High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

Visit of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to India from 4-6 October 2016 PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was on a three day official visit to New Delhi from 4th to 6th October 2016.

During the visit, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a working Lunch on 5th October 2016. Both leaders discussed matters of mutual interest in a friendly and cordial atmosphere. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also called on the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. The Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh, Minister of Road, Transport & Highways & Shipping Nitin Gadkari as well as Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan called on the Prime Minister and had bilateral talks on ongoing projects.

During the visit, the Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh also called on the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister addressed the Opening Plenary of the India Economic Forum on the 6th October 2016. He is the first leader from Sri Lanka to be invited as the Chief Guest by the World Economic Forum to address a gathering of business leaders from India and world over.

In his inaugural address the Prime Minister spoke of Sri Lanka’s economic progress and investment opportunities. The Prime Minister pointed out that South Asia has sustained itself as the fastest growing region with India as the engine of growth. He further stated that the better performing Asian economies provide Sri Lanka with the space and opportunities to carry out major reforms. The India-Sri Lanka FTA (Free Trade Agreement) will be further expanded and deepened to move beyond trading of goods to cover trade in services, investments and technology cooperation. Close cooperation with the five Southern states; Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telegana will pave the way to integrate and promote new opportunities for both countries which will have an economy of US$ 500 billon. China, which is rebalancing its economy is also maintaining an acceptable level of growth. Referring to the one Belt-one Road initiative the Prime Minister stated that a Free Trade Agreement with China is being negotiated. He also spoke of the proposed Financial City in Colombo. On Sri Lanka’s long standing economic cooperation with Japan the Prime Minister stated that such linkages will help the country to further modernize Sri Lankas’ economy.  

The Prime Minister had a luncheon meeting with selected business leaders and important CEOs who were participating in the World Economic Forum. Two separate meetings were also held with corporate leaders organized by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the World Economic Forum respectively. These business interactions are expected to generate substantive investments to Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also had an  interaction with Indian and international media at the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi following his meeting with the Indian Prime Minister. Around 80 journalists both from print and electronic media attended the briefing. Answering the questions posed by the journalists, specifically on the 19th SAARC Summit, Prime Minister said that the members of the SAARC should discuss and address issues on terrorism. He said that all the members of the SAARC should take every measure to make it a functional body. The Prime Minister briefed the media on the current developments in Sri Lanka and his views on enhanced relations between Indian and Sri Lanka especially in the field of economic, trade and energy sectors. On the issues pertaining to fishermen, Prime Minister requested the Indian journalists to visit Sri Lanka and witness first-hand the hardships faced by the poor fishermen in Sri Lanka, whose livelihood is at risk. He also referred to bottom trawling which adversely affected the ecosystem in the ocean.

Speaking at the media interaction, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera said that since January 2015 following the  Presidential Election in Sri Lanka, the relationship between the two countries have grown from strength to strength, with exchange of visits at the highest levels. He also stressed on Sri Lanka’s commitment to regional cooperation which holds the potential for exceptional benefits for the people of the region and stated that Sri Lanka is concerned about the current environment in the region which is not conducive to the convening of the 19th SAARC Summit.

In her introductory remarks, High Commissioner Chitranganee Wagiswara said that frequent interactions between leaders of the two countries, have contributed in reinforcing and cementing our bonds of friendship and cooperation in multifaceted areas. She also said that Sri Lanka believes that the economic and social progress of India will create a positive environment, which would enable neighbors such as Sri Lanka to reap substantial benefits.

Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Development of Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, Harin Fernanado. Mrs. Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India, Mr. Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr. Saman Athaudahetti, Additional Secretary/Media at the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Arjun Mahendran, Advisor to the Prime Minister and Mr. Managala Yapa, Managing Director of the Agency for Development joined the Prime Minister at the meetings.

Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi

7th October 2016