"NorthEast is very close to India's heart"- Foreign Secretary

[TamilNet, Saturday, 30 April 2005, 14:21 GMT]
"India is committed to assisting in the development of Sri Lanka's NorthEast through economic and technical assistance. The welfare and well-being of the people living in the NorthEast is very close to India's heart," Mr.Shyam Saran, Indian Foreign Secretary said Saturday in Trincomalee handing over a consignment of materials worth about five million rupees donated by the Government of India to the Government Technical College located in Mihindupura, a suburb of the east port town.


Indian Foreign Secretary visits
Mr.Shyam Saran is being taken in a procession to the venue by Principal Mr.Suntheralingam and his staff

Indian Foreign Secretary visits
At the conclusion of the event Mr.Saran ( second front left ) is posing for a photograph with Mr.Sampanthan ( extreme left ), Ms Nirupama Rao, Mr.Thurairatnasingham ( second from right ) and Mr.Thiagalingam ( extreme right ), Secretary to the Provincial Ministry of Education
Mr.Shyam Saran accompanied by his Joint Secretary Ms Neelan Deo and Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Ms Nirupama Rao were received at the entrance to the college by Mr.V. Suntheralingam, Principal and his staff. They were then taken in a procession to the venue with the band music of Sri Shanmuga Hindu Girls College in attendance. Mr.Gamini Rodrigo, Trincomalee Government Agent also was present.

Students of the Technical College boycotted the event protesting the organizers failure to invite officials of the Trincomalee political wing of the Liberation Tigers, and walked out of the college premises, one of the students said. They stood along the road in front of the college main entrance.

Indian Foreign Secretary visits
Mr.Shyam Saran handing over materials to Principal Mr.Suntheralingam
However the Police led by Senior Superintendent of Police Mr.H.N.B.Ambanwela ordered the protesting students to keep away from the main entrance of the college. Protestors were moved out of the site when the Indian Foreign Secretary arrived at the entrance, sources said.

Mr.Suntheralingam presided the event attended by two Trincomalee district parliamentarians Mr.R.Sampanthan, Mr.K.Thurairatnasingham and Mr.R.Thiakalingam, Secretary to the North East Provincial Education Ministry and college staff. At the conclusion of the event Mr.Sampanthan and Mr.Thurairatnasingham were introduced to Mr.Shyam Saran.

Mr.Suntheralingam made the welcome speech.

Excerpts from the speech made by Mr.Shyam Saran follows: -

Indian Foreign Secretary visits
( L-R) Ms Neelan Deo ( Joint Secretary ), Mr.Suntheralingam ( Principal ), Mr.Shyam Saran ( Foreign Secretary ) and Ms Nirupama Rao ( Indian envoy in Colombo ) at the head table
"I am delighted to be in the fabled harbour city of Trincomalee which is renowned in legend and history and known by a variety of names including Kona Malai and Tiru Kona Malai. The Thirukoneswaram Temple of Trincomalee is revered throughout South India. Thirugnanasampanthar, the Saivaite Saint of the AD 7th century, featured the temple in his devotional hymns. And as far as the natural beauty of Trincomalee is concerned, it has been aptly said nature has endowed the region with a beauty and grace that has not been excelled by man.

"The importance of Trincomalee as a place of strategic interest has also guided its destiny over the last 500 years. Therefore, to be in Trincomalee is a most interesting and educative experience.

"India is committed to assisting in the development of Sri Lanka's NorthEast through economic and technical assistance. The presence of the Lanka-IOC Corporation in Trincomalee and assistance to projects such as the one involving Trincomalee technical College are symbolic and representative of the close and enduring ties that we have with the NorthEast of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee has also provided an important setting for the close interaction between the navies of our two countries. I was particularly glad to have had the opportunity during my visit here today to meet with officers of the Eastern Naval Area; many of them have very pleasant memories of the periods they spent on training in India.

Indian Foreign Secretary visits
Mr.Shyam Saran talking to Indian envoy in Sri Lanka Ms Nirupama Rao on his arrival at Trincomalee Technical College main entrance
"Our ties with your city were further cemented in the aftermath of the tragic tsunami. The Government and the people of India reached out spontaneously to help Sri Lanka after the tsunami. Our disaster relief teams worked tirelessly with the Sri Lankans including here in Trincomalee, to restore normalcy. In the NorthEast, our Navy and Army teams helped to restore communications, administer medical relief, provide drinking water, restore functioning of hospitals and helped to rebuild the damaged bridge at Arugam Bay.

"Furthermore, we wish to make a lasting contribution to post-tsunami reconstruction. We are finalising our plans in this regard in close consultation with the Government of Sri Lanka. The Government of India is providing a sum of US $ 23 million for tsunami rehabilitation projects in this country. Our intention is to execute projects that will provide maximum benefit and relief to the tsunami hit areas.

Indian Foreign Secretary visits
Police ordering Trincomalee Technical College students to move away from the main gate of the institution to provide security to the visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Mr.Shyam Saran
"The welfare and well-being of the people living in the NorthEast is very close to India's heart. There are many ties of shared culture, language and history that tie our peoples together. As an Indian and as a citizen of a multiethnic pluralistic democracy, I believe that socio-economic development is predicated on the universal and fundamental principles of democracy, and respect for pluralism and human rights. India is firmly committed to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and for the peaceful and harmonious development of all sections of the Sri Lanka."

Ms Jeyapriya Thushyanthan proposed vote of thanks.

 

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