High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

India - Sri lanka Relations


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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Remarks by Minister S.M. Krishna to the media after the Signing of Agreed Minutes of the Joint Commission PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Hon’ble Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs
Distinguished Members of the two delegations
Ladies & Gentlemen of the Media
Friends
 
I have just concluded very useful and productive discussions with Hon’ble Minister Peiris on the various items on the agenda of the seventh session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission. Let me, at the very outset, express my sincere gratitude to Minister Peiris and his government for the warmth and gracious hospitality that has been extended to me and to my colleagues and the excellent arrangements made for my visit.
 
The Joint Commission discussions covered all areas of bilateral relevance, including trade, services and investment, development cooperation, science and technology, culture and education. The sheer breadth of our engagement today, as is reflected in the Joint Commission discussions, is testimony to the fact that our relations have greatly diversified with the passage of time. The visits of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2008 and His Excellency President Rajapaksa in June and October this year have undoubtedly given our relations a fillip. Our relations are poised to develop further in an all round manner.
 
Earlier this morning, I was honoured to meet His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We witnessed the signing of the credit agreement for $416.39 million for the Northern Railway construction project. I am also happy to announce that work on the Northern Railway Line will commence soon with the inauguration scheduled for tomorrow
 
Prof. Peiris and I have also just witnessed the exchange of Instruments of Ratification of the Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners and of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. This brings into effect these two important agreements between our two countries.
 
To build on the vibrant and multi-faceted partnership between our two countries, it is important that we leverage our common strategic interests, further enhance connectivity and economic engagement, and promote people-to-people contacts.  The opening of our Consulates in Hambantota and Jaffna, which will take place over today and tomorrow, is a significant milestone in this quest. In this connection, we also expect to resume ferry services between Colombo and Tuticorin and Talaimannar and Rameswaram soon, an agreement on which has been finalized.
 
The project for the construction of 50,000 houses for IDPs in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and also for estate workers in the Central Provinces will be an enduring symbol of India-Sri Lanka partnership. This morning, we witnessed an Exchange of Letters on the pilot phase of this project, which also took place in the presence of His Excellency President Rajapaksa. Tomorrow, through a ground-breaking ceremony in Jaffna, we will be signalling the commencement of this project.
 
The cessation of hostilities in Sri Lanka in May last year provides a historic opportunity to address all outstanding issues related to rehabilitation as well as a political settlement in a spirit of understanding and mutual accommodation. It is our hope that a structured dialogue mechanism to work towards this end will be launched soon. We have been assured that it is the intention of the Sri Lankan Government to resettle the Internally Displaced Persons by the end of this year.
 
I also took this opportunity to emphasise on the need to adhere to the October 2008 understanding on fishing arrangements arrived at between the two countries, which has had a salutary effect on the incidence of fishermen’s arrests and on their safety. We agreed that the joint Working Group on Fishing should meet soon.
 
With the tone that has been set in my discussions today, I have no doubt that India-Sri Lanka relations are poised the fully take advantage of the opportunities open before us. I have told Minister Peiris that I look forward to receiving him in New Delhi at his convenience to take forward our bilateral discussions.
 
Thank you.
 
Agreed Minutes of the 7th session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

November 26, 2010

 The seventh session of the Sri Lanka-India Joint Commission was held on 26th November 2010 in Colombo. It was co-chaired by His Excellency, Shri S.M. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs of India and Hon'ble G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka. The agreed agenda of the meeting is at Annexure-1. The lists of the Indian and Sri Lankan delegations are, respectively, at Annexure-2 and Annexure-3.

2. The discussions at the Joint Commission were marked by friendship, mutual respect and understanding. The two Ministers agreed that the shared cultural and civilizational heritage of India and Sri Lanka, the extensive people-to-people interaction and their common strategic concerns and interests provided the foundation to build a vibrant and multi-faceted partnership. India-Sri Lanka relations have diversified with the passage of time, encompassing all areas of contemporary relevance, including trade, services and investment, development cooperation, science and technology, culture and education. Today, with the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka, these relations are poised to develop further in an all-round manner.

3. The Joint Commission reviewed developments in bilateral relations since the visit to India in June 2010 of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and noted with satisfaction that the visit had laid a strong foundation for the future development of India-Sri Lanka relations. The Joint Statement issued during the visit embodies the vision of the two leaders for harnessing the enormous potential available for consolidating and strengthening the bilateral partnership. This can be achieved by building on shared values and principles of democracy and pluralism, leveraging common strategic concerns and interests, enhancing connectivity and economic engagement, and reinforcing institutional frameworks for a comprehensive partnership in all areas of bilateral endeavour. In this context, the two sides welcomed the opening of the Consulate General of India in Hambantota on 26 November and of the Consulate General of India in Jaffna on 27 November. The Ministers also reaffirmed the importance of the Joint Commission mechanism to monitor implementation of bilateral understandings.

ECONOMIC & DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION, TRADE, FINANCE & INVESTMENT

4. The Joint Commission reiterated the need to substantially enhance the range and depth of the India-Sri Lanka bilateral relationship through greater economic integration to achieve the shared goals of alleviating poverty, creating wealth and bringing about progress and prosperity for the people of the two countries. The meeting noted with satisfaction that bilateral trade, despite the downturn in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown, has shown a healthy recovery in 2010. The two sides reviewed investment proposals being considered by companies in both countries and expressed satisfaction at the growing interest of Indian and Sri Lankan companies to invest further in each other's markets. In this context, the two sides agreed to cooperate closely to nurture a favourable environment to forge closer economic and trade linkages.

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India-Sri Lanka Foundation to play a greater role to foster bilateral relations PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

The India-Sri Lanka Foundation held its 25th Board Meeting from 2-3 July 2010 in New Delhi Co-Chaired by High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka and High Commissioner Ashok Kantha of India. The Board approved a number of proposals and reviewed the progress of projects already implemented.

Following the successful State Visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India from 8-11 June 2010, as evidenced from the broad scope of the Joint Declaration issued at the conclusion of the visit, the Board observed that the bilateral relations have now entered a new higher phase. In this context, the Co-Chairs were of the view that the India-Sri Lanka Foundation could play a larger catalytic role to complement the efforts of the Governments. 

As new initiatives, the Board decided to sponsor the participation of Indian artists at the annual Kala Pola in Colombo and the participation of writers from the two countries at the   Jaipur Literary Festival and Galle Literary Festival. It was also decided that the Foundation will organise an annual India-Sri Lanka Foundation Public Lecture alternatively in New Delhi and in Colombo. Moreover, the Board approved proposals to organise an annual India-Sri Lanka Foundation Seminar and India-Sri Lanka Foundation Distinguished Visitors programme. 

The Board agreed that the activities of the Foundation should further reach out to the provinces/states of the two countries. In this regard among other measures, it was agreed that the Foundation would sponsor a school cricket team from Jaffna to visit India. The Board also decided to follow up on the proposed India-Sri Lanka Foundation Fellowship with a view to sponsoring academic studies on subjects that would help promote India Sri Lanka relations in all its aspects. 

During the 25th Board Meeting, the members also had the opportunity of meeting a group of beneficiaries of the Foundation assistance. Accordingly, faculty members and students of Sri Venkateshwara College of the University of Delhi who visited Sabaragamuwa University recently, supported by the Foundation, had a very useful interaction with the Board members.

  

High Commission of Sri Lanka

New Delhi

4 July 2010

 
Board of the India-Sri Lanka Foundation meets to approve projects PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
The India-Sri Lanka Foundation will hold a Board Meeting in New Delhi from 2-3 July 2010 with a view to fostering bilateral relations through the enhancement of economic, scientific, educational, technical and cultural cooperation, as well as promoting greater understanding between the peoples of the two countries.
 
Activities funded so far by the Foundation include research and other education activities at institutions of learning located in India and Sri Lanka; Facilitating visits and exchanges of scholars, academics, professionals, artists and experts of the two countries; Assisting activities such as seminars, symposia and workshops on subjects of common interest and extending financial support to those voluntary civil society organisations in both India and Sri Lanka whose work facilitates achievement of the objectives of the Foundation.
 
Since its formation, the Foundation has financed and extended assistance to nearly 200 projects ranging from archaeological studies, exchange programs of academia, research related to Indo-Lanka relations, assistance to participate in seminars/workshops, publications, art exhibitions, training programs and travel assistance for participation in events in the realm of art & culture, student exchange programmes involving schools and colleges and film festivals in both countries.
 
The Foundation encourages individuals and organisations to forward worthwhile proposals falling under its objectives to be considered by the Board for supporting.
The India-Sri Lanka Foundation was established through a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the governments of India and Sri Lanka on   28th December 1998 with equal contributions of SLR. 40 Million and INR. 20 Million respectively to the Corpus Fund. The Government of India has made additional contributions to the Corpus Fund recently, making its total contributions to INR. 45 million.
 
The management and direction of the affairs of the Foundation are vested in a Board of Directors consisting of 6 Directors. The High Commissioners of Sri Lanka to India and the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka are Co-Chairpersons and the two governments have nominated two Members each to the Board.
The two Board Members nominated by the Government of Sri Lanka are Mr. Sunimal Fernando, Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka and Mr. Thirukumar Nadesan, Managing Director, Asia Project Services Ltd., while the two Board Members from India are Mr. M. Rasgotra, Former Foreign Secretary of India and Prof. P.V. Indiresan, Former Director of IIT-Madras.
  
High Commission of Sri Lanka
New Delhi
 
1 July 2010 
 
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