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Sunday, February 14, 2011 - 14.00 GMT

SL, India to strengthen parliamentary contacts

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Speaker of India’s Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar discussed strengthening parliamentary contacts between India and Sri Lanka, especially exchanges between young parliamentarians, when she met the President at Temple Trees yesterday (13).

President Rajapaksa referred to the various developmental activities being undertaken by India in Sri Lanka such as the housing project and the rehabilitation of the railway network in the north.

While underlining the fund of goodwill that existed between India and Sri Lanka, she apprised the President of the various activities that India was planning, together with Sri Lanka, to observe the 2600th anniversary of the Enlightenment of Lord Buddha (Sambuddhatva Jayanti).
She noted the concurrence of the Prime Minister of India to arrange an exposition later this year of the sacred Kapilvastu relics in Sri Lanka, following a request that had been made personally to him by President Rajapaksa.

Among other activities, India is also organizing an international conference on Buddhism in Kandy in March 2011 and commissioning an Indian gallery, including a 16-feet high statue of Lord Buddha, for the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy. President Rajapaksa welcomed these initiatives.

Following is the press release issued by the High Commission of India on 12 Feb:
The Hon'ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar, arrived in Colombo on 11 February, 2010 to participate as the Guest of Honour in the 3rd Asian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) being held on 12-13 February, 2010. On her arrival, she was received at the airport by Hon’ble Chamal Rajapaksa, Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka and senior officials of the Parliament.

The 3rd Asian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) was declared open this morning by Hon’ble D. M. Jayaratne, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. In her address to the Conference in her capacity as Guest of Honour, Smt. Kumar emphasized that while different countries in South Asia had their own unique experiences with the parliamentary system, they had all demonstrated an abiding faith in democracy. By coming together in a forum such as the CPA and discussing ways and means to nurture and protect nascent democracies and strengthen established ones, these countries sent a powerful message to the world. Smt. Kumar also underlined the responsibility of parliamentarians to take the lead in evolving a national consensus for empowering the poor by undertaking faster democratization and decentralization.

Later in the afternoon, Smt. Kumar was received at Temple Trees by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Hon’ble Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa was also present at this meeting. Among other matters of bilateral interest, discussions also took place on strengthening parliamentary contacts between India and Sri Lanka. Smt. Kumar referred to the landmark visit of President Rajapaksa to India in June 2010. While underlining the fund of goodwill that existed between India and Sri Lanka, she also apprised the President of the various activities that India was planning, together with the Government of Sri Lanka, to observe the 2600th anniversary of the Enlightenment of Lord Buddha (Sambuddhatva Jayanti).

In this context, she noted the concurrence of the Prime Minister of India to arrange an exposition later this year of the sacred Kapilvastu relics in Sri Lanka, following a request that had been made personally to him by the President of Sri Lanka. Among other activities, India is also organizing an international conference on Buddhism in Kandy in March 2011 and commissioning an Indian gallery, including a 16-feet high statue of Lord Buddha, for the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy.

President Rajapaksa welcomed these initiatives and also referred to the various developmental activities being undertaken by India in Sri Lanka such as the housing project and the rehabilitation of the railway network in the north. It was also agreed that the two sides would promote parliamentary exchanges, especially between young parliamentarians. Hon’ble Speaker also said that she looked forward to the visit to India in the near future of a Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation led by Hon’ble Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa.

Earlier in the day, following the inaugural session, Smt. Kumar paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister, Hon’ble D.M. Jayaratne. She noted the various areas of cooperation between India and Sri Lanka and the progress achieved on agreements that had been reached during the visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India in June 2010 and that of the Minister of External Affairs of India to Sri Lanka in November 2010. Prime Minister Jayaratne said that India and Sri Lanka were linked by history and legend and that India had always come to Sri Lanka’s aid whenever it was required.

This morning, Smt. Kumar was hosted by Hon’ble Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, who held a breakfast meeting with her. The two sides discussed matters of bilateral interest as well as major areas of economic cooperation between India and Sri Lanka. Smt. Kumar conveyed to Minister Peiris that there was a strong national consensus in India in favour of a very close partnership with Sri Lanka.

Hon’ble Speaker was joined at these meeting by the Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, Mr. T.K.Viswanathan and the High Commissioner of India, Mr. Ashok K. Kantha.
This evening, Smt. Kumar will attend the dinner in honour of the participants at the CPA Conference being hosted by Hon’ble Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. On 13 February, she will be the Lead Speaker in the second plenary session of the Conference on Poverty Alleviation. She will also attend the banquet being hosted in honour of the delegates by His Excellency President Rajapaksa on 13 February, 2011.





 

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