Speaker unveils DB Jayatilaka’s Portrait marking 80 years of Indo-Lanka relations

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena unveiled a portrait of Sir D.B. Jayatilaka, Sri Lanka’s first representative to India, yesterday (28) at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi, coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the establishment of modern Indo-Lanka relations.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) sending Sir D.B. Jayatilaka as its first Representative to India in 1942. Unveiling the portrait of Sir D.B. Jayatilaka, at the Chancery Building, comes as one of a series of activities organised by the High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi this year to mark the important anniversary. Earlier, in February, the High Commission named its Chancery Building after Sir D.B. Jayatilaka.

Parliamentarians C.B. Rathnayake, Rohini Kumari Wijeratne and Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake also attended the simple ceremony organised to unveil the portrait. The Sri Lankan Parliamentary delegations led by the Speaker were in transit in Delhi on their way back to Sri Lanka from an international conference.

High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in to India Milinda Moragoda and the staff of the High Commission were present on this occasion. 

Sir Don Baron Jayatilaka, Statesman, Buddhist Educationalist, Barrister, pioneering literary figure of his era and one time Home Minister of Ceylon, had graduated from the Universities of Calcutta and Oxford. Sir Baron had first come to India to negotiate food shipments to Ceylon by the Government of India, and was later appointed as the first Representative of the Government of Ceylon to New Delhi.

The appointment of Sir D.B. Jayatilaka as Ceylon’s Representative to India, which pre-dates the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between independent India and Sri Lanka in 1948, stands testimony to the very special bond and close relationship that the two countries have been enjoying since time immemorial.