Jaffna: Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe while dedicating the Jaffna Cultural Centre, built with an Indian grant, to the people of Sri Lanka, called the centre a gift by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appreciated the efforts made by the Indian government.

Wickremesinghe called the centre one of the major projects between India-Sri Lanka.

Calling India and Sri Lanka two sides of the same coin, the President added that the two countries share the same culture which needs to get preserved and the culture of the two countries are inseparable.

Speaking further about the Tamil culture, the President added that the culture is inspired by the Southern states in India and the Tamil culture in Jaffna has nurtured the Sri Lankan culture which should be preserved.

The Jaffna Cultural centre is a glowing example of India-Sri Lanka development partnership, he said.

Along with the Sri Lankan President, Union Minister of State (MoS) for information and broadcasting L Murugan, and Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay were also present during the event.

Jaffna cultural centre, located next to the iconic Jaffna Public Library is the tallest building in Jaffna town. The centre is conceived as a reconciliation project and is primarily aimed at expanding cultural infrastructure for people of Northern Province and to help them to reconnect with their cultural roots as well as to the rest of the country and to rejuvenate the ancient cultural heritage of Jaffna.

The centre includes state-of-the-art facility that consists of multiple facilities such as a museum of two floors; an advanced theatre-style auditorium for more than 600 people; a 11-storeyed learning tower; a public square which could also act as an amphitheater; etc. Along with that, it also has temporary Exhibition Gallery (Air conditioned), Open exhibition gallery, Gift Shop, Museum Stores and workshop ,100-seat Conference facility, a Cafetaria, Multi-Media Library, Lecture rooms, Studios, and Gallery spaces.

The MoU or the Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of the Jaffna Cultural centre was signed on June 9, 2014. Following its construction, the iconic facility was virtually inaugurated during the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar when he visited Colombo in March 2022, along with the then Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa nearly after two years after it's construction.

The centre is envisaged as a public space to "promote, preserve and foster the cultural heritage of Jaffna", and serve as "a hub of cultural activities" in Sri Lanka.

Jaffna which is an erstwhile cultural capital of national and regional importance, suffered many losses through the period of a protracted civil war.