The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay undertook a three-day visit to the Northern Province from 29 November to 1 December 2023, accompanied by senior diplomats of the High Commission.
Attesting to the significance of developing railway infrastructure under India-Sri Lanka development cooperation partnership for the benefit of the people of Sri Lanka, the delegation undertook a journey by Sri Lankan Railways from Colombo to Medawachchiya in modern coaches supplied under an Indian credit line.
The train journey also provided an opportunity to experience the riding comfort offered by the upgraded railway line from Anuradhapura. The upgradation work is undertaken by reputed Indian public sector company IRCON, under an ongoing Indian line of credit for upgradation of Maho-Omanthai segment.
The delegation visited Talaimannar and Kankesanthurai passenger facility on 29 December in pursuance of the ongoing efforts for enhanced connectivity through ferry services between mutually agreed points in India and Sri Lanka.
Connectivity is the central theme of the economic partnership vision expounded jointly by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and President Ranil Wickremesinghe, during the latter’s visit to India in July 2023.
Expeditious resumption of regular ferry services is at the focus of attention of the Governments of India and Sri Lanka, who are working closely together in this regard.
The High Commissioner visited three islands off Jaffna, namely Nainativu, Analaitivu and Delft, on 30 December to assess the preparedness for implementing the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems project. The Government of India has committed to support this project with grants in order to address the energy needs of the inhabitants of these islands.
Responding to diverse requirements of various sections of the society, the High Commissioner inaugurated a programme to donate 1000 school bags to students across Mannar District at Murunkan Maha Vidyalayam on 29 December in presence of Minister of State for Rural Economy, K. Kader Masthan.
The High Commissioner also launched a special financial assistance scheme for under-privileged students in University of Jaffna on 1 December.
In addition, he distributed dry rations to more than 500 families, in Jaffna and Delft Island. Deep freezers were donated to 15 fishermen cooperatives for the use of fishermen in Jaffna region.
Interacting with representatives of the cooperatives at Pasaiyoor, the High Commissioner stressed that India is striving to bring benefits of scientific research and expertise for commercially sustainable development of fisheries in Sri Lanka, including in the Northern Province so that the benefits can directly reach the fishermen and the common people.
At the Indian Peace Keeping Forces memorial in Jaffna, the High Commissioner paid homage to the brave sons of India who made the supreme sacrifice in Sri Lanka.
This was the High Commissioner’s last of several visits to Jaffna during his assignment to Sri Lanka and underscored India’s abiding commitment to the development and well-being of the people of Sri Lanka, including in the Northern Province, through enhanced development cooperation and expanded economic partnership in accordance with the priorities and the requirements of the people of the region.