High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

India - Sri lanka Relations
Remarks by Hon S.M. Krishna at inauguration of CGI Hambantota
Tuesday, 30 November 2010 10:46

Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure today to be present at this seminal event. The opening of this Consulate General of India in Hambantota is reflective of India's desire to strengthen its linkages with a region of Sri Lanka with which my country shares deep historical bonds.

Religious, cultural and linguistic interface between our two countries goes back several centuries. Prince Arhat Mahinda's arrival in Anuradhapura in the 3rd century Before Christ, which heralded the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, is a story that has been told over many generations. Respected Sri Lankan scholars have drawn parallels and linkages between religious practices in Southern Sri Lankan and Southern India. Not too far from here is Dondra, which in the past housed a magnificent thousand-pillared Vishnu temple described in the Sandesaya poem of the Sinhalese poet Alagiavanna. And of course, one cannot forget that we are not too far away either from the famous Kataragama shrine, where Hindu Tamils and Sinhalese Buddhists worship the God Murugan or Skanda at the same location.

In recent years, southern Sri Lanka came to the attention because of the terrible impact of the tsunami that struck this region in 2004. On that occasion, India, which was impacted itself, was the first to come to Sri Lanka's assistance. Indian Navy ships with food, drinking water and medical attention on board were at Sri Lankan shores within 24 hours, delivering much needed succour to many affected communities who live within a few kilometers of here.

India has also taken up the reconstruction of the damaged Southern railway corridor from Galle to Matara. I am happy that the work on this railway line is proceeding on schedule.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our relations are multifaceted and historical. The challenge has been to derive the full benefit of our proximity and exploit the full potential of our friendship and cooperation. With the shadow of the conflict lifting, I believe that the time has come when we can do that.

The visit of H.E. President Rajapaksa to India in June this year opened a significant chapter in our bilateral relations. Our Prime Minister and President Rajapaksa agreed to intensify our development cooperation, revive connectivity and the age-old cultural links and enhance our economic engagement. It was further agreed that the 2600th year of the attainment of enlightenment by Lord Buddha (Sambuddhatva Jayanthi) will be commemorated through joint activities.

Remarks by Minister S.M. Krishna at Inauguration of the Reconstruction of Northern Railway Lines PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Official Documents - India - Sri lanka Relations
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Tuesday, 30 November 2010 10:38

November 27, 2010

Hon'ble Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development,
Hon'ble G. L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs,
Hon'ble Kumar Welgama, Minister of Transport,
Hon'ble Rohan Dissanayake, Deputy Minister of Transport,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me immense pleasure to participate in today's event of the formal inauguration of works for the reconstruction of the Northern Railway lines. We are deeply honoured by the presence of senior Ministers of the Government of Sri Lanka. Let me take this opportunity to reiterate at the outset that we are committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka towards the consolidation of peace, prosperity and development in Sri Lanka and for the further enrichment of our bilateral ties.

Following the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka last year, the development partnership between India and Sri Lanka has expanded significantly. Much of our initial assistance was for relief and rehabilitation as the Government of Sri Lanka addressed the challenges involved in resettling the nearly three lakh Internally Displaced Persons. As the task of resettlement proceeds, our assistance is moving into the areas of reconstruction in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka where we aim to complement the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka.

As part of our effort to provide for the reconstruction of Northern Sri Lanka, the Government of India has pledged a line of credit of US$ 800 million at significantly concessional rates for various aspects of the Northern Railway project, including reconstruction of railway lines, installation of signalling and telecom systems and the procurement of rolling stock.

Today's ceremony marks the launch of works on the Medawachchiya-Madhu line by IRCON International Ltd., which is a leading Indian company in railway infrastructure and is already working on the rehabilitation of the Southern Railway, which is also being financed through an Indian line of credit. I understand that the work on Phase 1 of the project in the Galle-Matara Section is progressing well and is likely to be completed by December 2010. IRCON has assured us that in the north too, this work undertaken by them would be completed within schedule. Work will also begin simultaneously on the Madhu-Talaimannar and Omanthai-Pallai railway lines. In this context, I would also like to recognize the efforts put in by the demining teams from India to clear the project area of mines.

As a part of these works, a new pier at Talaimannar will also be built. In order to enable resumption of ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram at an early date, IRCON will also build a temporary jetty at Talaimannar. The resumption of this ferry service will re-establish old ties and the linkages that have existed historically between our two countries.

I believe that both our countries should continue to work together in the spirit of partnership, as our destinies are interlinked. The reconstruction of transport-related infrastructure would restore normal life, generate and support livelihood-related activities and also assist in restoring connectivity, not only within the Northern Province, but also with the rest of the country, thus promoting integration and reconciliation.

Before I conclude, I would like to place on record my deep appreciation for the cooperation extended by various agencies of the Government of Sri Lanka, including the Ministry of Transport and Sri Lanka Railways, in developing the railways projects. Continued cooperation between our agencies will be crucial for the timely completion of these projects. This cooperation is testimony to the strength of our cooperation and the enduring friendship that exists between our two countries and peoples.

Thank you.

November 27, 2010


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