Sri Lanka continues to be a key part of India’s “neighbourhood first” policy, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said today.The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 68th Republic Day of India today at India House in Colombo. He highlighted India’s achievement in social, political and economic fields in the last six and half decades. Today, India is the fastest growing economy amongst the major economies of the world. India is the second largest reservoir of scientific and technical manpower, the third largest army, the sixth member of the nuclear club, the sixth member in the race for space, and the tenth largest industrial power. From a net food grains importing country, India is now a leading exporter of food commodities.Highlighting recent initiatives of the Government of India, President mentioned flagship initiatives such as Swachh Bharat Mission, MGNREGA, Aadhaar, Digital India programme, Start-up India, Atal Innovation Mission, and Skill India initiative. (Colombo Gazette) He stated that the Indian flagship housing project, aiming to construct 50,000 houses, is proceeding well with over 45,300 houses constructed till date. The High Commissioner also cautioned against the threat posed by the dark forces of terrorism and stressed the necessity of defeating these forces decisively.The High Commissioner and officials of the High Commission paid their respects to the memory of fallen soldiers of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in a solemn ceremony at the IPKF memorial in Colombo.The High Commissioner credited strong democratic institutions built over the last six and a half decades for making India an oasis of stability. High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu unfurled the Indian flag and inspected a Guard of Honour presented by a contingent of the Border Security Force. Speaking here, the High Commissioner congratulated the Government on the completion of two years in office. Stating that Sri Lanka continues to be a key part of India’s “neighbourhood first” policy, he expressed hope that Sri Lankan businesses will take advantage of their proximity to the fastest growing major economy in the world.The High Commissioner added that India’s total development assistance commitment to Sri Lanka is now around US$ 2.6 billion, with over US$ 435 million as outright grants.