an increasingly young India. India has been witness to many positive stories in recent years. These include the remarkable acceleration in the rate of poverty reduction, stronger growth in the lessdeveloped states, improved productivity and increased real wages in our agriculture sector. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is a flagship poverty alleviation programme and responds to the needs of over 53 million poor rural households by guaranteeing 100 days of employment per year through public works. On January 1 this year, India took the first step towards revolutionizing assistance-delivery to poor beneficiaries through a process of direct cash transfer, using the digital ‘Aadhaar ’ platform for unique identification numbers to all residents of India. This is a path-breaking reform to make growth more inclusive. Today, an increasingly empowered and vocal citizenry is demanding more responsive, participative and transparent governance. On the external front, we have attached special importance to maintaining friendly ties with our neighbours. India believes in shared growth and prosperity of the region and invites her neighbours to be part of a collective success story by building new bridges of engagement. The India-Sri Lanka relationship is special. Our deep social, cultural and popular bonds forged over centuries and shared interests and concerns provide a solid foundation for further strengthening of our extremely close and friendly relations. India is committed to being a partner of Sri Lanka in meeting its aspirations of peace, harmony, growth and development. Our relations are growing rapidly in all areas, political, trade and investment, security, education, sports and culture People-to-people links constitute one of the cardinal pillars of our relationship. The successful organization of an island-wide exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics bears testimony to the common cultural threads binding India and Sri Lanka. The exposition, witnessed by nearly 3.5 million devotees, was organized as part of the Joint Commemoration of the 2600th Anniversary of Enlightenment of Lord Buddha. In another eloquent testimony to this fraternal bond, H.E. the President of Sri Lanka laid the foundation of University of Buddhist and Indic Studies at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, during his visit to India in September 2012. Last year, our two countries marked the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore with great enthusiasm. We have now agreed to jointly celebrate the 150th birth anniversaries of Swami Vivekananda in 201314 and of Anagarika Dharmapala in 2014-15. Sri Lanka again topped the list of India’s trading partners in South Asia, and India was Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner globally, with bilateral trade crossing US$ 5 billion mark in 2011-12. India was the leading source country in

terms of foreign tourist arrivals and foreign direct investment into Sri Lanka. I am happy that the growing engagement with India has facilitated creation of new capacities in the Sri Lankan economy in diverse sectors ranging from civil aviation and hospitality to ports and hospitals. Similarly, there are striking success stories of Sri Lankan investment in India and Sri Lankan Airlines is one of the largest foreign airlines operating in India; over 250,000 Sri Lankans visited India last year. The 8th session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, co-chaired by the External Affairs Ministers of India and Sri Lanka in New Delhi on 22 January 2013, was most productive. The Joint Commission agreed to pursue several important proposals made during the visit of Hon’ble Anand Sharma, the Commerce, Industries and Textiles Minister of India, in August 2012, entailing India’s involvement in the establishment of two manufacturing zones, one for engineering goods and automobile components and the other for pharmaceuticals. A Joint Ta s k F o rc e i s w o r k i n g o u t t h e m o d a l i t i e s f o r implementation of these proposals. We hope to double the bilateral trade turnover to US$ 10 billion in the next three years. The two countries have also agreed to hold intensified negotiation towards an enhanced framework for a special economic partnership for comprehensive and sustained economic cooperation. The feasibility study on inter-connection of power grids is nearing completion, and the two Governments have also agreed to explore the feasibility of establishing physical connectivity across the Palk Straits. Both sides agreed to expedite the implementation of the Sampur Power Project so that it could go on-stream by 2016. The Joint Commission has identified and confirmed projects and initiatives in diverse fields, including tourism, civil aviation, connectivity, developmental partnership, science and technology, agriculture, energy, health, people-to-people contacts, culture and education. The India-Sri Lanka CEOs Forum, which held its inaugural meeting in August 2012, is expected to generate ideas to enhance the engagement between the businesses of the two countries. An all-party Parliamentary delegation, led by the Hon’ble Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, visited Sri Lanka in April 2012. The Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar led a large Indian delegation to the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference held in Colombo in September 2012. There were several productive Ministerial visits in both directions last year. The pilot phase of the project for construction of 1000 houses was successfully completed in July 2012. The next phase of the Indian Housing Project for 43,000 housing units under the owner-driven mode in the Northern and Eastern Provinces was launched on the ground on 2 October 2012, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary. I am happy to report that this phase is progressing well, with work already commencing on over 5,000 houses. We also hope to commence soon the implementation of the third phase of the housing project, involving construction of 4,000 houses for estate workers 11


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in Central & Uva Provinces as well of 2,000 houses for the most vulnerable sections in the Northern & Eastern Provinces. We successfully completed the project for restoration of the Southern Railway line in April 2012, ahead of schedule. The reconstruction project for the Northern Railway line, under Indian lines of credit, is also progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by December 2013, again ahead of schedule. Dredging operations would commence soon at the Kankesanthurai Harbour, marking another important step in India’s assistance towards restoring its full functionality as a commercial port. Under our Small Development Project Scheme, we have completed many projects successfully and continue to expand our portfolio of projects in diverse sectors such as health, education, agriculture, fishing, livelihood restoration, community empowerment, and culture. The delivery of our development partnership projects has been done in a timely manner in keeping with the requirements on the ground and as per the priorities set by the Government of Sri Lanka. We have also operationalised a three-fold increase in scholarship support to deserving Sri Lankan students, through a grant assistance of Rs. 2.5 billion over the next three years, as part of “India-Sri Lanka Knowledge Initiative”.

Our defence and security cooperation is developing steadily, with the inaugural Annual Defence Dialogue and service-level Staff Talks held last year, and the ongoing training of Sri Lankan defence personnel in India. The exchange of high level defence visits has continued, with the Chief of Army Staff of India visiting Sri Lanka in December 2012, participation of the Vice Chief of Naval Staff of India at Galle Maritime Dialogue, and the current visit of the Chief of Defence Staff of Sri Lanka to India. The National Security Adviser of India and Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka have also exchanged visits. India believes that the end of the armed conflict presents an unparalleled opportunity to build a better future for all the people of Sri Lanka. There has been impressive progress towards the resettlement of IDPs and reconstruction in conflict-affected areas; India has assisted in these endeavours. We look forward to early conclusion of the ongoing efforts to implement the many constructive recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. Expeditious implementation of these recommendations will mark a major step forward in the process of national reconciliation. India will continue to support moves towards an early political settlement to address the ethnic issue. As I look back on the remarkable progress made in bilateral relations over the past year, I am filled with optimism for the future of our relationship and look forward to working towards taking it to the next level.

Remarks by H.E. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India, at Republic Day Reception India House present mood of the country. It combines optimism and a sense of introspection about some recent developments. Our President has acknowledged that today, some doubts assail our youth, who are at the vanguard of the momentous changes sweeping the country. He has assured us that there may be some reason for concern, but none for despair. He has noted that India has changed more in six decades since Independence than in six previous centuries and that it will change more in the next ten years than in the previous sixty.

Hon´ble Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Senior Minister of Good Governance & Infrastructure of the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Hon´ble Ministers, Hon´ble Members of Parliament, Your Excellencies, the Heads of Diplomatic Missions, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, On the occasion of the 64th Republic Day of India, it is my honour and privilege to welcome you tonight. I would like to specially welcome our Chief Guest Hon´ble Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year. My greetings to you on Poya Day! Last evening, the President of India, His Excellency Pranab Mukherjee, who is an old friend of Sri Lanka, delivered his address to the nation which captures the 12

We face the future of the nation with confidence given the strength of our democracy and its institutions, our commitment to individual freedoms, secularism, pluralism and inclusive development, and vitality of our youthful nation. As the Indian nation moves forward, we invite our neighbours to be part of a collective growth story. Here, I would like to re-emphasize that the India-Sri Lanka relationship is special. Friends, let me now tell you about some recent developments in our bilateral relations. The past year has witnessed dynamic developments in our strong, friendly and time-tested relations. Earlier this week, we had the meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission in New Delhi, co-chaired by the Ministers of External Affairs of the two countries. Our Ministers agreed on many new initiatives. Both sides commented on how the relationship is moving ahead in


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all areas, be it political and security, trade and investment, science and technology, sports, education, and culture. There is a shared understanding on the need to continuously renew and enhance bilateral relations in a comprehensive manner, without any hesitation or reservation. During the year, we exchanged several high-level visits. We were honored to receive His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa in India in September 2012. We had two high level parliamentary delegations from India, led by Hon. Speaker of Lok Sabha and Hon. Leader of Opposition of Lok Sabha. There were several Ministerial visits in both directions. These visits have helped reinforce the relationship. In economic relations, India was Sri Lanka´s largest trading partner globally, and Sri Lanka was India´s largest trading partner in South Asia. The bilateral trade turnover last year crossed the US Dollar 5 billion mark. India was the leading source country in terms of foreign tourist arrivals and foreign direct investment into Sri Lanka. Happily, it is a two-way traffic. There are notable success stories of Sri Lankan investment in India. Over 250,000 Sri Lankans visited India last year. We have strong mutual stakes in the partnership. We have agreed to double bilateral trade to US Dollar 10 billion by 2015 and to move towards an enhanced framework for a special economic partnership. Several new projects and initiatives are in the pipeline, ranging from the Sampur Power Plant which the two sides hope to commission by 2016, to exploration of the feasibility of establishing physical connectivity across the Palk Straits. I would like to make a special reference to people-topeople links. We were proud to undertake the island-wide exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics, which were worshipped by nearly 3.5 million devotees with great fervour. It is an experience I shall cherish all through my life. In another eloquent testimony to our common cultural bonds, His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka laid the foundation stone of the University of Buddhist and Indic Studies at Sanchi, during his visit to India in September 2012.

Last year, we jointly marked the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. We have now agreed to celebrate the 150th birth anniversaries of Swami Vivekananda in 2013-14 and of Anagarika Dharmapala in 2014-15. I am happy that our development partnership projects in Sri Lanka are being delivered in a timely manner in keeping with the requirements on the ground and as per the priorities set by the Government of Sri Lanka. We handed over the Southern Railway project in April 2012, six months ahead of schedule. The Northern Railway project is expected to be completed by December 2013, again ahead of schedule. A large number of other projects have been successfully implemented. Likewise, our flagship housing project and other projects are on track, with the full support of the Government of Sri Lanka. Our defence and security exchanges are also developing steadily, in keeping with our inter-linked security interests. We all agree that the end of the armed conflict presents a unique opportunity for Sri Lanka to build a better future for all its people. As Sri Lanka´s closest neighbour and friend, India always stands ready to extend its fullest support to Sri Lanka in fulfilling its aspirations of peace, harmony, national reconciliation and development. Before I conclude, let me say that we are robustly optimistic about the future of the India-Sri Lanka relationship and we look forward to working with our Sri Lankan friends to take it to the next level. I and my colleagues remain deeply grateful for the warmth and friendship received from the Government and people of Sri Lanka. We thank all of you. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I now invite you to join me in raising a toast to: His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; The health, happiness and prosperity of the people of Sri Lanka; and The continued development of strong fraternal ties between India and Sri Lanka.

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64th Republic Day celebrations at CGI, Jaffna General (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri was the Chief Guest. Hon. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries & Small Enterprise Development, Member of Parliament, Higher officials of Judiciary and other dignitaries attended the reception.There were more than 400 guests who attended the Reception.

A flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Consulate premises in Jaffna on 26 January at 9.00 AM on the occasion of 64th Republic Day of India. There were around 70 Indians, including India-based officials and their families. Officials of Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON) involved in the railway re-construction project in the Northern Province, Hindustan PreFab Limited involved in construction of houses under the Indian Housing Pilot Project and Indian Bank were also present during the occasion. The message of the President was read out by Consul General. The Border Security Force contingent deployed at the Consulate performed a brief but impressive drill during the unfurling of the National Flag. An evening reception was hosted by the Consul General of India, Jaffna on 64th Republic Day of India on 26 January 2013. The Governor of Northern Province Major

64th Republic Day celebrations at CGI, Hambantota The 64th Republic Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm. Consul General unfurled the National Flag at Chancery Premises in the forenoon in presence of India based officials and local invitees. The Consulate General of India later in the evening organised a get together and a dance performance at Hotel Pearl Cliff, Matara to mark the Day. A Kathak dance performance was rendered IN the evening event by artistes from India Culture Centre (ICC), Colombo. Governor Southern Province Kumari Balasuriya was the Chief Guest. Around 200 people attended the programme.

64th Republic Day celebrations at AHC, Kandy On the occasion of the 64th Republic Day of India, a Flaghoisting ceremony was held at AHC’s Residence at Kandy on January 26, 2013. Following unfurling of the National Flag, AHC read out the president’s Address to the Nation. The students of the Bharatiya Kala Kendra (BKK) and the local school children presented a colourful cultural performance, including patriotic songs and music. The highlight of the programme was that a group of mentally-challenged children presented a wonderful dance performance to Kandyan folk music. Around 300 people from all walks of life, including Senior DIG, DIG, Deputy GA (Kandy), Indian nationals, Sinhalese and

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Muslim communities, IOTs from Kandy, Matale, N a w a l a p i t i y a a n d N u w a ra E l i y a a t t e n d e d t h e programme. In the evening, a Reception was hosted at Hotel Thilanka, Kandy. Hon’ ble Chief Minister of Central Province, Abdul Cader, Deputy Minister for Environment, GoSL, Diyavadane Nilame the Custodian of Tooth Relics

Temple), Provincial Council Minsters for Tamil Education and Womens’ Affairs; Agriculture; Transport, Provincial Council Members of Central, Uva and Wayamba Provinces, Members of Trade Associations, Intellectuals, Think-tanks, prominent Indian nationals, IOTs, attended the function. A brief cultural event was also presented by the students of BKK.

Kalarippayattu performance on the occasion of 64th Republic Day Celebrating the 64th Republic day celebrations of India the Madhava Madam CVN Kalari, the Kalarippayattu troupe led by R. Ramachandran Nair performed the vigorous martial art form at the Lionel Wendt Auditorium on 25 January 2013. Kalarippayattu, one of the oldest living traditions of martial training in the world that rooted in Dhanurved has a ritualistic and spiritual process of learning. . H.E Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India, Sunimal Fernando, Advisor to the President, Ananda Sankari, former MP, and P. Kumaran, Deputy High Commissioner of India lit the ceremonial oil lamp on the occasion.

The troupe consisted of R. Ramachandran Nair, Gowthaman, Venugopalan Nair, Padmakumar, Anil Kumar, Anil Kumar Muthaiah and Karthikaya Kuruppe was deputed by Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi. The Ministry of Culture and the Arts, Government of Sri Lanka hosted the performances of the troupe in Colombo. The troupe performed in Kandy as well as in Jaffna. IRCON, Lanka IOC, State Bank of India, LIC (Lanka) also supported the event. The performance in Colombo had an overwhelming response from the public and the performances held in front of a packed audience.

Dinner hosted by Sri Lanka India Society to celebrate 64th Republic Day Sri Lanka India Society (SLIS) organized a Dinner on 8 March 2013 to celebrate 64th Republic Day of India during which Prof. Savithri Gunasekara, Former Vice Chancellor, University of Colombo and Member of Friday Forum addressed the gathering. The evening started with welcome remarks by Mr. Kandiah Neelakandan, President, Sri Lanka India Society, playing of National Anthems of both the countries and raising of toast by

H.E. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India and Mr. Kandiah Neelakandan, President, SLIS. In his remarks, High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha dwelt upon old civilizational linkages and people to people contacts forming the bedrock of the India Sri Lanka relationship. The event was attended by distinguished members of SLIS from various fields such as business, culture, officials, etc., both from India and Sri Lanka.

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BILATERAL BEAT

150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Swami Vivekananda in Sri Lanka involved with the world around him and was committed to change it. He noted that Ramakrishna Mission in Sri Lanka and Vivekananda Society, Colombo founded on 13 July 1902, just nine days after the demise of Swami Vivekananda in his remembrance and in honour of great service to the society, continue to spread the ideals and vision of Swami Vivekananda and especially through focus on youth and service to all humanity.

Year long 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Viveknanda in Sri Lanka began on 12th January 2013 with an event organized by the All Ceylon Hindu Congress at Vivekananda Hall, Colombo. H.E. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and Swami Sarvarupananda of Ramakrishna Mission, Sri Lanka was the Guest of Honour. Hon´ble D. M. Swaminathan, Member of Parliament, Mr. V. Kailasapillai, Chairman, All Ceylon Hindu Congress, Mr. Surendaran, PC & Chairman, Vivekananda Society, Colombo and Mr. K. Neelakandan, Secretary, All Ceylon Hindu Congress were among the distinguished gathering present at the event. The event began with garlanding of the statue of Swami Vivekananada situated at the Vivekananda Hills and followed by singing of prayers. In his remarks, High Commissioner Kantha thanked the All Ceylon Hindu Congress, Vivekananda Society of Colombo and Ramakrishna Mission for taking the lead in celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda in Sri Lanka. He highlighted special links of Swami Vivekananda with Sri Lanka, which he visited thrice. He emphasized that Swami Vivekananda was one of the great makers of modern India, a great teacher and spiritual leader who left a deep impact both within India and outside. He was one of India´s earliest cultural Ambassadors who was able to propagate Indian philosophy, thought and culture to the outside world. High Commissioner underlined that Swami Vivekananda´s message was universal and was based on rationality and righteousness. He elaborated that it was a message based on Vedanta but interpreted with a new, contemporary meaning and struck a chord because it was a message of tolerance and universality of core religious values. High Commissioner pointed out that Swami Vivekananda drew upon our ancient texts to communicate with brilliance and eloquence, the message of India which lays emphasis on tolerance, plurality and openness. It was message of rejection of sectarianism, bigotry and fanaticism. It was a message of rejection of hollow rituals. Mr. Kantha informed that for Swami Vivekananda worked for emancipation of women and downtrodden through education and though a sanyasi, he was fully 16

Mr. Kantha said that Swami Vivekananda was interpreter of Indian philosophy to the outside world and we remember Swami Vivekananda for his lifelong mission to bring back India´s pride of place in the assembly of nations, as a civilization. He informed that a National Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister of India, will guide the conduct of commemorations of 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda in a befitting manner. High Commission of India would also be associated with the celebrations in Sri Lanka in partnership with Government of Sri Lanka, Ramakrishna Mission, Vivekananda Society etc. High Commissioner Kantha urged that the best tribute to Swami Vivekananda would be to recall the basic essence of his message of tolerance and universality of religions, his rejection of dogmas, his readiness to question the orthodoxy, his commitment to emancipation of women and downtrodden, his focus on education and rededicate ourselves to the completion of his unfinished agenda. All the speakers highlighted the life and legacy of swami Vivekananda and his contribution in arising consciousness about the past glory of our civilization, universality of religions propagated by him and the usage of spirituality to create righteousness in the society by working towards emancipation of weaker segments of society particularly through education and social service. High Commissioner Kantha also announced sponsoring visit to India, including visit to Vivekananda Rock, Kanyakumari, of the gold medal winning student (accompanied by a guardian) of Island wide public speaking competition organized by the Vivekananad Society, Colombo. A number of events would be organized by the High Commission through out the year to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda in Sri Lanka.


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India to set up nine language labs in the nine provinces of Sri Lanka English language teaching and upgrade their skills. The Government of India had earlier helped to set up a Centre of English Language Training (CELT) at Peradeniya in 2009. The assistance included 41 computers for the trainees and teachers, along with sophisticated English learning software and hardware such as projector, screen, photocopier, printer etc. The Government of India had also provided training to 40 Sri Lankan Master Trainers at the English and Foreign Language University, Hyderabad, during 2008-09.

As per the commitment made by the Government of India during the visit of H.E the President of Sri Lanka to India in June 2010, which was reflected in the Joint Declaration issued on the occasion, the Government of India is undertaking a project to set up nine language labs in the nine provinces of Sri Lanka. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Sri Lanka on 13 September 2011 for “Setting up of a Three-Tier English Language Training System in Sri Lanka”. Accordingly, the Government of India will be providing appropriate equipment and teaching aids for setting up a language laboratory of 30 computer units in each of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka. The Project will help in enhancing the English Language training infrastructure in Sri Lanka, raise the general level of proficiency in English language of various sections of society, impart training in the use of English language and familiarize English language teachers from schools, colleges and universities in Sri Lanka on recent trends in

As part of Development Cooperation with Sri Lanka, Government of India has attached top priority to the education sector. A scheme to support school education among the children of upcountry plantation workers through a dedicated scholarship programme managed by the Ceylon Estate Workers Education Trust (CEWET), has been in operation since 1947. In addition, the Government of India has been running a number of scholarship programmes in Sri Lanka which saw a nearly three-foldincrease during the visit of the then Minister of External Affairs, Hon’ble S.M. Krishna, in January 2012, involving a grant assistance of SLR 2.5 billion over a three year period. Other Projects implemented to assist the education sector include setting up of 40Nenasalas (e-Learning Centres) in Eastern, Western and Southern provinces during 2007-10, renovation of 79 war damaged schools in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya, supply of 1,260 computers and 218 laser printers to 607 schools of the Eastern Province, setting up of a Siddha Faculty at Trincomalee and gifting of 110 buses to education institutions to assist school going children etc.

India-Partner country in the 4th Jaffna International Trade Fair The 4th Jaffna International Trade Fair (JITF) held from January 18-20, 2013 at the Duraiyappa Stadium in Jaffna was inaugurated on 18 January by Hon’ble Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry & Commerce and Hon’ble Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development. Mr. V. Mahalingam, Consul General of India, Jaffna, was the Special Guest at the inaugural event. H.E. Mr. Harimawan Suyito, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. E. Saravanapavan, M.P., Mrs. Yogeswaray Patkunarajah, Mayor of Jaffna, and executives of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka and Yarlpanam were also present on the occasion. India participated as a Partner Country in the JITF for the 4th consecutive year. 36 Indian companies participated in the Trade Fair, of which the largest contingent of 28 companies was from Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce, Madurai. Large Indian corporates who are prominent in Sri Lanka like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Maruti Suzuki, TAFE, Mahindra Tractors etc., are also present through

their local agents/distributors/trade delegates in the Fair. The Indian companies which participated in the Fair were mostly in the field of agricultural machinery, food packaging, automotive components, agro products, exporters of jute products, granite, grey fabric, medical equipment, traditional medicines and textiles. India’s continued participation in the JITF showed our commitment towards the renewal and reconstruction process presently underway in the Northern Province. India is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner globally and Sri Lanka is India’s largest trade partner in SAARC. India’s commitment to assist in the rehabilitation of KKS harbor, re-construction of Northern Railway lines between Medawachchiya and Mannar and Medawachchiya and KKS, rehabilitation of Atchuvely Industrial Zone etc., are in the direction of reviving the economic activities particularly trade and industry in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

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Eighth India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission Meeting

The Eighth meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission was held on 22 January 2013 in New Delhi. It was co-chaired by Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs of India and Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka. The Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was preceded by the Senior Officials Meeting at the level of the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries on 21 January 2013. The JCM discussions were held in a cordial atmosphere and marked by a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. Both sides comprehensively reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including trade, investment, development cooperation, science and technology, power, agriculture, health, people to people contacts, connectivity, culture and education, and expressed satisfaction at the substantive developments in bilateral relations since the 7th session of the Joint Commission held at Colombo on 26 November 2010. The External Affairs Ministers of India and Sri Lanka signed the following Agreements: Agreement on Combating International Terrorism and Drug Trafficking; and Revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. Recognising the need to build a special economic partnership framework to achieve the shared goals of poverty alleviation, job creation and economic development for the people of the two countries, the two sides decided to take several steps to further deepen trade, tourism and investment relations. In this regard, it was agreed to encourage closer economic and trade linkages between all stakeholders with a view to doubling bilateral trade to US $ 10 billion in the next three years . In this context it was also agreed to initiate a dialogue between the Commerce Secretary of India and the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Sri Lanka at an early date to evolve a framework for a special economic partnership between the two countries. It was acknowledged that the substantial development assistance provided by the Government of India towards relief, resettlement and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and livelihood generation and reconstruction efforts in the Northern and Eastern 18

Provinces of Sri Lanka has had a positive impact on the ground. In this context, both sides welcomed the successful completion of the pilot project for construction of 1,000 houses for IDPs in the Northern Province in August 2012 and the launch of the next phase for construction/repair of remaining 49,000 houses on 2 October 2012. It was noted with satisfaction that substantial progress has been made in implementation of the projects like repair and construction of hospital and schools; setting up of Vocational Training Centres; organization of artificial limb refitment camps; provision of fishing equipment, tractors, bicycles, trishaws, agricultural equipment and seeds; restoration of the Northern Railway lines and the Southern Railway Corridor; rehabilitation of the Kankesanthurai Harbour; rehabilitation of the Palaly Airport; among others. Both sides noted the impressive growth of tourism traffic between the two countries both ways. India currently contributed the largest number of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka and over 250,000 Sri Lankans visited India in 20112012. It was agreed that with a view to enhance connectivity, people to people exchanges and movement of goods and services, the two sides would meet at the earliest to explore the possibility of finalizing and signing a revised Air Services Agreement; work towards the resumption of ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram for which the Joint Committee on Ferry Services would meet at the earliest; and hold the meeting of the Joint Working Group on Tourism in the first quarter to 2013 to identify potential areas of cooperation, including marketing and capacitybuilding. The two sides described the Sampur Power Project as a landmark initiative and directed the officials concerned on both sides to work towards its implementation so that the project goes on-stream by 2016, and to expeditiously complete the joint study on establishing power inter-grid connectivity. Both sides agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in the areas of New and Renewable energy, and in this context agreed to conclude a MoU on Cooperation in New and Renewable Energy; to cooperate in establishing three power plants of aggregate capacity of 15 MW using biomass fuel; and enhance cooperation in wind and solar energy sectors. It was also agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in the fields of oil and gas; civil nuclear energy; science and technology; and space technology. The Joint Commission noted that both sides are committed to decrease incidents pertaining to fishing on the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). Both countries agreed that the use of force could not be justified under any circumstances and reiterated in this regard the importance of continuing to extend humane treatment to all fishermen. Both sides welcomed the decisions arrived at the two meetings of the Joint Working Group on Fishing held in March 2011 and January 2012 respectively, and encouraged senior officials to meet regularly to continue the dialogue to strengthen cooperation on fishing related issues.


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The Joint Commission took note of the collaborative initiatives in the field of Information & Communication Technology; education; human resources development, training and capacity building, among others. In this context, both sides agreed to encourage the inalization of the MoU between the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and the Department of Open Distance Learning in Sri Lanka; inalization of more ‘Education Fairs’ in Sri Lanka; setting up Provincial Centres for English Language Training; and inalization of the MoU for cooperation in connection with the “Ten Year Presidential Initiative to Steer Sri Lanka towards a Trilingual Society by 2020”. Expressing satisfaction at cooperation in the field of culture, both sides reviewed and positively assessed the progress of work for restoration of Thiruketheeswaram temple at Mannar; renovation of the Duraiappah Stadium; and Jaffna Culture Centre. Both sides agreed to jointly celebrate the 150th birth anniversaries of Swami Vivekananda (in 2013-14) and of Anagarika Dharmapala (in 2014-15). Both sides commended the role being played by the India-Sri Lanka Foundation in forging deeper links between civil society actors in the two

countries. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the energy sector and to promote dialogue on security and defence issues of relevance to the bilateral relationship. The Joint Commission noted that the trilateral cooperation mechanism between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives was an important initiative to promote maritime security in the region. During his visit to India, the External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka called on the Prime Minister of India and had a separate meeting with the External Affairs Minister of India. The External Affairs Minister of India accepted the invitation extended by the Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister to visit Sri Lanka in the first half of 2013 and suggested that mutually convenient dates be worked out through diplomatic channels. It was agreed that the next session of the Joint Commission would be held in Sri Lanka in the first half of 2014 on a date to be mutually agreed upon between the two sides.

Remarks by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid after the conclusion of the India - Sri Lanka Joint Commission Meeting External Affairs Minister (Shri Salman Khurshid): Hon’ble Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, friends from the media:

working on setting up of a Special Economic Zone in Trincomalee and a pharmaceutical and a textiles cluster elsewhere in Sri Lanka.

I have just concluded very useful and productive discussions with the Hon. Minister on the entire gamut of our bilateral relations. Prof. Peiris and I have also co-chaired the eighth session of the Joint Commission Meeting.

I have conveyed India’s readiness to support Sri Lanka’s endeavor in capacity building in science and t e c h n o l o g y , a g r i c u l t u r e , I C T, education and health sectors. We agreed to enhance cooperation in the energy sector. We are already discussing finalization of major mutually beneficial projects in power and oil and gas Sectors. We look forward to enhanced cooperation in new and renewable energy, civil nuclear energy and space technology in the future.

We have noted that bilateral cooperation during the past three years has seen significant expansion covering all areas of mutual interest. The signing today of two agreements relating to Combating International Terrorism and Illicit Drug Trafficking and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, has further strengthened the framework of our close cooperation. During the Joint Commission, we comprehensively reviewed bilateral relations, including trade, investment and services, development cooperation, science and technology, power, agriculture, health, people-to-people c o n t a c t s , c o n n e c t i v i t y, t o u r i s m , c u l t u re a n d education.We have noted with satisfaction that India is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner and Sri Lanka is India’s largest trade partner in South Asia. India is the largest foreign direct investor in Sri Lanka, and also contributes to the largest number of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans also make up a significant proportion of tourists and pilgrims visiting India every year. Given the vast untapped potential, we have stressed the need for intensive consultations towards a comprehensive framework for economic cooperation and building of a special economic partnership. We are

India and Sri Lanka enjoy a growing defence relationship built on extensive training and Service-to-Service linkages. We have today reviewed our mutual strategic interests, in view of the commonality of concerns, including with respect to the safety and security of sea lanes of communication. We agreed to promote dialogue on security and defence issues of relevance in bilateral as well as in regional context.We noted that successful exposition of the sacred Kapilavastu relics and the celebration of 150 years of Guru Rabindranath Tagore’s anniversary in Sri Lanka have both significantly enriched our bilateral cultural relations. The Joint Commission Meeting agreed on the need to extend humane treatment and abjure violence against fishermen of our two countries. We welcomed the decisions of two meetings of Joint Working Group on Fishing held in 2011 and 2012, and also the outcomes of meetings between representatives of fishermen's associations, and the work towards concluding an MoU 19


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on Development and Cooperation in the Field of Fisheries.The need for both sides to adhere to Practical Arrangements on Fishing of 2008, which had helped to decrease incidents on the International Maritime Boundary Line, has been duly noted. Both sides have placed great emphasis on the safety of fishermen and the need to continue to ensure that violence is not resorted to under any circumstances. I h a v e c o n v ey e d I n d i a ’s c o m m i t m e n t t o t h e reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka. We have made good progress in implementing comprehensive bilateral agenda set out by our Prime Minister and the President of Sri Lanka in June 2010. Projects of bilateral development assistance have progressed well, including construction of 50,000 houses for IDPs, with the fullest cooperation of the Government of Sri Lanka. Our livelihood generation and reconstruction efforts in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka have had a positive impact on the ground.

In my separate discussions with the Foreign Minister, I have referred to the need for continued dialogue between the Government of Sri Lanka and the representatives of the Sri Lankan Tamil community, with a view towards ensuring a future for the Tamil community that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect, all of which are respected by Sri Lanka. We hope that there will be early progress on a meaningful devolution building upon the 13th Amendment and leading to national reconciliation. I am confident that given our geographical proximity and millennial links, a much closer and more comprehensive relationship beckons us. The visit of Minister Peiris and our discussions today have opened avenues for taking full and further advantage of opportunities that are open to us. Thank you very much.

Joint Celebration of the 'Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Day (ITEC Day)' and the 'International Students Day'

The annual get-together of the ITEC participants and Sri Lankan students who studied in India under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Scholarship Schemes was celebrated on Friday, 8th February 2013, at Hotel Taj Samudra. Hon´ble S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education, Government of Sri Lanka, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. About 400 alumni of Indian institutions, coming from various parts of the Island, attended the reception. In his welcome address, Mr. P. Kumaran, Acting High Commissioner, thanked the Hon´ble Minister for gracing the function as the Chief Guest and appreciated the participants for turning out in large numbers from all over the Island, travelling long distances. He noted that the ITEC programme and the scholarship schemes were key elements of the ´Knowledge Initiative´ launched during the visit of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka to India in June, 2010. He conveyed that ITEC, initiated in 1964 as India´s bilateral programme of assistance, was being constantly re-designed and refocused, based on the evolving needs of India´s partners, including Sri Lanka. Noting that Sri Lanka was the topmost partner country of ITEC, with over 200 senior Sri Lankan state sector officials going to India annually for training in over 100 Courses 20

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest, Hon. S.B. Dissanayake, lauded Maulana Azad´s leading role in laying the foundation of India´s school and higher education system, including the renowned institutions of national importance such as the Indian Institutes of Technology. Minister Dissanayake appreciated India´s valuable scholarship assistance for Sri Lankan nationals and acknowledged that these educational and technical scholarships helped bridge the gap between demand and supply for such programmes in Sri Lanka, as well as in meeting the increasing aspirations of the people. A number of alumni shared their experiences of studying and attending training programmes in prestigious institutions in India and how the experience enriched them culturally and spiritually, apart from helping them fulfill their professional roles and duties in their country The International Students´ Day is observed every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of Independent India and Founder President of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR). India provides over 270 educational scholarships and highly subsidized selffinancing slots annually through the ICCR Scholarship Schemes to meritorious Sri Lankan students to pursue


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undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral degrees in some of the topmost universities in India. The Government of India would be spending Sri Lankan Rupees 2.5 billion over a three-year period for this purpose. The ITEC programme was launched nearly 50 years ago, in the early 1960s, as India´s bilateral programme of assistance in the field of human resource development. Sri Lanka is one of the most important partner countries for the ITEC and the Colombo Plan scholarship programmes. Nearly 200 training slots are allocated annually for capacity-building and training in diverse areas like IT, English language, management, rural

development, finance, mass communication, remote sensing, etc. During the year 2012-13, a total of 215 training slots have been earmarked for Sri Lankan candidates. The entire cost of travel, training and stay is borne by the Government of India, along with payment of a living allowance of INR 25,000/- per month, book allowance @ INR 5,000/-, study tours including visit to places of historical importance and medical facilities. For more details on the scholarship programmes and other educational assistance, please visit the High Commission of India´s website http://www.hcicolombo.org and for more information on the ITEC please visit http://www.itec.mea.gov.in/

HIGH COMMISSIONER’S VISIT TO NORTHERN PROVINCE

High Commissioner of India visits Killinochchi & Vavuniya District Hospital and India Housing project, Phase-II at the Malayalapuram village be fully functional by July 2013. The Government of India has also announced a gift of a ´Bhabatron´ Telecobalt Radiotherapy Machine to the Government of Sri Lanka, which is to be installed at the General Hospital in Hambantota.

High Commissioner of India, H.E. Ashok K. Kantha visited Vavuniya on 23 February 2013 to inspect progress in the construction of the 200-bed Ward Complex at District Hospital, Vavuniya. He was accompanied by the Consul General of India in Jaffna Mr. V.Mahalingam. Provincial Secretary of Health and Indigenous Medicine Mr. Raveendran, Dr. T. Sathaymoorthy, Incharge, Vavuniya District Hospital and other officials were present at the hospital site. As part of India´s development partnership with Sri Lanka and in response to requirements projected by the Government of Sri Lanka, the Government of India has undertaken this project which envisages construction of a four-storey 200-bed Ward Complex at the District Hospital, Vavuniya. The Project will improve the existing infrastructure of the Hospital and fulfill the medical care needs of in-patients admitted to the Hospital from Vavuniya and adjoining districts. The Project is being implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Government of Sri Lanka, and the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, Northern Province. A contract agreement to execute the Project was entered into earlier by the High Commission of India with M/s Wahid Constructions on 27 August 2012. The Project is being implemented under full grant assistance of the Government of India amounting to SLR 200 million and is expected to be completed by February 2014. As a part of India´s assistance to the health sector in Sri Lanka, Government of India had also supplied high-value critical medical equipment for the Jaffna Teaching Hospital in January 2011 and to the District Hospitals at Killinochchi and Mullaitivu in January 2012 at a cost SLR 230 million. India is constructing a 150-bed base hospital at Dickoya in the Central Province at a cost of SLR 1.2 billion which will

During his visit, the High Commissioner reviewed other projects of Indian assistance currently being undertaken in the Northern Province, including the second phase of the Indian Housing Project. Along with representatives of the Implementing Agencies (IFRC, UN-Habitat & National Housing Development Authority), he visited some of the houses completed under this phase and expressed satisfaction on the progress of the work. He also interacted with various stakeholders, including beneficiary communities and civil society groups to assess the impact of this Project on the ground and understand local priorities and requirements. The second phase has made rapid progress since its launch because of the support received by our Implementing Agencies on the ground from officials of the Government of Sri Lanka and the local community. Over 8,000 beneficiaries have already been selected in all five districts of Northern Province. The High Commission of India has already released first installment payments to 8039 beneficiaries. We are confident of achieving our target of constructing 10,000 houses in the first year of the Project. High Commissioner en-route to Vavuniya visited the Indian Housing Project, Phase-II at the Malayalapuram village at Killinochchi. He met with with about 50 people from the Malayalapuram Association Village people and Gram Sevaks. High Commissioner and Consul General of India in Jaffna inaugurated two houses of beneficiaries namely Mr. Elumalai Pillai and Mrs. Vimla Devi. High Commissioner alongwith Consul General also met with the Civil Society members at Vavuniya, 21


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Mr. Sivasakthee Anandan, M.P., TNA also participated in the meeting. Members of Vavuniya District Resettled People Welfare Organisation, Community Integration Union (Samooga Inanallinakka Ondriyum, and Members of Citizen Committee Mannar, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu alongwith representatives of Implementing Agencies (UNHABITAT, IFRC and NHDA) participated. India has been supporting projects for rehabilitation, resettlement and well-being of displaced persons in the Northern Province in the areas of shelter (through donation of roofing sheets & cement bags and

construction & repair of houses under the Indian Housing Project for 50,000 houses), health-care (providing emergency medical relief, organizing artificial limbs refitment camps and equipping hospitals), livelihood generation (provision of fishing equipment, tractors, bicycles, trishaws, agricultural equipment and seeds), education (repairs of 79 schools, distribution of computers & printers to schools, establishing nenashalas, supply of buses to educational institutions and setting up of vocational training centres) and infrastructure development (restoration of Northern Railway lines, rehabilitation of Palaly Airport and KKS Harbour).

Inauguration of ´India Corner´ in Jaffna

H.E. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India and Hon´ble G.A. Chandrasiri, Governor of Northern Province, Sri Lanka jointly inaugurated the ´India Corner´ located at the Consulate General of India, Jaffna on 23 February 2013. Senior government officials of Northern Province, prominent personalities in the cultural and academic fields as well as media persons were present on the occasion. The ´India Corner´ which has been informally functioning since January 2013 will enhance cultural outreach of the Consulate General of India, Jaffna by further popularizing Indian classical music and dance amongst the people of Northern Province. In addition, facilities for learning Yoga and Hindi will also be offered free of cost at the Corner. The ´India Corner´ also houses a library with a wide collection of books on various subjects which can be accessed by people visiting the Corner. In coming times, the ´India Corner´ is expected to transform into a vibrant hub of cultural activities with a full calendar of events benefitting the people of Northern Province. The Corner has been modeled on the lines of the Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo and is supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner emphasized the special relationship that exists between the people of Northern Province in general, the Jaffna Peninsula in particular and people from India. He stated that the ´India Corner´ had been established with the purpose of further enhancing this special relationship through exchanges in the field of culture and arts particularly in view of the fact that over the centuries, Jaffna had stood at the cross-roads of history, culture and religion, kings and kingdom, arts, dance and literature. High Commissioner further highlighted about the remarkable cultural space and convergence between Northern Province and India. 22

High Commissioner also touched upon other cultural initiatives of the Government of India in the Northern Province, particularly plans for the Jaffna Cultural Centre, which will be a landmark building in city of Jaffna, assistance to the Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts in construction of an Open Air Theatre, exchange of faculty and students between this Academy and Kalakshetra Foundation in South India and organization of a threeday Cultural event during the Nallur Festival like last year. On this occasion, the High Commissioner also symbolically donated a set of 20 Tamil books, audio compact discs and school bags to school children. This is part of a project by the Consulate General of India to provide 5000 primary level school books and audio compact Discs on various subjects in Tamil for distribution amongst 250 primary schools. The India-Sri Lanka Foundation has provided 1180 school bags each containing stationery for use of school children. These books, CDs and bags are being provided to needy school children of the Northern Province through the Education Ministry of the Northern Provincial Council. The High Commissioner also invited the assembled audience to the exclusive Indian Education Fair being held in Jaffna on March 5th and 6th 2013. Hon´ble Governor Chandrasiri in his remarks thanked the Government of India for providing this opportunity to the people of the Northern Province to further pursue their interests in Indian music and dance as well as enhance their understanding of Yoga and Hindi language. He also thanked the Government of India for providing school bags and books to the needy students of the Northern Province. In conclusion Hon. Governor thanked for all the help the Government of India has been providing to Sri Lanka and in particular to Northern Province.


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H.E. Mr Ashok K. Kantha laid wreath at IPKF Memorial, Jaffna Adviser at High Commission of India, Colombo also laid wreath. Senior officers from the Sri Lankan Army were present in the ceremony including Security Forces Commander, Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe also laid wreath at the Memorial. High Commissioner of India H.E. Ashok K. Kantha accompanied by his spouse Mrs. Sharmila Kantha placed a wreath at the IPKF Memorial located at Palaly on February 23, 2013. Consul General of India in Jaffna Mr. V. Mahalingam and Captain Sumeet Kapoor, Defence

The IPKF Memorial at Palaly is in memory of the martyrs of the 10 Para Regiment of Indian Army who lost their lives during the IPKF operation in Northern Province between 1987 and 1989. The Memorial consists of seven structures and has the names of 33 martyrs engraved.

H.E. Mr Ashok K. Kantha, Indian High Commissioner attends the annual feast of St. Antony´s church at Kachchativu conveyed their gratitude for organizing this traditional annual pilgrimage which has been observed since 1905. 2814 Indian devotees who came to the Island in 94 boats participated with great enthusiasm and piety in this annual feast, which is held in honour of the patron saint of seafarers, Rev. St. Antony. Rev. Bishop Dr. Thomas Sovuntharanayagam conducted the mass at High Commissioner of India H.E. Mr Ashok K. Kantha attended the annual feast of revered St Antony´s church at Kachchativu Island in the early morning of 24 February. For the first time High Commissioner of India has visited Kachchativu. The High Commissioner was accompanied by the Consul General of India in Jaffna Mr. V. Mahalingam. During his visit, the High Commissioner also interacted with the priests, nuns and pilgrims from India who

Kachchativu. Necessary arrangements for food, water, sanitation and security were made by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence in coordination with local government officials and the Jaffna diocese. The High Commission of India and the Consulate General of India had also deployed officials to assist the pilgrims. The High Commissioner expressed his sincere appreciation to the concerned authorities for the excellent arrangements.

Signing of Contract Documents for Revival of Atchchuvely Industrial Estate in Jaffna

On February 24, 2013, Six Contract Documents were signed between High Commission of India, Colombo and

four Contractors in the premises of the Consulate General of India, Jaffna in the presence of High Commissioner of India, H.E. Ashok K Kantha, and Governor of Northern Province, Hon´ble G. A. Chandrasiri. Consul General of India in Jaffna Mr. V.Mahalingam was also present. The Contract was signed by Mr. Suresh Menon, Consul, Consul General of India on behalf of High Commission of India and the respective Contractors. Late in the evening a ground-breaking ceremony was performed at the Atchchuvely Industrial Estate and the work of construction was formally launched 23


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implemented under full grant assistance of the Government of India amounting to SLR 200 million. The Project undertakes to construct access roads, internal roads, water supply system with treatment plant, power supply, sewerage and waste disposal system, etc., as part of the requisite infrastructure at the Estate.

Speaking on the occasion, the High Commissioner said livelihood generation is an area of challenge and Jaffna which used to be the hub of 16 industries ranging from food processing, salt, specialized chemicals etc., employing over 3000 workers got completely damaged during the two decades of conflict. India´s objective is to help revive such industry and other small-scale industries. In his remarks, Hon´ble G. A. Chandrasiri, Governor of Northern Province thanked the Government of India for undertaking this Project as well for other assistance provided for reconstruction and development of Northern Province through various others development projects The Project to set up the Atchchuvely Industrial Estate in Jaffna, which is expected to be completed by August 2013, would assist potential investors to commence business ventures by providing required infrastructure and utilities at the Industrial Zone. It will lead to flow of significant investments to increase production capacities in the sectors of textiles, plastic and leather products, food processing, agro-based industries, oil and fibre products, etc., thereby resulting in better utilisation of local resources. The Project is being

The Project is being implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development of the Government of Sri Lanka. Necessary technical expertise and project management services are being provided by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Contract agreements to execute the Project were entered into earlier by the High Commission of India, Colombo with M/s Muruges Work and Construction, M/s Euroville Engineers (Pvt) Ltd., M/s Farzan Building Construction and M/s Building Services(M&E) Engineering(Pvt) Ltd. India has been supporting projects for rehabilitation, resettlement and well-being of displaced persons in the Northern Province in the areas of shelter (through donation of roofing sheets & cement bags and construction & repair of houses under the Indian Housing Project for 50,000 houses), health-care (providing emergency medical relief, organizing artificial limbs refitment camps and equipping hospitals), livelihood generation (provision of fishing equipment, tractors, agricultural equipment and seeds), education (repairs of schools and setting up of vocational training centres) and infrastructure development (restoration of Northern Railway lines, rehabilitation of Palaly Airport and KKS Harbour).

Transfer of eligible sentenced Indian nationals, serving prison terms in Sri Lanka, to India Two eligible sentenced Indian nationals, serving prison terms in Sri Lanka, were transferred today to Trivandrum, Kerala, under the provisions of the India-Sri Lanka bilateral Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. All formalities in respect of 20 persons (six from Kerala and 14 from Tamil Nadu), including the two transferred earlier today, have been completed and their transfer to India will be undertaken within a week. In all, there are 31 sentenced Indian nationals undergoing prison terms in Sri Lanka, eligible for transfer to India under the terms of the Agreement. On completion of the necessary legal formalities, these persons are being transferred back to India. Formalities with regard to the remaining 11 eligible persons are already underway. The India-Sri Lanka bilateral Agreement on the Transfer of 24

Sentenced Persons was signed on 9 June 2010. This Agreement provides for the conditions under which such transfers can take place and the various obligations of the transferring State and the receiving State. Accordingly, the requests made by eligible persons are processed by the Government of Sri Lanka and forwarded to the Government of India for completion of the necessary legal procedures on the Indian side. The transferred persons would be completing the remainder of their terms in India. The High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha expressed his appreciation for the assistance rendered by the concerned Departments of the Government of Sri Lanka and expressed the hope for continued cooperation in this regard.


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Inauguration of Indian Education Fair by Hon. S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education

Hon S.B Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education inaugurated the much awaited “Indian Education Fair2013 today (March 02, 2013) at the BMICH in Colombo in the presence of H.E. Mr. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka and Mrs Anju Banerjee, Chairperson and Managing Director of EdCIL India Limited. While addressing participating institutions and other distinguished guests, Chief Guest Hon. Dissanayake congratulated the organizers for bringing the Education Fair to Sri Lanka for the third consecutive year. Hon. Minister recalled the strong historical and cultural bonds between the two countries and highlighted the ongoing educational cooperation. He said, it was only natural that India has been one of the most preferred destinations for Sri Lankan students to pursue higher education since many years Elaborating further, the Minister said bilateral cooperation between the two countries covers a diverse set of activities ranging from capacity building in the higher education sector to infrastructure development and the much-sought-after fully-paid scholarships to study in India. . The High Commissioner said the education sector in India was growing at a rapid pace with nearly 6% of GDP being invested in this sector, out of which 50 percent contribution came from the private sector. While highlighting increase of 17% in the current budget allocation for education in India, he urged that both countries should explore newer areas of cooperation to benefit from each other´s experience H.E. Ashok K. Kantha said, encouraged by the overwhelming response received from students and

their parents in its previous two editions, this time the Education Fair was also being taken to Jaffna and Kandy. He said the participating institutions represent some of the finest in their fields. This event would provide the students an opportunity to personally interact with them to seek educational guidance and career planning. The High Commissioner revealed that some colleges at the Education Fair might even consider making on-the-spot offers of enrolment into Indian colleges to eligible students. He urged the students to make use of the opportunity and visit the Fair in large numbers On the occasion, Hon S.B Dissanayake also launched the Education Brochure published by the High Commission of India. High Commissioner Kantha said the brochure was intended to cater to hundreds of queries sent to the High Commission by Sri Lankan students. It provides a brief overview about the structure of higher education in India, eligibility conditions, courses available, and student visa procedures. The High Commissioner also highlighted that the brochure included a glimpse of various scholarships offered by government of India. He said, since last year, the scholarship programme for higher studies in India was expanded by nearly three times. Ongoing schemes have been expanded and newer schemes have been added to offer about 290 slots annually, for which the Government of India is spending Sri Lankan Rupees 2.5 billion over a 3- year period. The scholarship programme now covers almost all conceivable areas. Mrs Anju Banerjee, Chairperson and Managing Director of EdCIL reaffirmed that the Education Fair would continue to be an annual feature and promised that next year too the Fair would be taken to Jaffna and Kandy, so that students living in distant areas of the Island could also benefit from it. Highlighting the range of services provided by EdCIL, a government of India enterprise, which is the largest in India providing education related services, would be most willing to offer its services to assist students of Sri Lanka. While observing that more than 1,500 Sri Lankan students went to India every year for higher studies, Mrs Banerjee expressed the hope that the Fair would encourage even larger number of students to explore India as an attractive destination offering world class education at an affordable cost.

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India announces successful completion of distribution of 10,000 bicycles to IDPs of Northern Province The High Commission of India, Colombo announced in the month of October 2011 that under the Indian Grant Assistance, 10,000 bicycles would be distributed to the resettled IDPs in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka on the basis of need based request originated from the Hon´ble Governor of the Northern Province. The project was conceived as per the priorities identified in consultation with the Government of Sri Lanka, with the objective to cater to the transportation needs of persons being resettled and to aid revival of their livelihoods. The total cost of the project is about 67 million Sri Lankan rupees. By all concerned, great attention was paid in developing appropriate criteria for selection of beneficiaries which include families with school going children, families employed in livelihoods requiring mobility, single or women headed families, families with physically or mentally disabled persons families living in remote areas, etc. The role played by UNHCR in this regard was commendable particularly in handling the logistics of the distribution of bicycles. Of the 10000 bicycles, 2500 bicycles have been distributed in Mulaitivu District, 2500 bicycles in Kilinochchi District, 1750 bicycles in Mannar District,1750 bicycles in Vavuniya District and 1500 bicycles in Jaffna District.

First lot of 250 bicycles was distributed to IDPs when Hon´ble Mr. S.M. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs of India visited Jaffna on 18 January 2012 and the second lot of 150 bicycles was distributed when the Parliamentary delegation led by Opposition leader of Lok Sabha Hon´ble Mrs. Sushma Swaraj visited Mullaitivu on 18.04.2012.5. Another major events of distribution of 98 bicycles were held on 17.06.2012 at Jaffna and 112 bicycles in Kilinochchi in the presence of Hon´ble Douglas Devananda, Minister for Traditional Industries & Small Enterprise Development, Hon´ble Governor G.A. Chandrasiri, Consul General of India, Mr. V. Mahalingam, Hon´ble Member of Parliament and Deputy Chairman of Parliament Committees M. Chandra Kumar, Mayor of Jaffna Hon´ble Yogeswaray Patgunarajah, Jaffna Additional Government Agent Mrs. Rubini Varathalingam and Mrs. Rupavathi Ketheeswarn Government Agent of Kilinochchi. Apart from the above, rest of the bicycles have been distributed involving the respective GAs and Divisional Secretaries, UNHCR representatives and officials of CGI, Jaffna on various occasions. We are pleased to notify that the final distributions of 10000 Bicycles covering all the Five Districts of Northern Province has been completed on 4 March 2013.

Indian housing project gains momentum The second phase of the Indian Housing Project for construction of 43,000 housing units in Northern and Eastern Province, which is being jointly implemented by the Governments of India and Sri Lanka, has made rapid progress since its launch on 2nd October 2012. Over 8,700 beneficiaries have already been selected in all five districts of Northern Province through rigorous application of selection processes agreed upon by the two governments. The High Commission of India has released first installment payments to these beneficiaries. Further, nearly 25 % of these beneficiaries have also received their second installment payments indicating progress in construction of the house beyond the foundation stage. The two governments are confident of achieving the target of completing 10,000 houses in Northern Province before the end of this year. During his recent visit to Northern Province on 23-24 February, High Commissioner of India H.E. Ashok K. Kantha reviewed progress of this phase of the Project. He visited some of the houses completed under the Project in Kilinochchi district (photographs attached) and expressed satisfaction on progress of the work. During The second phase of the Indian Housing Project for construction of 43,000 housing units in Northern and Eastern Province, which is being jointly implemented by 26

the Governments of India and Sri Lanka, has made rapid progress since its launch on 2nd October 2012. Over 8,700 beneficiaries have already been selected in all five districts of Northern Province through rigorous application of selection processes agreed upon by the two governments. The High Commission of India has released first installment payments to these beneficiaries. Further, nearly 25 % of these beneficiaries have also received their second installment payments indicating progress in construction of the house beyond the foundation stage. The two governments are confident of achieving the target of completing 10,000 houses in Northern Province before the end of this year. During his recent visit to Northern Province on 23-24 February, High Commissioner of India H.E. Ashok K. Kantha reviewed progress of this phase of the Project. He visited some of the houses completed under the Project in Kilinochchi district (photographs attached) and expressed satisfaction on progress of the work. During his visit and on his return to Colombo, High Commissioner also had extensive discussions with various stakeholders, including community organizations and civil society groups. On 2nd March, the High Commissioner reviewed progress of the Project with the Implementing Agencies. Among other things, the recent concerns expressed by some groups in Vavuniya and Mannar districts of Northern Province over


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individuals and civil society organizations are routinely addressed to the High Commission of India, Colombo and t h e C o n s u l a t e G e n e ra l o f I n d i a , J a ff n a . S u c h communications are also looked into and are suitably redressed. The Implementing Agencies on the ground and local officials play a principal role in the selection process. The selection process envisages active participation of civil society organizations and local communities, particularly through the grievance redressal mechanism. Following the recent discussions that High Commissioner had with various stakeholders, this aspect is being further strengthened through closer consultation with community advisory groups. alleged discrimination in selection of beneficiaries were also looked into during these discussions. It may be noted that beneficiary selection activities under the Indian Housing Project are being carried out jointly by t h e I m p l e m e n t i n g A g e n c i e s a p p o i n t e d by t h e Government of India and local officials of the Government of Sri Lanka. Realizing its critical importance, the two governments are committed, since the inception of the Project, to ensure that benefits under the Project reach intended beneficiaries. Therefore, a robust process of beneficiary selection, which is fair, objective, transparent and norm based, was agreed upon and put in place. This process was finalized after extensive consultations with all stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organizations and affected individuals. Under the selection process, as a first step, worst-affected villages in all five districts of Northern Province are identified. Then, all persons in these villages, who do not own any another house in Sri Lanka, have not been beneficiaries directly or indirectly under any other permanent housing assistance programme, have lived in that village or are descendents of families who have lived in that village as well as have now permanently returned to resettle in those villages and are in need of a permanent house, are placed on an initial list of beneficiaries. Necessary information is then collected through application forms distributed to them. Based on the information provided, prospective beneficiaries are scored on a weighted scoring model. This model takes into account their state of livelihood, number of dependents in their family, age of dependents, extent of disabilities in the family and other similar vulnerabilities. The beneficiaries thus scored are ranked and only those, who score above a certain cut-off mark, are placed on the final list of beneficiaries. The process of scoring is fully transparent and participative. The proposed lists of beneficiaries, together with the scoring sheets, are prominently displayed in public places. A period of fifteen days is provided for persons of the area to register their complaints, if any, on the selection or nonselection of a beneficiary. The proposed list of beneficiaries is also notified to all elected representatives of the area. Complaints received are addressed in a public enquiry conducted by the Divisional Secretary along with the Implementing Agencies. Only those beneficiaries against whom there are no valid complaints are placed on the final list. It may be mentioned that besides this formal process of grievance redressal, complaints/representations from

The final list of beneficiaries approved for housing assistance under the Project, therefore, passes through a stringent and rigorous process of identification, verification and selection followed by a participative process of grievance redressal. The concerns over alleged discrimination in selection of beneficiaries are, therefore, unfounded. Full details of beneficiaries selected in each village and other relevant information about progress of the Project are available on a real time basis on the website of the High Commission of India (http://www.hcicolombo.org/index.php?option=com_pag es&id=170). The Housing Project has been conceived with the objective to support the housing needs of persons displaced as a result of the armed conflict, contribute to their livelihoods as well as promote return of normalcy in the Northern Province. The Project is being implemented u n d e r t h e ow n e r - d r i v e n m o d e l t h ro u g h f o u r Implementing Agencies, UN-Habitat, International Federation of Red Cross (in partnership with the Sri Lanka Red Cross), the National Housing Development Agency and Habitat for Humanity. These Agencies have wide experience in handling similar projects in Sri Lanka. Beneficiaries selected under the Project undertake construction/repair of their houses with necessary technical assistance and support being provided by these Implementing Agencies. The Indian Housing Project for construction of 50,000 houses was announced by Government of India during the visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India in June 2010. The Project is supported by full grant assistance of USD 270 million of the Government of India. A Pilot Project involving construction of 1,000 houses in Northern Province was completed in July 2012 and the houses have been transferred to the beneficiaries. The second phase of the Project involving construction of 43,000 houses for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northern and Eastern Provinces is presently underway. Each beneficiary, in the second phase, receives SLR 5,50,000/in four stages for new construction and upto SLR 2,50,000/- in three stages for repairs. Funds are transferred directly into the savings bank account of the beneficiaries by the High Commission of India. The third phase of the Housing Project involving construction of 4,000 houses for the people of the Central Province under agency-driven model will be taken up in the coming months. The fourth phase, which would involve construction of 2,000 houses under agency driven model, will be taken up in the Northern and Eastern Provinces for the most vulnerable IDPs.

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Felicitation of Dr. Vajira Chitrasena by the High Commission of India The living legend of Sri Lankan dance, legendary Kandyan danseuse and Sri Lanka’s first prima ballerina Deshabandhu Dr. Vajira Chitrasesa was felicitated by the High Commission of India on her 81st birthday on Friday, 15 March 2013 at India House. The felicitation was in recognition of Dr. Vajira Chitrasena’s outstanding and unique contribution to enriching India- Sri Lanka relations through the promotion of dance. Hon. Dr. Sarath Amanugama, Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning was the Chief Guest and H.E. Chandrika Kumaratunga, former President of Sri Lanka and Padma Shri Pandit Amaradeva were the Guests of Honour at the felicitation event. The other dignitaries who graced the felicitation event included Hon. Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, Hon. Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha, Hon. Members of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, Ravi Karunanayake, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Eran Wickramaratne, A.H.M. Azwer and Vijitha Herath; Mrs. Indrani Weeratunga, along with four generations of Vajira family and Dr. Vajira’s disciples. In his address, Chief Guest Hon. Minister Dr. Sarath

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Amunugama emphasized the role Dr. Vajira played in the making of Sri Lankan national identity. He also recalled the High Commission of India’s felicitation of the Sri Lankan musical icon Pt. Amaradeva in 2011 and underlined the significance of the felicitating Dr. Vajira as she is the dance icon of Sri Lanka. In her address, H.E. Chandrika Kumaratunga, former President of Sri Lanka focused on the stylistic aspects and various features of Dr. Vajira’s dance. She also remembered her days of studying Kandyan dance under the tutelage of Dr. Vajira and her involvement in developing the dance for various kinds of expressions. In his address, H.E. Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India said that the event was to celebrate Dr. Vajira’s remarkable artistic journey spanning over six decades and her achievements. He underlined that Dr. Vajira is credited with creating the female version of Kandyan dancing and that some of the most treasured ballets of Sri Lanka such as Karadiya and Nala-Damayanthi were result of collaboration of Guru Chitrasena and Guru Vajira. He noted that indigenous dance theatre in Sri Lanka is firmly based on the traditions developed through


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the creative energy of Guru Chitrasena and Guru Vajira. He also acknowledged legendary role of Guru Chitrasena in the revival of Sri Lanka’s traditional dance forms and his exposure to India, through learning of Kathakali in Travancore in 1940 and study at Shantiniketan in 1945, which was a key influence in shaping his art form. He also mentioned about numerous tours to India undertaken by Chitrasena and Vajira together with Chitrasena Dance Company from 1959 to 1998. He highlighted that connection established by Chitrasena and Vajira with India has continued to flourish and mentioned a remarkable recent collaboration between the Chitrasena Dance Company and Nrityagram, an Indian Dance Ensemble in putting together a joint production “ Samhara” which received rave reviews in India, Sri Lanka, USA and elsewhere. High Commissioner Kantha said that day was also a celebration of the shared cultural heritage of Sri Lanka and India and emphasized that based on

shared, ancient roots, but nevertheless a living and dynamic cultural space is constantly renewed and revitalized through a process of give-and take and mutual appreciation . Mrs. Somalatha Subasinghe, eminent writer and theatre personality passionately spoke about life and illustrious career of Dr. Vajira, Chitrasena. Dr. Vajira Chitrasena was presented a felicitation plaque by H. E. Ashok K Kantha, High Commissioner of India. Mrs. Sharmila Kantha honoured Dr. Vajira Chitrasena by presenting her with a Shawl. The felicitation concluded with cutting of a cake to celebrate Dr. Vajira Chitrasena’s 81st birthday in presence of distinguished invitees, her family members and officials of the High Commission of India.

Intervention by India in the United Nations Human Rights Council under Agenda Item: 2 on the Resolution on Promoting Reconcilation and Accountability in Sri Lanka Mr. President, Allow me to make a few remarks on the resolution under discussion "Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka”. India believes that the report of the LLRC and its findings and recommendation provides a window of opportunity to forge a consensual way forward towards a lasting political settlement through genuine national reconciliation and the full enjoyment of human rights by all its citizens. We note with concern the inadequate progress by Sri Lanka in fulfilling its commitment to this Council in 2009. Further, we call on Sri Lanka to move forward on its public commitments, including on the d ev o l u t i o n o f p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t y t h ro u g h f u l l implementation of the 13th Amendment and building upon it. India has always been of the view that the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka provided a unique opportunity to pursue a lasting political settlement, acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka, including the Tamils. We call for effective and timely implementation of all the constructive recommendations contained in the LLRC report, including those pertaining to missing persons, detainees, disappearances and abductions, reduction of ‘high security zones’, return of private lands by the military and withdrawal of the security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province. We reiterate our call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives. We urge Sri Lanka to take forward measures to ensure accountability. We expect these measures to be to the satisfaction of the international community.

rehabilitation and reconstruction process in that country. Our efforts have contributed to the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons and the rebuilding of infrastructure and development, especially in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. While noting the commitment of Sri Lanka to hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council in September 2013, it is our expectation that the people of the province can exercise their democratic rights freely and without delay as guaranteed to them by the Sri Lankan Constitution. We note the invitation extended by Sri Lanka to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and urge her to undertake the visit at an early date. We hope that the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and UN Special Procedures continue their engagement in accordance with their mandate. We encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to expedite the process of a broad-based, inclusive and meaningful reconciliation and political settlement that ensures that all communities live in dignity with equal rights and equal protection of the laws. As a neighbour with thousands of years of relations with Sri Lanka, we cannot remain untouched by developments in that country and will continue to remain engaged in this matter.

As Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour, India remains engaged in a substantial way in the relief, resettlement, 29


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High Commissioner meets Ven. Senior Monks of the Mahasangha views on the need to enhance security for Sri Lankan pilgrims and to maintain the centuriesold cultural and civilizational links. It was agreed that the High Commission would hold consultations with the Ministry of Buddhasasana Affairs on any additional measures required in this regard. The Deputy High Commissioner had accordingly met Mr. M.K.B. Dissanayake, Secretary, Buddhasana Affairs, on 21 March, to follow up on this suggestion.

The High Commissioner of India has held meetings with Venerable Senior Monks of the Maha Sangha, to address their concerns about the two recent unfortunate incidents involving assaults on Sri Lankan Buddhist monks in Tamil Nadu state of India. He has underlined that these were isolated incidents and did not reflect the strong people-to-people bonds that have been an integral part of the close historical, cultural and civilizational ties between the two countries. In this context, he recalled the statement of the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India on 19th March 2013, expressing concern and reiterating that the state government of Tamil Nadu had taken immediate action to identify and prosecute the miscreants responsible for these incidents. The Government of India, in consultation with the concerned state governments, has taken and will continue to take all possible measures to ensure the safety, security and well-being of Sri Lankan visitors to India, including to Tamil Nadu. The meeting at India House on 23 March 2013 was attended by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero; Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thero; Ven. Kirima Wimalajoti Nayaka Thero; Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thero; Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thero; Ven. H. Kondangna Thero; Ven. Galagoda Attha Gnanasara Thero and Mr. Vasantha De Silva, Secretary Mahabodhi Society. Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thero, the Chief Incumbent of the Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka, briefed the gathering and expressed appreciation towards the extensive arrangements made by the Tamil Nadu police in recent days, to provide security for Sri Lankan pilgrims. The Venerable Senior Monks underlined the need for a closer dialogue between civil society and religious leaders on the two sides, to avoid such incidents. A proposal to initiate such a dialogue would be pursued in the coming days and months. During another meeting on 20 March 2013, attended by Ven. Prof. Bellanwilla Wimalaratna Anunayake Thero; Ven. Dr. Itapana Damalankara Anunayake Thero; Ven. Dr. Brahmanawathe Sivalee Thero; Ven. Dr. Akuretiye Nanda Thero; Ven. Dr. Nagoda Amarawansa Thero; and Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thero, there was a useful exchange of 30

The High Commissioner noted that the cultural interaction between India and Sri Lanka had been intense, resulting in constant cross-fertilization in the spheres of art, literature, culture and philosophy. The journey of the Holy Tree from India to Sri Lanka and back, nurtured by the soil of both lands and sustained through the caring hands of Indians and Sri Lankans, symbolized this exchange of ethos. In keeping with this spirit, it had been our joint endeavor to further enrich this heritage, which we continued to cherish. The successful organization of an exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka last year after a gap of 34 years, the visit of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka to India in September 2012 to inaugurate the University of Buddhist and Indic Studies at Sanchi and a series of events organized by our two countries to jointly commemorate the 2600th anniversary of the Attainment of Enlightenment by Lord Buddha (Sambuddhatva Jayanthi), stood testimony to this fact. People-to-people contacts constitute one of the fundamental pillars on which the edifice of the bilateral relationship rests. It is noteworthy that nearly 250,000 Sri Lankan nationals visited India and over 175,000 Indian nationals visited Sri Lanka in 2012. Sri Lanka´s bonds with India, including the state of Tamil Nadu, are historic and go back many centuries. A substantial number of the Sri Lankan nationals visiting India travel through Chennai, be it for purposes of tourism, pilgrimage or shopping. Of the 128 flights connecting Indian and Sri Lankan cities, 76 involve destinations in Tamil Nadu. In order to get a true perspective, the isolated incidents of attacks on Sri Lankan nationals should be seen against these important facts.


JANUARY - MARCH 2013

Launch of OIYC (Overseas Indian Youth Club), Colombo Chapter

Overseas Indian Youth Club (OIYC) is an initiative of the Ministry of overseas Indian Affairs to engage the diaspora youth in the age group of 18 – 30 years in countries having substantial diaspora population. The OIYC is providing an institutional mechanism in the Indian Missions/Posts abroad to engage young overseas Indians, students and professionals, including facilitation of their work in social sectors at the district level in India. The core membership of OIYC comprises the overseas

youth who have availed of the facility to visit India under the Know India Programme (KIP). The endeavour is also to include participants of other Programmes of the Ministry such as Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC), Study India Programme (SIP), etc. Through this core group the Indian Missions/Posts will reach out to other diaspora youth. The Scheme has been initially started in those countries from where there has been a good participation in the Know India Programmes till date. The OIYC has been launched in Durban, South Africa, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Melbourne, Australia and Singapore. Other 19 Missions with high Indian diasporic population had been identified for the formation of OIYC.

Visit of High Commissioner of India to Helboda, Nuwara Eliya district The High Commissioner of India H.E. Ashok K. Kantha visited Helboda, Nuwara Eliya district, Central Province on 2 April 2013. During the visit, the High Commissioner, along with Hon. Dullas Alahapperuma, the Minister for Youth Affairs and Skills Development, inaugurated the Vocational Training Centre (VTC) at Helboda. At the event, the High Commissioner handed over advanced technology equipment, vehicles and books worth SLR 65 million, in the presence of Hon. Navin Dissanayake, Minister for Public Administration and Reforms, Members of Parliament Mr. V. Radhakrishnan and Mr. P. Rajadurai, Central Provincial Council Members and Mr. A. Natarajan, Assistant High Commissioner of India, Kandy. Mr. Thilakarathne, Secretary, Ministry of Skills Development; Col. Darshana Ratnayake, the Chairman of VTA; Mr. W.D. Fernando, Director (Training), VTA; and Mr.

Niroshana Perera, Regional Director, VTC, Nuwara Eliya, were also present during the ceremony. In his remarks, the High Commissioner noted that India had undertaken to implement projects to set up Vocational Training Centres in various parts of Sri Lanka under Indian grant assistance, to help students gain professional knowledge leading to gainful employment and self-entrepreneurship. He highlighted that VTC Helboda was the sixth Vocational Training Centre set up with the support of the Government of India and would help students from the Central Province and adjoining areas to pursue training and build a career in vocational trade. India had earlier supported setting up of VTCs at Nuwara Eliya, Hatton, Puttalam, Vantharamullai and Onthachimadam. The High Commissioner appreciated

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the valuable support extended by Hon. Dullas Alahapperuma. W h i l e a d d re s s i n g t h e g a t h e r i n g , H o n . D u l l a s Alahapperuma, Minister for Youth Affairs and Skills Development, expressed the gratitude of the Government of Sri Lanka to India for providing valuable assistance in the of vocational training sector. He added that the government looked forward to receiving more such assistance and support in the future. In his remarks, Hon. Navin Dissanayake, Minister for Public Administration and Reforms, said that India had undertaken great interest in economic assistance to Sri Lanka and that this helped further strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries.

The VTC at Helboda has been set up under the Memorandum of Understanding for setting up the VTC in Nuwara Eliya with an Indian grant assistance of SLR 215 million, signed with the Government of Sri Lanka in July 2011. The Implementing Agency for the Project is Hindustan Machine Tools HMT(I). The High Commissioner's visit to the Central Province helped review the progress of Indian-assisted projects in the Province and in exploring opportunities to further develop economic, cultural and people-to-people links between India and Central Province of Sri Lanka. The Government of India has been implementing a variety of multi-sectoral projects in Sri Lanka based on the needs and priorities identified by the people of Sri Lanka.

CULTURE

World Hindi Day Celebrations students giving examples from the phonetic systems of the both the languages. He also exemplified the errors that commonly occur to Sri Lankans while they speak Hindi. In his presentation he stressed the necessity of teaching Manak (standard) Hindi so that the standardization of Hindi as living language in various parts of the world can happen.

The Indian Cultural Centre, Colombo celebrated World Hindi Day 10 January 2013 with colourful cultural performances and holding a special conference on the subject “The influence of Hindi in Sri Lanka”. Mr. P. Kumaran, Deputy High Commissioner of India was the Chief Guest. Prof. Indra Dassanayake, a well known Hindi literary personality and former Professor of Hindi, University of Kelaniya, Prof. Lakshman Senevirathna, well known Hindi Professor at University of Kelaniya and Mrs. Nilanthi Rajapakse, Lecturer in Hindi at University of Jayewardenepura participated in the conference and made presentations on the Influence of Hindi in Sri Lanka as well as elucidated the emergence of Hindi as a world language. Prof. Indra Dissanayake recalled her experiences while participating in the World Hindi Conference at Nagpur in 1975 where Mrs. Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India announced the decision of making January 10 as a World Hindi Day. She underlined the need of teaching Hindi and providing accessibility to more books in Hindi in the field of humanities and culture in Sri Lanka as well as the necessity of more and more translation of literary works from Hindi to Sinhala. Prof. Lakshman Senevirathna illustrated the need of corrective measures to be taken while teaching Hindi to the Sri Lankan 32

Mrs. Nilanthi Rajapaksa illustrated the age-long cultural relationship of Sri Lanka with India and the development of teaching Hindi in Sri Lanka since 1965. She spoke about the influence of Hindi happened through the Bollywood films and music. She highlighted the need of commencing Post-graduate classes in Hindi in Sri Lankan Universities so that the relationship between the countries will become more cordial. Listening to the points raised by the scholars in Hindi Mr. P. Kumaran, Deputy High Commissioner of India informed the audience that the Indian Cultural Centre will be soon commencing its Language Lab and the students of Hindi can make use of this new facility in the Cultural Centre for developing their skills in correct pronunciation of Hindi. The students of the Centre made presentations of Hindi songs, dances and skits. 297 students received certificates and prizes for their participation in the Hindi Examination conducted by Centre and for the competitions held as part of the Hindi Diwas 2012. The Centre conducted competitions such as poetry, essay,


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“Brunthagaanam" - A Cultural Evening ‘Brunthagaanam’ – A cultural evening held in Jaffna on 9 March 2013, the Consulate General of India, Jaffna organized the first-ever Veena and Mandolin musical instrument performance titled “Brunthagaanam” by the artistes of Brunthagaanalaya (BGL) Foundation, Colombo at the Veerasingam Hall, Jaffna. This initiative of the Consulate General of India is fourth in series with the patronage of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India to promote local cultural talents through cultural institutions in Northern Province who are involved in promoting Indian classical cultural dance and music. The BGL Foundation conducts musical classes for children in the traditional Indian musical instrument viz “Veena” and “Mandolin” both in Jaffna and Colombo. The Saturday event was performed in two parts - Veena recital with

Thavil and Mandolin with Thavil recital, spread over one hour. The Violin recital was by Mrs. Kokilathvani Vijayaragavan and Mr. Viswanathakurukkal Sivakumarsarma disciple of Mrs. Kokilathvani Vijayaragavan performed on Mandolin. The event had an overwhelming response, the special feature being the presence of prominent musicians of Northern Province who were deeply involved in the promotion of the Indian classical music and dance in Northern Province and who were honoured at the event. Earlier, the Consulate had organized two cultural events in association with Centre for Performing Arts (Thirumalai Kala Mandram), Jaffna and one event with the Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts, University of Jaffna.

Thyagaraja Aradhana (English:’five gems’), which are often sung in programme in his honour. In addition to Vocalists, Veena, Violin, Mridangam, Harmonium, Nagaswaram and Tavil artistes Participated in the festival. The event was organized by the Indian Cultural Centre annually.

Over 200 musicians and aficionados of Carnatic music from various parts of Sri Lanka, including Batticalo and Jaffna assembled at the New Kathiresan Hall on February 15, 2013, to sing Saint Thyagaraja’s compositions under the direction of Kalasuri Smt. Aruntathy Sri Ranganathan. Five of his compositions called the Pancharatna Krithis 33


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Children’s Festival screening Chota Sipai, on 27th February in the programme “Paper Designs” children were taught easy methods of creating paper images followed by a film screening Ebegetiya, The above 2 days the programmes were conducted by Ms. Fayaza. On 28th February a Magic show was presented by Dinesh the Dynamic and this was followed by a film screening Bhago Bhoot . The last day 1 March, the children were initiated in dancing though the programme “Let us dance” and this was followed by a film screening titled Keshu. The festival was very well enjoyed by the children who took part. The Indian Cultural Centre in association with Children’s Film Society, India organized a Children’s Festival. The festival was conceived to engage children in the activities that enhance their creativity and imagination. The four day festival is designed with veryday orientation programme on a subject and to be followed by screening of a children’s film. The festival included film screenings of Children film in various Indian languages and other activities. On 26th February in the programme titled “Wonders of drawing” where children were taught easy methods to draw and this was followed by a film

Geet Madhuri 2013 The “Old Hindi Film & Song Lovers' Society of Sri Lanka" organized “Geeth Maduri- A Musical Show” on 3 March 2013 at 2.00 p.m. at Lumbini Theatre, Havelock Town, Colombo 05. The event was supported by the High Commission of India and the Indian Cultural Centre. The Old Hindi Film & Song Lovers’ Society of Sri Lanka, founded in 2001 with the objective of promoting and sharing their common love of old Hindi films and songs, brings together three generations of Sri Lankans who have grown up listening to melodious old Hindi film songs. Geet Madhuri -2013 was continuation of event organized last year at the Bishop’s College Auditorium, which was appreciated by a fully-packed house. Connoisseurs of old Hindi music were witness to a musical treat on 3 March 2013 at Lumbini theatre with beautiful renditions of classical Hindi songs with orchestra conducted by the renowned Sri Lankan Music Director Sarath De Alwis. Cultural relations between India and Sri Lanka have traditionally been close and friendly, transcending

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recorded history, reflecting shared cultural and civilization heritage and further reinforced by the continuing cultural exchanges. A facet of this relationship is the huge popularity of Hindi films and songs in Sri Lanka, playing an important role in strengthening peopleto-people contacts. Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation's (SLBC) collection of Indian film songs, particularly old songs, is probably unmatched. The “Old Hindi Film & Song Lovers’ Society of Sri Lanka conducts a number of programmes pertaining to Hindi films and songs all over Sri Lanka.


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Bharatha Natyam Dance Recital by Sahana Balasubramanya Indian Culture Centre, Colombo organized a Bharata Natyam Dance Recital by Sahana Balasubramanya an upcoming Bharata Natyam exponents from India at its auditorium on 8 February 3013. Sahana Balasubramanya has been trained by renowned Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan for twelve years in the Tanjavur style of Bharatanatyam at Ganesa Natyalaya, Delhi. She has performed widely as a solo performer and received critical acclaim for the same. She is also a member of her guru’s troupe and has danced at major festivals both in

India and abroad. She has given solo performances for AID, Epicentre, Gurgaon, Gayatri Fine Arts, Sahitya Kala Parishad, Chinmaya Mission, India International Centre, DRDO, Pracheen Kala Kendra (Chandigarh), visiting UGC delegates at Lady Sri Ram College and at the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Japan, among others. Sahana is a senior dance faculty member at Ganesha Natyalaya. Sahana’s dance recital commenced with a Pushpanjali and concluded with a brisk Thillana. Around 80guests attended the event.

Bharatanatyam by Ganna Smirnova and Oxana Indian Culture Centre, Colombo organized a Bharata Natyam Dance programme by Ganna Smirnova, well known Bharata Natyam exponents from Ukraine at its auditorium.

empanelled as an artiste by ICCR since 2004. She is a teacher of Indian classical Dance and Yoga in the Department of Arts and Aesthetic Education in the T.G. Shevchenko National University since 2004 onwards.

Ganna Smirnova did her Post Graduate Diploma in Indian Classical Dance (Bharata Natyam) with the ICCR Scholarship from Triveni Kala Sangam under the legendary Guru Jayalakshmi Eswar 1998-2003 and

Ganna´s dance recital commenced with Pushpanjalai and followed by Brahma Kautuvum, Devi Mangalam, Meera Bhajan and concluded with Thillana. Around 75 guests attended the event.

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India-Sri Lanka Foundation supports participation of “Beat Drummers” group from Sri Lanka in the World Percussion Festival, 2013, New Delhi India-Sri Lanka F o u n d a t i o n s u p p o r t e d participation of 10 member “Beat Drummers” troupe from Sri Lanka led by Sachintha de Silva at the World Percussion Festival organized by Krishna Prerna Charitable Trust and Times of India Group in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in New Delhi from 22 -26 February, 2013. The three-day long World Percussion Festival brought together some of the best and renowned percussionists and musicians from around the world. It opened with a performance by renowned percussionist Pandit Bhawani Shankar and his group, P a k h a w a j D h a ro h a r . T h e concluding act on the first day was a performance by Sri Lankan group “Beat Drummers”. Beat Drummers performed a mix of traditional and fusion pieces using traditional drums such as gata b e ra , p a h a t h a ra t a b e ra , thammatam and daul. They also used the beadhoo and udukei drums, instruments that have been created by them. Performance of the Beat Drummers from Sri Lanka was very well received by the audience and the Group also performed in Kolkatta. In order to promote greater understanding of the unique cultures of the two countries, India-Sri Lanka Foundation plays a catalytic role in promoting cultural exchanges between India and Sri Lanka.

Some of the recent projects which were funded by the ISLF includes visit of famous photographer Benoy Behl to capture images of Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka; visit of Flute Maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia to participate in the Colombo Music Festival; organization of “Divine Ecstasy”, a cultural event with a combination of cultural performances and workshops by Mr. T.M Krishna, Mrs. Alrmel Valli, and Mr. P. Unnikrishnan in Jaffna coinciding with the Annual Nallur Temple Festival; staging of a dance drama “Blood relation born by Thambapanni” in Ladakh, India; participation of 27 members of various theatre groups from India in the Colombo International Theatre Festival 2012; re-staging of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore´s dance-drama ´Shaap Mochan´ in various parts of Sri Lanka; and part support to staging of Samhara, a dance drama by Chitrasena Dance Company and Nirtyagram Dance Ensemble from India. The India - Sri Lanka Foundation was established by a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of India and Sri Lanka in 1998 in order to foster India - Sri Lanka relations through the enhancement of economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation and to promote greater understanding between the people of the two countries. Further information about the activities supported by the India-Sri Lanka Foundation and form for submitting proposals for consideration of India-Sri Lanka F o u n d a t i o n c a n b e s e e n a t http://www.hcicolombo.org/index.php?option=com_pages&id=16.

Ragamalika - Music Concert by Kavalam Sreekumar Gobithas and on Mridangam by Thivyarooba Sarma. Sreekumar followed the traditional style of Carnatic music and began with a varnam and proceeded to the main raga and ended with lighter items. The concert was organised with the support of State Bank of India, Colombo, Bluescope Lysaght, Taj Samudra, and Asian Paints.

Indian Cultural Centre, Colombo in association with COMAL organised a Carnatic Vocal Concert by renowned musician Kavalam Sreekumar on Saturday 23 February 2013 at its auditorium. He was accompanied on Violin by 36


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Gift of books on Buddhism to University of Colombo On behalf of the High Commissioner, Birender Singh Yadav, Counsellor(Press, Information & Culture), High Commission of India gifted a set of books on Buddhism to the Pali & Buddhist Studies Unit of the University of Colombo on 15th March 2013. Books were gifted pursuant to request received in this regard after the successful organization of International Buddhist Conference organized by ICCR at SIBA, Kandy in March 2011. Speaking on the occasion, Counsellor(PIC) recalled High Commissioner's remarks made recently at the Sri Lanka India Society event that successful organization of an exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka after a gap of 34 years and which saw approximately 3.5 million Sri Lankan paying homage to the Sacred Relics was a pointer to the common cultural heritage shared by the two countries which has flourished and strengthened over the centuries with people to people contacts and cross fertilization of

intellectual ideas, traditions, c u l t u ra l v a l u e s a n d o t h e r practices while at the same time retaining their unique identity. Counsellor(PIC) also referred to felicitation of Dr. Vajira Chitrasena later this evening as also an example of strong cultural bonds existing between India and Sri Lanka. In his remarks, Prof. Asanga Thilakaratne acknowledged emergence of India as a major Publishing hub and thanked High Commission of India for gift of books to the Buddhist and Pali Studies Unit of the University of Colombo. Also present at the occasion were Prof. Athula Ranasinghe, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo, Dr. Sandagomi Coperahewa, Director, Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies (CCIS), University of Colombo, senior faculty members and students of the Buddhist and Pali Studies Unit, University of Colombo.

Book launch on Cinema Linkages with the support of ISLF “The Early Sri Lankan Cinema and its Association with the South Indian Film Industry” - a book authored by Mr. Ashley Ratnavibushana & Mr. M.L.M Mansoor & published with the support of India- Sri Lanka Foundation was launched at National Film Cooperation Auditorium on the 24th February 2013. An authority on Asian cinema Dr. Aruna Vasudev, President of NETPAC, India and Mr. Wong Tuck Cheong (Malaysia), Honorary Secretary of the NETPAC were the guest of Honour and the event was graced by many well known Sri Lankan artists including Member of Parliament Hon. Malini Fonseka and Mr. Sanath Gunathileka. This book traces the exciting history of the early period of Sri Lankan cinema through interviews conducted with the surviving directors of the e a r l y S i n h a l a fi l m s i n c l u d i n g A . B. R a j a n d K.Sethumadhavan. It also includes lengthy interviews conducted with Film News Anandan and Randor Guy, the noted historians and Archivists of South Indian cinema. Rare photographs that throw light on a forgotten era of the South Indian and Sri Lankan film industries also adore this publication. The book objectively analyzes contributions made by the directors, technicians and musicians to the development of the Sinhala cinema ever since the first Sinhala movie 'Kadavunu Porunduwa' (Broken Promise) in 1947. In recent years various research and publications have been supported by the India-Sri Lanka Foundation to

promote cultural linkages between the two countries. Some projects funded includes, p a r t i a l f u n d i n g f o r p re p a ra t i o n a n d publication of a Crafts Map of Sri Lanka by Western Provincial Handicrafts Development Foundation in association with Dastkari Haat Samithi of New Delhi; preparation and publication of a Braille edition of a Sinhala practical course in Hindustani classical music; preparation and publication of a Sinhala- English- Hindi dictionary, (the first of its kind); compilation and publication of a book “Bharatha Natyam - a Divine Dance”; production of an etymological Dictionary of Dravidian words in Sinhala; publication of a commemorative volume containing articles about Tagore on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindarnath Tagore; publication of the book “Sri Lankan Economy” – CA text book for graduate Students of Sri Lanka; and publication of a book on Basics of Bharatha Natyam – explaining the historical, spiritual and cultural context of the dance for students of Sri Lanka. The India - Sri Lanka Foundation was established by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka in 1998 in order to foster India - Sri Lanka relations through the enhancement of economic, scientific, technical and c u l t u ra l c o o p e ra t i o n a n d t o p ro m o t e g re a t e r understanding between the peoples of the two countries. The Foundation is financed through revenues from a Trust Fund set up with grants made available by the two Governments.

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"Drishya Sandhya" by Santiniketan Friends " Drishya Sandhya" a cultural evening of art, Dance and Music extravaganza was staged by Santiniketan Friends at the Buddhist Cultural Centre Auditorium, Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Mandiraya, Colombo 5 on 11 March 2013. High Commisssioner Ashok K. Kantha graced the event as Chief Guest. The event was supported by the High Commission of India and was one of the events sponsored under the Ministry of Culture’s grant-in-aid scheme for India-Sri Lanka Friendship Societies. Chandana, Thilini, Anusha, Peshala, Maduranga and their students mesmerized the audience with their awesome performances. Beauty of the evening was that such was the fusion of different art forms that not for a single moment, one thought that performances were dragging on. It was a treat to watch

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how these eminent alumni of Santiniketan and other Indian Cutltural Institutes have synthesized their learning with the local milieu and in the process have generated a truly amazing talent. Truly remarkable was the gesture of honouring the Sri Lankan stalwarts from the field of music (instrumental and vocal), dance and painting by the Santiniketan Friends, a “Guru-Shishya” parampara so unique to our part of world. Chandana has taken the lead in forming Santinketan Friends which comprises alumni of different Indian institutes including Santiniketan. Char Adhyay staged in September 2012 by Santiniketan Friends at John de Silva hall was also a stupendous success. The event shows the richness of people-topeople contacts between India and Sri Lanka which has further enriched by talented group of artists such as Santiniketan Friends.


JANUARY - MARCH 2013

Events in pics Holi on the Beach

rk Shop ntre o W k a h t Ka ltural Ce u C n a i d n at I

Inauguration o Fashion Show f Society Collection & Trade Exhibit ion Hilton on 22 M at arch

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Felicitation of Dr. Vajira Chitrasena by the High Commission of India

Published by High Commission of India, Colombo

The information and articles are collected from different sources and do not necessarily reflect the views of the High Commission Suggestions regarding improvement of the “SANDESH� may please be addressed to Birender S. Yadav, Counsellor (Press, Information & Culture) High Commission of India No. 36 -38, Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka Tel: +94-11 2327587, +94-11 2422788-9 Fax: +94-11-2446403, +94-11 2448166 E-mail: cpiccolombo@gmail.com


Sandesh January-March 2013