India committed to strengthen multi-faceted ties with Sri Lanka: Envoy

Colombo, May 23 (PTI) India is committed to strengthening the multi-faceted ties with Sri Lanka, especially the historical and deep civilisational, religious and cultural bonds, said the new Indian envoy to the island nation on Saturday.

Gopal Baglay, the new High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, on Saturday visited the religious cultural sites here which he said were important in furthering the historical bonds between the two South Asian neighbours.

Baglay visited the prominent Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, which is over 120 years old, and prayed for the health, peace and prosperity of the people of Sri Lanka and India and their friendship and cooperation, the Indian High Commission said in a statement.

This was his first movement from his official residence after observing stipulated health protocols since his arrival on May 8 on a special flight carrying a gift consignment of medicines and medical items from India to Sri Lanka.

Baglay presented his credentials to President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on May 14 during a ceremony held in Colombo through video-conferencing, a first of its kind conducted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The High Commissioner stressed the commitment of India’s leadership to strengthen multifaceted ties, especially the historical and deep civilisational, religious and cultural bonds, with Sri Lanka.

He later visited the St Anthony's Church to pay homage to the victims of the last year's Easter Sunday terrorist attacks that killed nearly 260 people, including 11 Indians, in one of the country''s worst terror incidents.

Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's gesture of solidarity in visiting Sri Lanka and the Church at the first possibility after the Easter attacks, the High Commissioner prayed for peace, safety and security of the two countries.

The Indian envoy reiterated India's abiding commitment to develop even stronger all-round cooperation with Sri Lanka, including in the sphere of people-to-people relations.

Earlier while presenting his credintials, the High Commissioner recalled that as Sri Lanka’s closest maritime neighbour, India has been the first responder when Sri Lanka faced difficulties, be it natural calamities, or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

India has sent four consignments of essential life-saving medicines and medical material weighing over 25 tonnes to Sri Lanka in the last few weeks as goodwill support from the people of India. PTI CORR PMS PMS