High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

H.E the President's address to the Nation on 4 February 2010 PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

“You are aware that during the operation to defend the country, I protected the heroes who fought for the country. I represented them everywhere. And now in the nation building process, I will protect the honest and skilled people who work for the betterment of the country. The country cannot be developed with harassment, gross punishments or by the gun. Discipline is not revenge. The nation can only be built through commitment, discipline and elimination of corruption,” stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the 62nd Independence Day celebration in Kandy today (04 Feb).

Today we celebrate the anniversary of independence after the liberation of the entire country from terrorist threat for the first time in 30 years. I am proud to proclaim that we are in a position to raise the flag of Sri Lanka with dignity in the entire country,

President Rajapaksa, addressing the nation in Sinhala and Tamil, further stated that the people of the North and East suffered for thirty years without the democratic right. “I was able to grant them democracy. That is the greatest victory we have achieved,” he said.

We were able to gain many achievements because infrastructure was speedily built whilst the war was being waged. I will use this mandate given by you to re- establish all that was lost for the past 30 years due to the war, stated the President.

He continued, “an efficient, advanced nation needs to be built to replace a country which is lazy, lethargic and lacks energy. It is meaningless to blame our nation for its inefficiency whilst referring to the efficiency and progress of other countries. We proved at the recent overwhelming victory that our people could overtake them”.

I protected the heroes who fought for the country. I represented them everywhere. Even during the nation building process, I will protect the honest and skilled people who work for the betterment of the country, the President emphasized.

Following is the full text of the speech:

Today we celebrate the anniversary of Independence after the liberation of the entire country from terrorist threat for the first time in 30 years. I am proud to proclaim that we are in a position to raise the flag of Sri Lanka with dignity in the entire country.

In 1815, Variyapola Sumangala Thero hoisted our flag on this historic land after lowering the Union Jack. I wish to pay my respect to the venerable monks as well as the revered clergy of all religions for their dedication and commitment displayed to preserve this freedom.

When I unfurled the national flag today, I remembered those heroic soldiers who sacrificed their lives and limbs for the freedom of the country and all those who worked with dedication for the liberation struggle.

Friends,

Freedom is a responsibility. The people of this country have entrusted me with that responsibility on January 26 by a larger majority than in the 2005 Presidential election. I would like to assure you that I will fulfill that trust placed upon me.

Accordingly, it was demonstrated to the world that for us the Motherland is first, second and third. Thus, we have become richer with the supreme human quality of gratitude. It is my fortune to fight along side people with such great qualities to preserve the freedom of our nation. It is indeed a privilege to live in a country with such intelligent people. I am fortunate to be the leader of a country of fathers, mothers and children who know the value of gratitude.

I have succeeded in uniting the territory. Now, I am entrusted with the task of uniting the hearts of all sections of our people. I willingly take over the noble task of creating peace among our communities.

The first Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. D. S. Senanayake stated on the occasion of the first Independence Day that the meaning of freedom is to curtail sorrows and enhance happiness. That is the desire of the people when a country attains independence. I would like to point out that the past four years was the most meaningful era of freedom since we attained independence.


Friends,

This is the time when the benefits of unifying the nation begin to show results. Now that the war has ended, the nation is saving more than the cost of the war. International research magazines recently reported that Sri Lanka is among the 31 countries in the list of best tourist destinations. Sri Lanka is second only to China among Asia's fastest growing economies. Sri Lanka is also listed among the best countries for investment. We cordially invite investors here.

We were able to gain such achievements because infrastructure was speedily built whilst the war was being waged. I will use this mandate given by you to re- establish all that was lost for the past 30 years due to the war.

Our country which fell back in progress because of the war needs to be advanced swiftly. Peace alone is not enough. An efficient, advanced nation needs to be built to replace a country which is lazy, lethargic and lacks energy. It is meaningless to blame our nation for its inefficiency whilst referring to the efficiency and progress of other countries. We proved at the recent overwhelming victory that our people could overtake them.

In the development of the country the private sector too has a responsibility similar to that of the public sector. There is a better environment for the private sector which was at a standstill during the war. I expect a public service which can take quick decisions and which is people friendly. I will make the government service a service for the public.

You are aware that during the operation to defend the country, I protected the heroes who fought for the country. I represented them everywhere. And now in the nation building process, I will protect the honest and skilled people who work for the betterment of the country. The country cannot be developed with harassment, gross punishments or by the gun. Discipline is not revenge. The nation can only be built through commitment, discipline and elimination of corruption.

In the Mahinda Chintana, we mentioned that Sri Lanka will be made a centre of marine, aviation, commercial, energy and knowledge. You may feel that this target is very far. But we will bring the benefits of these five great economic forces closer to your feet in the near future in order to end the era of sorrow and tears. We will give more opportunities to artistes, authors, musicians so that the yield of their creativity would enhance the contentment of the society.

We will make this a country where people return to, instead of leave for fear of life or poverty. We need to remove the bureaucratic hurdles on the path to economic development as we removed road barriers. My people were at a standstill for thirty years because of terrorists. Now this era is over. We will create a country where people can live at ease.

I implore the separatist forces and local and international conspirators not to underestimate our motherland and the people of this nation.

Friends,

We have brought massive development to the North and East regions as never witnessed in history after removing their fear of death. Uthuru Vasanthaya (Northern Spring) and Nagenahira Navodaya (Eastern Awakening) are some of the major development projects in the country.

The people of the North and East suffered for thirty years without their democratic rights. I was able to grant them democracy. That is the greatest victory we have achieved.

We do not strengthen the parties based on divisive politics on the basis of colour or tribe, pro- LTTE or separatist.

I am certain that the people in the North and East could stand on their own feet through a solution wrought by devolving powers to the villages and empowering them in the entire country.

In accordance with Mahinda Chintana: Vision Ahead, I believe that discussions should be held with the people and their representatives of those areas to find solutions and take action as necessary.

(In Tamil)

My dear people


Today is our Independence Day. It is a very happy day for all of us. Thirty years of terrorism is now over. We are celebrating our independence in such an atmosphere for the first time. Now all of you can live in consolation without fear or doubt.

Anyone can go anywhere freely. That is very important. This is our motherland. All of us are children of one mother. All of us are kings today. We all should live together as brothers with equal rights and with dignity. Let us discuss our issues among ourselves and resolve them.

Everyone will receive all facilities in equal manner. That is called equality and equal rights.

One country, one people, one law. That is our way, the only way.

Thus, there is no racism, separatism or terrorism. Never forget the motherland; never betray it. We consider no one in our country as a minority person. All those who love the country are children of Mother Lanka.

Our motherland is emerging as a hub of development. Democracy should be protected forever.

Recently, the people of Northern and Eastern provinces too were able to vote democratically. I am very pleased about it. Politicians should not mislead the innocent people.

Hereafter, we will not entertain narrow divisions based on race, religion, language and political ideology in terms of regions. Never leave room for the politics of hate. Peace, brotherhood, co-existence and prosperity -- that is our prime objective.

Let us join together. Let us build this country for the sake of our future generations.

(end of Tamil text)


Friends,

You all are aware that our foreign policy is independent and non-aligned. It is no secret that we have maintained close friendly relationships with our neighbours such as India, China, Japan and others. We also maintain close affinity with Africa, the West, the Middle East and the European countries.

In my foreign policy, whatever I have done was in the interest of the people of this country. Now the world should have a correct opinion about us. The Tiger terrorism that impacted on other countries too has ended. The state of war is now over. We are entering into a new era of co-existence after finishing the period of some controversy. I would like to say that we are now entering the golden era of international relations.

Friends,

I never thought of gaining political mileage and take decisions that betrayed the nation. I will never betray the country. The decisions I took from the time when I decided to defeat terrorism, were taken while thinking of the country's welfare. I did not think of political power when I took decisions. I did not take decisions to implement major projects; the Norochcholai coal power station and Upper Kotmale hydroelectric project to obtain foreign assistance to stay in power. I have done this for the development of the country. I have done this because those are essential for the country. We will not surrender even an inch of territory from our Motherland. As I have always said, we will not take even a single step backwards to stay in power. On the other hand, we will go forward many steps under any difficult conditions in the interest of the nation.

My feet were worn out by walking in long marches with my people. I have sweated in the fight for the rights of the working class. My voice was trained and tuned to rise up against injustice.

I spent my free time listening to the grievances of the common people. The only time I could not listen to the problems of the common people was when I was imprisoned for fighting for the democratic rights of the people. Our house has become a home for the common people. Today, the luxurious carpets at the Temple Trees affectionately receive the feet of common people.

I did not ask you to crown me. However, please remember that I have placed the crown of freedom, prosperity and heroism on the heads of you and your children.

I have understood the fatherly love and affection of your sons and daughters for me. The affection of the sons and daughters of this country was an enormous blessing for me.

It was on this historic place that Veera Keppetipola sacrificed his life without any fear, for the freedom of the nation. I believe that the leaders who ruled this nation should have a heart which will not betray the country similar to that of Veera Keppetipola.

Now I am addressing you from the place where the child hero, Madduma Bandara, son of Keppetipola's sister, sacrificed his life without display of any fear. Please remember that the hearts of your sons and daughters too are filled with unlimited love for the motherland similar to that of Madduma Bandara. Your sons and daughters have unlimited love for me for the same reason.

I feel I am the world's luckiest leader of state to earn the love and affection of such a heroic and talented generation of children.

Friends,

Please protect your child who grows up with love for the country. We have to build a society where your sons and daughters could live with knowledge and good values. It is for our children that we build this nation to be the Pride of Asia.

I wish you a prosperous future.

May the Triple Gem bless you and the blessings of the Sacred Tooth relic be with you.

 
Sri Lanka Looks to the Future PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

By MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA

January 26 was an historic day for Sri Lanka . It was the first presidential election for more than 25 years that was unaffected by the terrorism and intimidation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, otherwise known as the Tamil Tigers. The overwhelming majority of Sri Lankans who exercised their democratic right last Tuesday voted for an end to division, an end to terrorism and for a new beginning of peace and prosperity. I am proud that the election was well fought, but peaceful on voting day. All who wished to participate, could. 

But this victory is merely the start for Sri Lanka . After removing terrorism from our country, I sought a full mandate from my people. Now I shall seek to work to build our nation for all of them; to make the nation stronger and more able to succeed in today's globalized world. 

I know as well as anyone that our future success relies on a lasting peace. The removal of terrorism was an important milestone in this process, but the nation needs to be bound by a common purpose. That purpose will be built around a full reconciliation program. My new government will address the genuine grievances of all communities and bolster the enforcement of equal rights for all. We will emphasize better police training to meet the new conditions of peace, and boost representation from all groups in Sri Lankan society. 

More importantly, the lasting peace will unlock the true potential of Sri Lanka and provide a range of opportunities for all of our people. Already the International Monetary Fund has upgraded Sri Lanka to a "middle-income emerging market," and our economy is now the second fastest growing in Asia . With our educated workforce and our strategic trading position, I intend to make good on predictions that Sri Lanka can become South Asia's Singapore —or better. 

We will work hard to ensure that this economic growth benefits all our people through improvements in job opportunities, skills training and education. No one will be left out. No one will be left behind. 

For citizens residing in the north and east, we will continue to rebuild local infrastructure and essential facilities, so these areas can grow in tandem with the rest of the country. For people that were displaced by the conflict, we will realize their expectations of new livelihoods in peacetime. The people of these regions, whose lives were filled with fear and despair, will now have hope and opportunity. 

The evidence of peace and prosperity will be there for all to see. My hope is that the world will come and see this change for themselves. We ask tourists to come. Our island is full of unparalleled beauty. The hospitality of my fellow countrymen has been described in the superlative throughout history. 

We ask investors to see the huge opportunities and natural resources available to them, to experience the proud work ethic of Sri Lankans and make use of the enormous talent of our graduates and adaptability of our skilled workers. 

We are sure that if the world's people come to see the real Sri Lanka , they will support our country. That, in turn, will benefit us all through more trade and employment, jobs and opportunities. 

I know that there are some people and policy makers abroad who have criticized what we did to bring an end to violence and terrorism. They said our measures threatened the people and undermined democracy. This election has shown that the reality is very different. The people of Sri Lanka, democratically and very clearly, have shown that they are free of threats, fear and terrorism, and that they want to embrace the future that could only be achieved through the decisive measures taken last year. 

I call on the international community to support us as we build a peaceful and successful Sri Lanka , united in our resolve to achieve the progress denied for decades. My government will work hard for all its people. Our economy will grow and the highest standards of rights will be upheld. I can say with confidence that Sri Lanka is ready for the new decade. 

(Mr. Rajapaksa is president of Sri Lanka .) 

Courtesy: Wall Street Journal 3. Feb. 2010

 
Annular Eclipse of 15 January 2010 PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

On Friday, 2010 January 15, an annular eclipse of the Sun is visible from within a 300-km-wide track that traverses half of Earth.  The path of the Moon’s antumbral shadow begins in Africa and passes through into Asia. 

When the antumbra reaches Asia the central line passes directly between the southern tip of India and northern Sri Lanka (07:51 UT).  Both regions lie within the path where maximum annularity lasts 10 minutes 15 seconds.  

The annular eclipse will be visible in Sri Lanka on the 15th of January 2010 from 11.10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  This phenomenon would be witnessed in Sri Lanka after over half a century. 

This rare event will blanket Sri Lanka’s northern areas for up to ten minutes in darkness in one of the most amazing displays of the sun and moon over our earth. 

The best areas to witness this phenomenon are Anuradhapura and Jaffna. 

All interested observes are welcome to visit Sri Lanka to witness this rare event. The solar eclipse coincidentally happens during the same weekend as Thai Pongal on January 14th which will be all the more reason for visitors to celebrate a long weekend that would be one to remember. 

The links below provide further information on the solar eclipse:

 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2010.html#SE2010Jan15A

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/ASE2010/ASE2010.html

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/ASE2010/ASE2010fig/ASE2010-fig208.pdf

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/ASE2010/ASE2010tab/ASE2010-tab213.pdf

 

Sri Lanka High Commission
New Delhi
31st December  2009
 
President's message on the SAARC Charter Day PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

It is a great pleasure for me, as the current Chair of SAARC, to extend warm greetings and best wishes of the Government and people of Sri Lanka to the Governments and people of South Asia on the occasion of the commemoration of the SAARC Charter Day. 

Twenty-four years ago, our nations came together to establish SAARC with the conviction that regional cooperation among countries of South Asia is mutually beneficial, desirable and necessary for promoting the welfare and improving the quality of life of the peoples of the region. The then leaders of South Asia believed that in an increasingly interdependent world, the objectives of peace, freedom, social justice and economic prosperity are best achieved in our region by fostering mutual understanding, good neighbourly relations and meaningful cooperation among Member States which are bound by ties of history and culture.   

Since the establishment of SAARC with that noble conviction, our Association has developed and matured steadily over the years with a decisive shift in focus in its third decade, towards implementation.   

It is heartening to see increasing interaction between the people of our region. It is in recognition of the importance of this aspect to the regional integration process that the Fifteenth SAARC Summit was held in Colombo in 2008, under the theme Partnership for Growth for Our People.   

The underlying theme of the Mahinda Chintana Policy Statement of 2005 is the importance of collective self-reliance for the achievement of socio-economic development. Especially in the context of the current global economic crisis, the promotion and strengthening of collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia which is enshrined in our Charter as one of SAARC’s objectives, assumes greater significance.  The four Agreements signed during the Fifteenth SAARC Summit in Colombo last year, namely the Protocol of Accession of Afghanistan to the Agreement on SAFTA, Agreement on the Establishment of the South Asian Regional Standards Organisation, the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and the Charter of the SAARC Development Fund, along with the adoption of the Statement on Food Security were important steps in this process.   

Since the Summit, there has been further continued progress. The SAARC Food Bank is now fully operational. Project based development through the SAARC Development Fund is progressing well and the Secretariat of the Fund is to be established shortly in Bhutan. Our regional resolve and commitment to work together to address our problems in a regional-specific framework continues to gather momentum. This is manifest in the SAARC Ministerial Statement on Global Economic Crisis and the SAARC Ministerial Declaration on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism adopted by the SAARC Council of Ministers in February 2009. During Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship of SAARC, the Ministers of SAARC Member States dealing with the subjects of Energy, Higher Education, Transport, Parliamentary Affairs, Children’s issues, and Science and Technology held meetings in Colombo, enabling important decisions to be taken in specific areas of common interest.  During the same period, the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance and Environment also met in other SAARC capitals.   

While reaffirming Sri Lanka’s firm commitment to SAARC and its objectives, I remain confident of the determination of the Governments and peoples of our region towards fostering the stronger cooperation that is essential for peace, freedom, social justice and economic prosperity in South Asia. 

 

Mahinda Rajapaksa

President of Sri Lanka

 

 
Prime Minister's message on the SAARC Charter Day PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

It gives me great pleasure to extend greetings on the twenty-fourth anniversary of the signing of the Charter that established the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.   

SAARC reflects the determination of the Governments and peoples of South Asia to work together towards finding solutions to their common problems in a spirit of amity and cooperation based on mutual respect, equity and shared benefits.

Since its establishment in 1985, SAARC has moved forward steadily and into the core areas of trade, economic cooperation and poverty alleviation that are vital for peace, security and development in our region.   

It is said that just as much as our shared past, it is the allure of a common future of progress that now beckons and binds SAARC together. The SAARC Charter Day provides an occasion to recall the contribution made by the founders of our Association and to re-dedicate ourselves to furthering the common goals and objectives that we have set for ourselves.   

I wish to avail myself of this opportunity to reiterate Sri Lanka’s strong commitment to working towards greater regional cooperation through SAARC. 

  

Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
 


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