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International Day of Yoga marked at Independence Square (Pics)

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In the morning of 17 June 2023, High Commission of India and Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), the cultural arm of the High Commission, in collaboration with various yoga institutes organised a yoga event at the iconic Independence Square in Colombo to mark the 9th International Day of Yoga (IDY).

The event saw participation of nearly a thousand people including the special invitees: Minister of Education – Dr. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Transport & Highways and Mass Media – Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Affairs – Ali Sabry, State Minister of Indigenous Medicine – Sisira Jayakody, State Minister of Education – A. Aravindh Kumar, State Minister of Higher Education – Dr. Suren Raghavan, High Commissioner of India – Mr. Gopal Baglay, officials and staff of the High Commission, students, police personnel, members of the Indian community and yoga enthusiasts in Sri Lanka also participated. The event was organised in partnership with Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka with hundreds of traditional medicine doctors and practitioners joining the programme.

The event at Independence Square commenced with prayers by the Chief Priest of the Parama Dhamma Chethiya Pirivena in Ratmalana, Most Venerable Dr. Maitipe Wimalasera Thero, invoking the blessings of the Buddha for humanity’s overall wellbeing. The highlight of the programme was a 20-minutes long Yoga and Meditation Session for the participants conducted by experts from 25 eminent Yoga institutes of Sri Lanka, such as Astanka Yoga Mandir, Ashtanga Yoga Lanka, Aum Kriya Babaji Yoga Aranyam, Brahma Kumari Raja Yoga Centre, Hatha Yoga Centre, Institute of Human Excellence, Rhythmic Yoga Academy, The Art of Living, Yoga for Divine Life, Rama Krishna Mission, Sethsada Yoga Nikethanaya, University of Colombo, University of Kelaniya, University of Sri Jayewardenepura and SVCC. This was followed by an Advanced Yoga Performance by a group of children from Mayurapathy Sri Bhadrakali Temple.

In the run-up to International Day of Yoga 2023, SVCC in collaboration with government institutions, yoga organisations and local partners, organised over 90 Yoga events, workshops, lectures and demonstrations for different age-groups and professions across the island. These events are an effort towards reinforcing the significance of the shared heritage of Yoga for holistic wellbeing among the people of Sri Lanka

IDY 2023 celebrations at Independence Square in Colombo formed a part of the special feature of IDY 2023 that brings together countries from ‘Arctic to Antarctic’, connecting them through the practice of yoga. High Commission of India will also organise another yoga event at the Port of Colombo on 21 June 2023, thereby joining the ‘Global Ocean Ring’ as a unique initiative marking IDY 2023. This year’s IDY celebrations resonate with the theme of India’s ongoing Presidency of the G20, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’.

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President inaugurates 10th National Scout Jamboree (Pics)

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As the Chief Scout of Sri Lanka, President Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurated the 10th National Scout Jamboree in Trincomalee today (Feb. 21).

 The National Scout Jamboree is being held in Trincomalee with the participation of 11,500 scouts, from SL & 28 other countries.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Jamboree, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized Sri Lanka’s potential for rapid development and security enhancement through unified action. 

He stressed the event’s inclusive nature, transcending caste and religious barriers, and highlighted the significance of national unity in achieving common goals. 

The President pledged support for expanding the Scout Association, recognizing its role in fostering responsible citizens. 

Additionally, he announced plans for collaboration between the Scout Association and the Ministry of Technology to harness cross-sector interactions for national progress.

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Indian High Commissioner visits Northern Province (Pics)

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High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka – Mr. Santosh Jha undertook his first official visit to the Northern Province from Feb. 15-17, 2024. 

Diverse engagements during the visit attest to the deep-rooted nature of the bilateral partnership as also India’s firm commitment to deepening socio-economic and cultural ties with Northern Province, a media release by the Indian High Commission notes. With grant assistance of more than SLR 70 billion, Northern Province has been a region of focus in India’s multi-dimensional development cooperation partnership with Sri Lanka and the visit was an opportunity to reiterate India’s unwavering commitment to the people of the region, it adds.
The High Commissioner paid special emphasis to furthering connectivity initiatives, the central theme of the bilateral economic partnership vision document issued in July 2023. He visited Kankesanthurai (KKS) Port and the historic Talaimannar Pier and spoke of the need for expeditious resumption of ferry services between the two countries. He expressed confidence regarding earliest recommencement of Nagapattinam-KKS ferry in the coming weeks and informed his interlocutors of ongoing efforts for the resumption of ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram. During his visit to Palaly Airport, he explored means to strengthen air connectivity through infrastructure development at the airport.

Underscoring the rich and shared cultural heritage between India and Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner offered prayers at the historic Ram Sethu (Adam’s Bridge). He also visited the ancient Thiruketheeswaram temple, which was renovated with grant assistance from the Government of India. He prayed for well-being and prosperity of the people of India and Sri Lanka as he paid respects at the Nagapooshani Amman Temple and Nagavihara in Nainativu island; revered Madhu Church in Mannar; and Nallur Kandaswamy temple. Further, he attended Thyagaraja Aradhana at the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre, a gift from the people of India. 

Reaffirming India’s commitment to diverse sections of the society, the High Commissioner distributed deep freezers to fishermen communities in Mannar towards enhancing their livelihood opportunities. He also distributed dry rations to hundreds of needy families in Jaffna and Kilinochchi, with special focus on those headed by women. 

In India’s endeavour to contribute towards addressing energy needs of islands off Jaffna, he assessed the readiness for early roll out of the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems Project in Nainativu Island. It may be recalled that this project is being implemented in Delft, Nainativu and Analaitivu Islands through grant assistance from India. 

The High Commissioner paid homage at the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) Memorial. 

The High Commissioner had engaging discussions with a wide cross section of stakeholders in the region including elected representatives, academics, and businessmen, among several others on avenues for further collaboration and development. 

(Pics : Indian High Commission in Colombo)

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Mace handed over to new Serjeant-at-Arms (Pics)

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Outgoing Serjeant-at-Arms of Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando traditionally handed over the Mace and the Sword of the Serjeant-at-Arms to his successor Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne this morning (Jan. 30) near the Chamber Door of the Parliament.

As the Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando is going to retire today (30) after serving in the Parliament for over 42 years, the Mace and his Sword were traditionally handed over to the successive Serjeant-at-Arms. 

Mr. Narendra Fernando, the 6th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament, took over the duties of the Serjeant-at-Arms from the year 2018.

Accordingly, Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne is scheduled to take over duties as the 7th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament tomorrow (Jan. 31).


(Pics : Department of Communication, Parliament)

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