High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

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


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:






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
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



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