To mark 59 years of capacity-building partnership between India and Sri Lanka through Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), the High Commission of India in Colombo celebrated ITEC Day 2023 on 27 September 2023.
Hon. Dr. Suren Raghavan, State Minister of Higher Education and Dr. Satyanjal Pandey, Deputy High Commissioner graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour respectively. The event was attended by over 100 participants, which included ITEC alumni from Sri Lanka, officials and professionals from diverse sectors who have participated in various training courses in India under different ITEC programmes.
In his address, Hon. State Minister of Higher Education lauded the historically close relations between India and Sri Lanka. Dr. Raghavan congratulated India for the successful Chandrayaan-3 mission and especially praised Indian women scientists involved in the lunar mission. He appreciated India for offering ITEC slots and annual scholarships to Sri Lankan nationals and thanked India for the financial support extended to Sri Lanka in recent months. Hon. Minister highlighted the scope for further cooperation between India and Sri Lanka in the field of higher education, skill development and capacity building, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and IT sectors. He encouraged the beneficiaries of ITEC programmes to contribute not only to the development of Sri Lanka but also to take the India – Sri Lanka relationship to the next level.
Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy High Commissioner noted the enormous interest shown by Sri Lankan officials in the ITEC programme over the years. The Deputy High Commissioner highlighted India’s endeavour to help Sri Lanka in the education sector, including in higher education through partnership between higher education institutes in India and Sri Lanka, besides the current 402 ITEC slots annually. The Deputy High Commissioner reiterated that India is guided by the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which means ‘the world is one family’ and India would continue to be at the forefront of capacity-building programmes for Sri Lanka.
Senior officials reminisced and shared their experiences of ITEC training in India and appreciated the holistic content of the different ITEC programmes such as Gender Responsive Governance, Climate Change Policy Development and Financing for Effective Implementation of SDGs, Integrating Industry Four Dot Zero (4.0) Competency and Twenty-First Century Skills in Educational Institutions, and Parliamentary Internship program.
ITEC is a flagship programme of the Government of India launched in September 1964 for extending technical assistance and building capacities of developing countries. It has emerged as an important vehicle for India’s contribution to human resource development of partner countries with over 200,000 persons from 160 fellow developing countries having participated in the programme. Sri Lanka is currently allotted 402 training slots annually for the ITEC programme. ‘ITEC Day’ is celebrated every year by Indian diplomatic Missions all over the world to mark this unique pillar of South-South partnership.