High Commissioner of India H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu delivers Lalith Athulathmudali Commemoration Freedom Speech 

“India-Sri Lanka friendship is natural, mutual, spiritual and eternal”   

“To me, interconnectedness is, not a choice; it is a given. And to me, interconnectedness is not a sign of weakness; it is a weapon of strength.” 

High Commissioner of India H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu delivered Lalith Athulathmudali Commemoration Freedom Speech yesterday(26 November 2019) at the BMICH before a packed audience. The topic of the address was “Ïndia- Sri Lanka relations for a shared and secured future”.  The Oration was organised by the Lalith Athulathmudali Foundation, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, and the Institute for Democracy and Leadership.

The Oration coincided with 83rd birth anniversary of Hon. Lalit Athulathmudali,the anniversary of dastardly terror attacks in Mumbai (26/11),and the Constitution Day of India (when the Indian Constitution was adopted).High Commissioner paid homage to all victims of terror attacksin India, Sri Lanka and across the globe.

High Commissioner termed the recently concluded Presidential Elections in Sri Lanka as “a festival of democracy”.  High Commissioner spoke about the recent visit of External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S. Jaishanker to Sri Lanka, who was the first foreign dignitary to call on the new President, H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa.  High Commissioner also spoke about the forthcoming visit of President of Sri Lanka to India later this week, makingIndiathe destination for his first overseas visit.  High Commissioner recalled that PM Modi was the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka after the Easter attacks. High Commissioner noted that all these high-level exchanges underlined the special nature of India-Sri Lanka ties.

High Commissioner pointed out that national security goes beyond physical securing of one’s own borders; if the region and the world are in turmoil, we cannot remain safe. He added that in this era of internet and cyberspace, ideas and ideologies travel at the click of a mouse, beyond borders, on a real time basis. He underscored the need to keep the forces which perpetrate the Jehadi ideology at bay.

High Commissioner highlighted the strong cooperation between India and Sri Lanka in the field of defence and security, and development partnership. He emphasised that India could offer more in these fields depending on Sri Lanka’s own requirements.

Quoting that change is the only constant, High Commissioner stressed on the importance of not remaining prisoners of the past, and of analysing things, as they are today, to see how India and Sri Lanka can together shape a better world for our people.  Speaking about his vision of India-Sri Lanka relations for the future, High Commissioner noted that India and Sri Lanka have a lot to offer to each other, and to the world. He added that though both India and Sri Lanka are ancient civilizations, they are also nations of youth. He pointed out the need to transform the existing potential into reality, through more connectivity, more travel and tourist inflows, more investments, in both directions.