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Sri Lanka Celebrates its 76th National Day

Sri Lanka marked its 76th National Day on February 4, 2024, with utmost splendor and dignity at Galle Face Green in Colombo, symbolizing a renewed commitment to the idea “Let’s Build a New Country”. The notable occasion is a testimony to Sri Lanka’s resilience with which the country has traversed its path thereby completing 75 years of statehood.

The event was chaired by the Chief Guest, President, His Excellency, Ranil Wickremesinghe, the President and Commander Chief of the Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka. His Excellency, the President, was welcomed to the occasion by Honourable Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Shavendra Silva, along with the Tri-Service commanders.

The highlight of the ceremony was the colourful Tri-Service Guard of Honour presented to the President, followed by a customary 21-gun salute rendered by the Sri Lankan Artillery Regiment, honouring his commitment and leadership to the nation. The ceremony continued with a 21-gun salute, followed by a vibrant independence-day parade featuring the Tri-Forces, the Civil Defence Force, and the National Cadet Corps.

The event was graced by a distinguished dignitary and Guest of Honour, Thailand’s Prime Minister, Honourable Srettha Thavisin whose presence at the auspicious occasion further reaffirmed the commitment of the two nations in the domains of business, tourism and trade.

In a message addressing the nation and the global community, the President of Sri Lanka observed and took pride as he declared, “As we commemorate 75th year of Nations Independence , we encountered the indignity of being labelled as financially bankrupt country. Upon the advent of the 76th National Independence Day, we have navigated through many challenges , steering the economy toward with stability with the support of global community”. Echoing confidence and optimism for the country’s bright future, President Wickremesinghe reiterated Sri Lanka’s steadfast commitment to bounce back in its journey of progress and prosperity. He stressed the need to obtain insights from past mistakes and avoid their repetition, thereby urging all Sri Lankans, at home and abroad, to contribute their utmost energy to the mission of rebuilding the nation. On similar lines, the Prime Minister also observed the facets of the history of this great nation, which is celebrating Independence Day at a time when it is returning to the path of progress after facing an unprecedented economic crisis, marking the 76th National Day as a new turning point in Sri Lanka’s history.

Furthermore, Sri Lankan National Day was also attended by representatives from countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Japan. The Indian side was represented by Minister of State, External Affairs, V. Mureedharan. The visit, which will be the second high-level visit from India to Sri Lanka, will see Dr. S. Jaishankar visit the country and announce India’s support for the country’s debt restructuring programme in January 2024.

Sri Lanka-India relations have been consistently marked by close contacts at the highest political, economic, health, education, cultural, and defence levels. Since 2008, the Government of India has committed Rs. 2000 crore as grant assistance and Rs. 7,000 crore under the Line of Credit to Sri Lanka. The diplomatic relationship between Sri Lanka and India has been further enhanced by high-level visits taking place between the dignitaries of the two nations. With the countries cooperating in bilateral and multilateral formats, the future of Sri Lanka-India relations looks promising, wherein their cooperation is expanding in the Indian Ocean Region, with Sri Lanka holding a very crucial position in the same.

Thus, the arrival of INS Karanj, an Indian Navy submarine, ahead of Sri Lanka’s National Day celebrations as part of an official visit only strengthens their partnership both symbolically and substantially.