(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – India- Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association for the 9th Parliament of Sri Lanka was established Thursday at the Parliament complex under the patronage of the Speaker of Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay was invited as the Guest of Honor at the meeting.
Minister of Irrigation and State Minister of National Security & Disaster Management and State Minister of Home Affairs Chamal Rajapaksa, has been elected as the President of Sri Lanka – India Parliamentary Friendship for the ninth Parliament.
More than 100 Members of Parliament and included several Ministers, State Ministers, MPs and the Secretary General of Parliament Mr. Dhammika Dassanayake were also present at this meeting.
Speakers at the meeting highlighted that this was the largest number of attendees they had seen for the establishment of a Parliamentary Friendship Association. This was highlighted as a testimony to the strength of India- Sri Lanka bilateral relationship.
At this meeting Members Rauff Hakeem, M.A Sumanthiran and Dr. V. Radhakrishnan were elected as the Vice- Presidents of the association. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa was elected as the Secretary and State Minister Jeevan Thondaman was elected as the Assistant Secretary. Jagath Kumara Sumithraarachchi was elected as the Treasurer of the Association.
Addressing the meeting, the Speaker said that the Indo-Sri Lanka relations reflects the closeness between Sri Lanka and India not only in geography but also in political, economic and cultural links stretching back thousands of years in history. The Speaker extended his sincere gratitude to India for the assistance extended to Sri Lanka in continuing supply of Corona Virus Vaccine to Sri Lanka.
Speaking at the event, Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris highlighted the close civilizational ties between India and Sri Lanka. He also highlighted that the greatest gift of India to Sri Lanka was Buddhism and stressed on the importance of people to people connect between the two countries.
Congratulating the President and office bearers on their membership of the Association, High Commissioner Baglay expressed confidence that the establishment of the Association would reinvigorate Parliamentary exchanges and interactions between the two democracies.
Furthermore, the High Commissioner stated that this would further aid in strengthening the multi-faceted bilateral relationship between the two nations in six areas including fostering sharing of democratic values, cooperation in combating common challenges, enhancing people-to-people connectivity, encouraging greater economic engagement, strengthening the cultural connect and sharing the fruits of development partnership.
Speaking on the occasion, newly elected President of the Sri Lanka-India Parliamentary Friendship Association Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, said that bilateral relations between the two nations have paved way to foster strong relations.