Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra Celebrates 71st Anniversary of Independence

The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Canberra celebrated the 71st anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka with an official ceremony held in the morning of 4th February followed by an evening ceremony jointly organised with Sri Lanka cricket.

The official ceremony commenced with the hoisting of National Flag.  Two minutes silence was observed to respect all who sacrificed their lives for Sri Lanka’s independence, sovereignty and integrity. The blessings of religious leaders from all faiths; Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Christian were followed by the reading of messages of H.E the President, Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka.

The evening function was co-hosted with Sri Lanka cricket and was attended by over 400 guests.   ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Sports of Sri Lanka, Chief of Protocol of Australia, many senior government officials of Australia, Australian Cricket, members of the Diplomatic corps, players and officials of Sri Lankan national cricket team, and members of the Sri Lankan community attended the event.

Addressing the audience the High Commissioner said that “the bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Australia have grown significantly in recent years and a strong Australian presence could be seen in many of the economic activities in Sri Lanka in areas such as mining, dairy farming, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, education etc., while many Sri Lankan goods and services find their way into the Australian market.

With the signing of the Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement in 2017, trade and economic relations between the two countries are now being conducted in a more focused and structured manner. The scope of bilateral relations has also expanded into defence in recent times, which is given effect to through joint exercises, defence dialogues and seminars and cooperation through the respective defence and security agencies.

The High Commissioner paid tribute to the Sri Lankan community living in Australia  who had integrated well and contributed meaningfully to the Australian Economy excelling as State Governors, State Parliamentarians, Bankers, Doctors, Engineers, Academics, IT Specialists, Chefs, etc and added “who can forget the contribution of the late Justice Weeramantry who put  us on the legal map globally. We remain proud of their achievements.”

The High Commissioner highlighted that Cricket as a common activity that the people of both countries are passionate about.  He thanked Cricket Australia and ACT Cricket for giving Sri Lanka the opportunity to be part of cricket history in Canberra.

The visiting Sri Lanka Test cricket Team became part of Cricket history in Australia when they played in the first ever Test match in Canberra from 1 to 5 February. As a special gesture of respect by the authorities our National Anthem was sung at the Manuka Oval, before commencement of play on 4th February.

The High Commissioner further said that “on reflection we have faced many challenges in our beautiful Island Nation and are now poised to move further forward. Lonely Planet has identified Sri Lanka as their number one destination for 2019. BBC has recently selected Sri Lankan Cuisine as their first choice while the ever popular World Adventure Racing World Championship that has been held annually since 2001, initiated by the Canberra High Commission, will for the first time move to Asia in 2019 with Sri Lanka as the venue.

This World Event will not only showcase Sri Lanka for its beauty and culture but also for its potential for sports enthusiasts. ”

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and the Hon Minister for Sports Harin Fernando also briefly addressed the audience.

The guests were entertained to a typical Sri Lankan Dinner with traditional music.

 

Sri Lanka High Commission

Canberra

04 February 2019

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