The new High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay presented his Letter of Credence (credentials) to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today,in a ceremony held through video-conferencing.
The High Commissioner thanked the President for arranging the traditional ceremony in an innovative manner and stated that the use of technology to overcome challenges, such as those posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, has been stressed by the leadership of India as well as Sri Lanka, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said in a press release.
He pointed out that today’s novel initiative underscores the significance the two countries attach to their friendly and multi-faceted ties, and also highlights India’s continued commitment to closely work with Sri Lanka in facing common challenges.
The High Commissioner conveyed to President Rajapaksa and the people of Sri Lanka warm greetings from the leadership and the people of India. Stressing the immense significance attached by India to its relations with Sri Lanka, he reiterated the abiding commitment at the highest levels in India to developing and strengthening the existing close friendly ties and cooperation between the two countries.
Highlighting the shared Buddhist heritage of Sri Lanka and India, the High Commissioner stated that he had prayed to Lord Buddha through video calls earlier this week to Most Venerable Mahanyake of Asgiriya Chapter and Most Venerable Anunayake of Malwatte Chapter, for peace and prosperity of our two peoples.
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. In this context, the High Commissioner noted that 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.
In addition, Sri Lankan health professionals have also participated in various online-training programmes organised by eminent health institutions in India on management of COVID 19 pandemic. Re-iterating Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to jointly fight COVID-19 pandemic, the High Commissioner assured President Rajapaksa of India’s continued cooperation to Sri Lanka, including for economic recovery, in all manners possible.
He recalled that Prime Minister Modi had paid a solidarity visit to Sri Lanka during his first overseas tour after assuming the office in his second term and noted that the first overseas visit by the President to India in November 2019 had imparted significant momentum to the bilateral relationship.
Similarly, the first overseas visit by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in February 2020 after assuming office to India had guided the implementation of bilateral understandings for shared prosperity and security. The High Commissioner stated that he looked forward to working closely with the leadership of Sri Lanka for their further implementation as well as deepening India’s long-standing partnership with Sri Lanka as our closest maritime neighbours in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region.
Prior to his current assignment, High Commissioner Gopal Baglay served as Joint Secretary in Prime Minister’s Office in India since 2017. Earlier, he had worked in the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India including as the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry, Joint Secretary (External Publicity) Division, Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran), and Joint Secretary (States) from 2014-’17. He also served as the Deputy High Commissioner of India to Pakistan (2011-2014), and in Indian Missions in Kathmandu, London, Russia, and Ukraine.
A Master of Science, he speaks Hindi, Urdu, English and Russian languages and has also studied Sanskrit, Ukrainian and Nepali. He is currently observing the stipulated health protocols, at India House.