Describing India as a “strong partner” of the United Nations, the world body’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appreciated the role played by the country in relief efforts in quake-ravaged Haiti and addressing the issue of climate change.

“India is a strong partner of the United Nations. We are grateful for contributions India has been making to the common causes of the UN,” Mr. Ban, who attended the Republic Day reception hosted by the Indian mission here, told PTI.

“I am very happy to be part of this celebration (Republic Day),” he said.

Noting that India was one of the largest troop contributing countries, Mr. Ban underlined its role in UN goals of promoting peace, security and human rights.

“India has been playing a very significant role in addressing climate change and I am committed to working with the Indian government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been a strong supporter of the UN,” he said.

Mr. Ban also said that he “very much appreciated” India’s role in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which killed an estimated 1.5 lakh-people.

On the occasion, Sri Lankan envoy to the UN, Palitha Kohona, described his country’s relations with India as excellent” and hoped the bilateral the economic ties would get stronger through the Free Trade Agreement.

“We have excellent relations and we expect them to get better,” he said.

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