High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

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

I am delighted to issue a message to commemorate SAARC Charter Day. It is noteworthy that during the last twenty-four years of its existence, SAARC has moved forward steadily from a declaratory to an implementation stage, with considerable progress in realizing several of the important objectives set out in the Charter. 

As current Chair of the Council of Ministers, I welcome the steady focus that has been directed towards implementing the decisions reached by our Heads of State or Government in the Fifteenth Summit Declaration and the Colombo Statement on Food Security. Since assuming the Chair of SAARC, Sri Lanka had the privilege of hosting six SAARC Ministerial Meetings, namely the Third Meeting of SAARC Energy Ministers in January 2009; Conference of SAARC Ministers of Parliamentary Affairs in February 2009; the First Meeting of SAARC Education/Higher Education Ministers in March 2009; the Fourth SAARC Ministerial Conference on Children in July 2009; the Second Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Transport also in July 2009; and the Second Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Science and Technology in November 2009. This heightened activity in SAARC at a high political level complemented by meetings and activities at technical and official level, is an indication of our ever strengthening resolve to pursue our common goals and objectives.   

We are currently witnessing an increase in intra-regional trade under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and I hope that, especially in the context of the current Global Economic Crisis, trade linkages in South Asia would continue to improve, complemented by trade friendly customs and standards regimes that we are currently striving towards.  

The initiation of the SAARC Development Fund that will finance projects in our region through its social, economic and infrastructure windows is an important step in our collective effort to ensure that the decisions we take have a positive impact on the lives of our people. The South Asian University which is scheduled to commence its first academic session next year is another important project that our Organization is engaged in as it marks its Twenty-fourth Anniversary.   

The Fifteenth SAARC Summit acknowledged the ongoing contribution of Science and Technology including cutting edge technology in information and bio-technology in improving the quality of life of the people of our region. It is heartening to witness the initiatives taken by Member States since the Fifteenth Summit to strengthen intra-regional cooperation in Science and Technology through two high-level ministerial meetings held in New Delhi and in Colombo and the adoption of the SAARC Action Plan on Science and Technology.   

While our Member States actively pursue regional integration through SAARC, it is also necessary to ensure that we succeed in the elimination of the scourge of terrorism in our region, so that growth and development achieves its full potential in an atmosphere of peace and security.   

The observance of the SAARC Charter Day will I am sure, further consolidate our unity of purpose, which seeks to work together for the peace and prosperity of the peoples of our region.


Rohitha Bogollagama, M.P. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs


Sri Lanka Elected to United Nations Migrant Workers Committee PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

Sri Lanka's candidate, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam was re-elected to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW), to serve a four-year term, until the end of year 2013, at the election held in New York on 3rd December 2009. The election was held at the Fourth Meeting of the States Parties to the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. 

The Committee, as its main responsibility, monitors the implementation of the Convention and it is the most comprehensive international instrument that deals with the rights of migrant workers. The Convention is an important component of the core international human rights treaties in the UN Human Rights Treaty System. It came into force in the year 2003,and as of today, forty-one countries have become Party to the Convention.   

Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam was elected as the first Chairman of the Migrant Workers Committee in year 2003. In addition to Sri Lanka, candidates presented by the Philippines, Guatemala, Turkey, Ecuador, Mali, Jamaica, Senegal and Azerbaijan, were also elected as members of the Committee. With the election of these nine members, the Migrant Workers Committee (CMW) now comprises a total of 14 elected members, who are experts on human rights. 


Ministry of Foreign Affairs  
08th December 2009
Second Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Science & Technology held in Colombo PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 18:30

The Second Meeting of the SAARC Ministers of Science & Technology which was chaired by the Minister of Science & Technology of Sri Lanka, Prof. Tissa Vitarana, was held in Colombo on 24th November 2009.   

The Ministerial meeting was attended by Ministers of Science and Technology from SAARC countries namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan.

In his inaugural address, Minister Vitarana emphasized the need to further promote cooperation in the area of Science and Technology within the SAARC to achieve socio – economic development in South Asia.  

Delivering a message from the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, the Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr. Mahinda Bandusena, stated that the application of science and technology would enable value added products to be developed from the agricultural produce of South Asian countries. Mr. Ghulam Dastgir, Director, SAARC Secretariat, also addressed the Inaugural Session.   

The Second Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Science & Technology reviewed the progress in the implementation of the decisions of its First Meeting held in New Delhi in September 2008.  The Meeting also considered the Report of the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Technical Committee on Science & Technology and the Report of the Third Meeting of the SAARC Working Group on Biotechnology. The Meeting reviewed the implementation of the SAARC Action Plan on Science & Technology and underscored the need for expediting the harmonization of standards within SARSO under SAFTA. The Meeting also considered the matters connected to funding modalities to undertake science & technology programmes and projects under the implementation of the SAARC Action Plan on Science & Technology, Programme of Cooperation, SAARC Industrial Research and Development Initiatives, “Science Caravan”, the format/framework of the SAARC Science and Technology web portal, Sri Lanka Nanoscience Institute to  serve as a SAARC Institute for Nano Technology, a SAARC mechanism on intellectual property rights etc.   

The visiitng Ministers from the SAARC countries called on H. E the President on 25th November 2009 and held a detailed discussion on future endavours of the SRRAC in the fields of Science & Technology.  

The Ministerial Meeting was preceded by the Meeting of Senior Officials held on 23 November 2009. The Meeting of Senior Officials was chaired by Ms. M.B.A. Ekanayake, Secretary, Ministry of Science & Technology of Sri Lanka. 


Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
25th November 2009
New Pilgrims' Rest at Sanchi inaugurated PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

Prime Minster Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka visited Madhya Pradesh in India from 30 October -2 November 2009 to declare open the Sanchi Vandana Niketana which is a pilgrims rest put up for the benefit of Buddhist pilgrims visiting the ancient Buddhist site of Sanchi which had been a sacred place for Buddhists since the time of the Mauryan Emperor, Asoka, in the 3rd Century BC.Sanchi is recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO because of its historical and archeological significance. Sanchi is important for Buddhists in Sri Lanka as it was from there that Arahat Mahinda Thero embarked on his mission to introduce Buddhism to Sri Lanka.The Stupas at Sanchi had immensely influenced the Buddhist architecture in Sri Lanka in early stage. 

The inauguration of Sanchi Vandana Niketana on 31st October was attended by high level representatives of India, including the Chief Minster of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Sivaraj Singh Chauhan, former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, and Madhya Pradesh Cultural Minster Shri Laxmikant Sharma, among others. Two Ministers from Sri Lanka, Mr. Dinesh Gunawardane, Minister of Urban Development and Sacred Area Development and Mrs. Sumedha G.Jayasena, Minster of Childcare & Women's Empowerement were among the distinguished guests.   

The land for a Pilgrims Rest close to the famous temples was originally donated to Sri Lanka Buddhists by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. It became necessary to put up a new Pilgrims Rest with modern facilities for the benefit of Buddhists visiting Sanchi. The new Building was setup by the Ministry of Urban Development and Sacred Area Development.

Prime Minister Wickramanayaka in his speech at the opening ceremony explained that Buddhist philosophy did not teach ill will or hatred towards anyone. "The Buddhists envisage a world where everyone irrespective of race, caste or creed could live in peace and harmony as brothers and sisters. It was a basic teaching of Buddhism which believes in ahimsa ,metta and karuna" He further said that Sri Lanka was recently able to overcome a severe terrorist threat after 25 years of bloody conflict which saw the loss of more than 90,000 lives. The Prime Minister gave a pledge on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka that it would continue to further develop facilities at Sanchi which is a world renowned Buddhist pilgrim centre. 

Shri Shivaraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh recalled the long association between Sri Lanka and Sanchi going back to Asoka's time and Arahat Mahinda.He also mentioned that terrorism had affected many countries including India and Sri Lanka.He congratulated Sri Lanka for its successful fight against the scourge of terrorism. He paid tribute to former Prime Ministers of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi who were victims of terrorism. He recalled that the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi fell on the same day as the ceremony.

Sri Lanka invites Indian Investments PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail


Addressing a Seminar on "Emerging Peace & Investment Opportunities for Sri Lanka", organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in New Delhi on 15 September 2009, Honorable Navin Dissanayake, Minister for Investment Promotion, Sri Lanka invited Indian Industry to invest in Sri Lanka now that the 'war on terror' was over. He asked Indian Industry to visit Sri Lanka and see for themselves the opportunities that the country provides for Investments and business. Apart from profits, Indian Industry would create immense goodwill amongst the two neighbours, which is immeasurable. He added Sri Lanka provided lots of opportunities in many fields and many Indian companies are already operating in the country. 

In his address, Mr C R Jayasinghe, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in India said that Sri Lanka has always regarded herself, ever since she has liberalized her economy over three decades ago in 1977, as an intrinsically friendly destination for foreign investors. This was not the first seminar that was being organized by the Board of Investment to sensitize the Indian entrepreneurs of the potential that the Island offers. More such seminars would be held in the future.

The High Commissioner said that while his nation struggled against the phenomenon of terror, the economic links with India continued to move from strength to strength. Investment from across the Palk Straits came in from sectors such as agriculture and plantation, ICT, Telecommunication and Manufacturing.

Speaking about the FTA between India and Sri Lanka, he said that there has been tremendous growth in the volume of two- way trade from US $ 600 million to US$ 3.2 billion last year. For both the countries, it was the first FTA, which was signed.

In his welcome address Mr. V K Mathur spoke about the strong relations between India and Sri Lanka, the FTA, which has benefited both the countries, the expectation that CEPA would be signed soon, the need for a proper environment for attracting investments, procedural simplifications and all that is needed to make the investor welcome to the country. The Seminar was attended by about 60 delegates from a cross section of Indian Industry which raised various issues concerning policy for investments. The Board of Investments also made a presentation on opportunities areas and said that approval for application would be granted quickly.


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