High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

India - Sri lanka Relations


India-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group in the Indian Parliament Formed PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

The formation of the India-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group in the 15th Lok Sabha has been announced. The announcement coincides with the bilateral visit to India by the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa, with a group of Parliamentarians comprising Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena, W.D.J. Senewiratne and Risad Badhiutheen and MPs Muthu Sivalingam, Rajiva Wijesinha, Malani Fonseka, Selvam Adaikkalanathan and D.M. Swaminandan.

The India-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group in the Indian Parliament comprises Members from both Houses, the Lok Sabha (the House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (the Council of States) representing a cross-section of political parties. Following established practice in the Indian Parliament, the group comprises exclusively of Members of Parliament who do not hold cabinet portfolios.

Shri Kumar Deepak Das, a Rajya Sabha MP representing the Asom Gono Parishad, serves as the President of the 22 member Group. The Group comprises MPs from the Indian National Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Biju Janata Dal, Bahujan Samaj Party, Janata Dal (United), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Telugu Desam Party, All India Democratic United Front, Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi, Shiromani Akali Dal, All India Trinamool Congress as well as one Independent MP.

The Members of the Group are scheduled to meet the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament and delegation on 2 August in the Parliament House of India. High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam will host a Reception at the Sri Lanka High Commission to celebrate the formation of the Group and to welcome Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and the delegation. Several Members of the Indian Parliament, especially from Tamil Nadu, and local and international media personnel will attend the Reception.

 The formation of this Group in the Indian Parliament is an important step in forging stronger ties between the Indian Parliamentarians and their Sri Lankan counterparts. This will provide an opportunity for greater interaction between the Parliamentarians of the two countries and for visits leading to better understanding and appreciation of prospects, challenges and opportunities for exploring solutions to common problems.

 
India – Sri Lanka Relations by High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam

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The 63rd Independence Day of Sri Lanka which is the National Day as well will be marked this year by our renewed journey towards consolidating peace and ushering prosperity. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, having provided leadership to the country in eradicating terrorism from Sri Lankan soil, has now galvanised our Nation into a broader nation building programme focusing on economic development, especially in the former conflict affected areas of the North and the East, while providing impetus to the national reconciliation process.

Inspired by the civilizational links since time immemorial, the relationship between India and Sri Lanka has reached a position of irreversible excellence. The two countries will, therefore continue to march in tandem with clear objectives of promoting prosperity, peace and security both within the region and beyond.

2011 holds a special significance for our two countries based on our historic relations. This is in the context of the 2600th anniversary this year, of the enlightenment of Gautama Buddha that gave rise to the establishment of Buddhism. The people of Sri Lanka received the compassionate gift of Buddhism from Emperor Ashoka 2300 years ago, an event which has led to a majority of Sri Lankans even today to be followers of Buddhism. Sri Lankans will therefore join hands this year with Buddhists all over the world to celebrate the 2600th anniversary of the Sambuddathva Jayanthi and the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Emperor Ashoka.

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Remarks by Hon S.M. Krishna at inauguration of CGI Hambantota

Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure today to be present at this seminal event. The opening of this Consulate General of India in Hambantota is reflective of India's desire to strengthen its linkages with a region of Sri Lanka with which my country shares deep historical bonds.

Religious, cultural and linguistic interface between our two countries goes back several centuries. Prince Arhat Mahinda's arrival in Anuradhapura in the 3rd century Before Christ, which heralded the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, is a story that has been told over many generations. Respected Sri Lankan scholars have drawn parallels and linkages between religious practices in Southern Sri Lankan and Southern India. Not too far from here is Dondra, which in the past housed a magnificent thousand-pillared Vishnu temple described in the Sandesaya poem of the Sinhalese poet Alagiavanna. And of course, one cannot forget that we are not too far away either from the famous Kataragama shrine, where Hindu Tamils and Sinhalese Buddhists worship the God Murugan or Skanda at the same location.

In recent years, southern Sri Lanka came to the attention because of the terrible impact of the tsunami that struck this region in 2004. On that occasion, India, which was impacted itself, was the first to come to Sri Lanka's assistance. Indian Navy ships with food, drinking water and medical attention on board were at Sri Lankan shores within 24 hours, delivering much needed succour to many affected communities who live within a few kilometers of here.

India has also taken up the reconstruction of the damaged Southern railway corridor from Galle to Matara. I am happy that the work on this railway line is proceeding on schedule.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our relations are multifaceted and historical. The challenge has been to derive the full benefit of our proximity and exploit the full potential of our friendship and cooperation. With the shadow of the conflict lifting, I believe that the time has come when we can do that.

The visit of H.E. President Rajapaksa to India in June this year opened a significant chapter in our bilateral relations. Our Prime Minister and President Rajapaksa agreed to intensify our development cooperation, revive connectivity and the age-old cultural links and enhance our economic engagement. It was further agreed that the 2600th year of the attainment of enlightenment by Lord Buddha (Sambuddhatva Jayanthi) will be commemorated through joint activities.

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Remarks by Minister S.M. Krishna at Inauguration of the Reconstruction of Northern Railway Lines PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

November 27, 2010

Hon'ble Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development,
Hon'ble G. L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs,
Hon'ble Kumar Welgama, Minister of Transport,
Hon'ble Rohan Dissanayake, Deputy Minister of Transport,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.


It gives me immense pleasure to participate in today's event of the formal inauguration of works for the reconstruction of the Northern Railway lines. We are deeply honoured by the presence of senior Ministers of the Government of Sri Lanka. Let me take this opportunity to reiterate at the outset that we are committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka towards the consolidation of peace, prosperity and development in Sri Lanka and for the further enrichment of our bilateral ties.

Following the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka last year, the development partnership between India and Sri Lanka has expanded significantly. Much of our initial assistance was for relief and rehabilitation as the Government of Sri Lanka addressed the challenges involved in resettling the nearly three lakh Internally Displaced Persons. As the task of resettlement proceeds, our assistance is moving into the areas of reconstruction in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka where we aim to complement the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka.

As part of our effort to provide for the reconstruction of Northern Sri Lanka, the Government of India has pledged a line of credit of US$ 800 million at significantly concessional rates for various aspects of the Northern Railway project, including reconstruction of railway lines, installation of signalling and telecom systems and the procurement of rolling stock.

Today's ceremony marks the launch of works on the Medawachchiya-Madhu line by IRCON International Ltd., which is a leading Indian company in railway infrastructure and is already working on the rehabilitation of the Southern Railway, which is also being financed through an Indian line of credit. I understand that the work on Phase 1 of the project in the Galle-Matara Section is progressing well and is likely to be completed by December 2010. IRCON has assured us that in the north too, this work undertaken by them would be completed within schedule. Work will also begin simultaneously on the Madhu-Talaimannar and Omanthai-Pallai railway lines. In this context, I would also like to recognize the efforts put in by the demining teams from India to clear the project area of mines.

As a part of these works, a new pier at Talaimannar will also be built. In order to enable resumption of ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram at an early date, IRCON will also build a temporary jetty at Talaimannar. The resumption of this ferry service will re-establish old ties and the linkages that have existed historically between our two countries.

I believe that both our countries should continue to work together in the spirit of partnership, as our destinies are interlinked. The reconstruction of transport-related infrastructure would restore normal life, generate and support livelihood-related activities and also assist in restoring connectivity, not only within the Northern Province, but also with the rest of the country, thus promoting integration and reconciliation.

Before I conclude, I would like to place on record my deep appreciation for the cooperation extended by various agencies of the Government of Sri Lanka, including the Ministry of Transport and Sri Lanka Railways, in developing the railways projects. Continued cooperation between our agencies will be crucial for the timely completion of these projects. This cooperation is testimony to the strength of our cooperation and the enduring friendship that exists between our two countries and peoples.

Thank you.

Medawachchiya
November 27, 2010

 
Remarks by Minister S.M. Krishna at Inauguration of CGI Jaffna PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

November 27, 2010

Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka,
Hon’ble Governor of the Northern Province
Distinguished Ministers and Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful to you all for being present here today for the opening of the Consulate General of India in Jaffna.

India's relations with Sri Lanka would be incomplete without highlighting the special relationship that exists between the people of the Northern Province in general, the Jaffna Peninsula in particular and those of southern India.

Over centuries, Jaffna has always stood at the crossroads of history, culture and religion, kings and kingdoms, trade and commerce, and arts, dance and literature. Jaffna port was on the main sea route of its times. One of the great epics of Tamil literature – Manimekalai - has reference to Jaffna. Jaffna’s Tamil equivalent – Yaalpanam – itself refers to the mythical harp player from Kanchipuram receiving the land as a royal gift. Tamil intellectuals and scholars from Jaffna like Arumuga Navalar and C.W.Thamodaram Pillai have enriched Tamil literature by their deep understanding and study of ancient Tamil literature. It is, therefore, natural that when India decided to establish a Consulate General, Jaffna was a logical, almost inevitable, place for such a presence.

There must be several in this audience who would have seen the days when there was a direct flight from Palaly to Trichy and a ferry service from Talaimannar to Rameswaram. It is possible that some among you may even have gone off to Chennai – Madras as it was called – only to catch a movie. It’s time to revive those links.

Friends,

Sri Lanka has recently come through probably the most difficult period in its history. While the armed conflict that ended last year impacted on all sections of the population of this country, it did so disproportionately on the civilian population of the Northern Province, as innocent men, women and children were caught up in the cross-fire not of their own making. Several thousands of Internally Displaced Persons – held as human shields – came out of the zone of conflict. The challenge before Sri Lanka is to resettle the Internally Displaced Persons and take up the task of rehabilitating and reconstruction of Northern Sri Lanka.

India has tried to contribute whatever it can to alleviate to miseries and difficulties the people in Northern Province underwent. Initially we rushed food, clothing, medicines and other daily-use articles to the camps. Our emergency field hospital, first in Pulmoddai and later in Menik Farm, which treated more than fifty thousand patients and where Indian doctors carried out more than three thousand surgeries, was a symbol of our solidarity with those who had suffered the worst in the closing stages of the conflict. In recent months, we have extended a helping hand to those who are being resettled in their former places of habitation by providing roofing sheets and cement to help them build transitional shelters and agricultural toolkits to start minimal gardening activities.

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