High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

Visit of delegation led by Minister Basil Rajapaksa to India PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa undertook his first visit to India, since his election and assumption of the current portfolio, from 24th – 26th August 2010. During the visit he called on Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna, Minister of Finance Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation & Tourism Kumari Selja, and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon.

During the interactions, Minister Basil Rajapaksa briefed his Indian counterparts on the progress made in demining the previously conflict affected areas in the North, resettling the internally displaced persons as well as on the progress made to restore the livelihood of the people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. He thanked the Government of India for the continued assistance given in support of the Government of Sri Lanka’s endeavour to develop the Northern Province and improve the livelihood of its people. In this regard he held discussions on the progress being made on a number of projects currently being implemented with Indian assistance. These include, among others, the construction of 50,000 houses, reconstruction of the northern railway lines and the upgrading work being undertaken at the Palaly Airport and Kankesanthurai Port. It was agreed to make arrangements for the resumption of ferry services between the two countries.

Indian authorities, at the request of the visiting Minister, will provide quality seeds in order to meet  seed requirements of the North for the upcoming Maha season. Collaboration between India and Sri Lanka in the establishment of an Agricultural Research Institute in the Northern Province, import of livestock from India and revival and expansion of the sugar industry in Sri Lanka were also discussed. Indian Minister Sharad Pawar, who is also the current President of the International Cricket Council, accepted an invitation by Minister Rajapaksa to visit Sri Lanka in connection with the cricket World Cup scheduled to be held in the subcontinent early next year.

In his meeting with Indian Minister Kumari Selja, the visiting Minister discussed ways and means of sharing best practices for urban poverty alleviation including measures that can be taken to create livelihood support for urban poor. In the field of tourism, both sides agreed that the South Asian region in its richness and diversity had much to offer, and that the two countries can work closely to promote tourism and decided to explore the possibility of promoting joint tour packages. It was agreed to work closely to promote tourism and towards this end agreed to explore the possibility of promoting joint tour packages.  Towards this end, he invited Indian Minister Kumari Selja to visit Sri Lanka and share India’s experiences with relevant stake-holders in Sri Lanka.

Minister Basil Rajapaksa also presided over a Road Show entitled “Sri Lanka as a destination for tourism and investment in its infrastructure” sponsored by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Confederation of Indian Industry. The function was well attended by tour operators, travel writers, Indian industry and the media. The future development of Sri Lanka as a tourism and investment hub to complement the growth of India was highlighted during the interactions. Minister Rajapaksa invited Indian entrepreneurs and visitors to take advantage of the opportunities available in Sri Lanka after the dawn of peace.

Minister Basil Rajapaksa was joined by Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary,Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam in the bilateral talks with the delegation from India led by National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar. The two sides discussed extensively and in detail all matters relating to ongoing bilateral cooperation especially with regard to full implementation of objectives agreed upon in the India-Sri Lanka Joint Declaration following the successful recent State visit of the President of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka High Commission
New Delhi

 27th August 2010