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For a country to develop economically, it must be open to the world – President



President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that he is interested in exposing Sri Lanka to the world for economic development promptly as possible and to implement related legal reforms.

The President expressed these views while participating as the chief guest at the “Indian CEO Forum” held yesterday (13) at the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe further commented:

Trade between Sri Lanka and India began 700 years ago. We have a remarkable history of Kerala merchants venturing to Sri Lanka and establishing businesses, ultimately integrating into our local system. This cultural amalgamation is evident in landmarks like the Pattini Devalaya in Navagamuwa, which reflects the influence of Kerala on Sri Lankan culture.

By the late 19th century, India accounted for only 1% of the world’s GDP. However, with the shift of economic power towards Asia, India has once again risen to prominence. Just as East Asia, including countries like Japan, Korea, and China, witnessed significant growth 75 years ago, it is now India’s turn, along with the Indian Ocean region. It’s important to note that India is not the sole nation rising in this context; the oil countries in West Asia are also on the ascent. Positioned strategically in the middle, Sri Lanka benefits from its proximity to India, coupled with a rich history, cultural heritage, and longstanding trading relationships spanning 2,500 years.

The world is evolving, and India is undergoing rapid development, particularly under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership. We, too, have experienced our own economic challenges, but we are a resilient nation, not destined for a Greek tragedy. As our economy recovers, we must prioritize economic restructuring. We initially made progress, but our pace has slowed. Once we complete the debt restructuring process, our focus will shift towards a comprehensive growth agenda. This entails a massive overhaul of our economy, legal framework, and systems, aligning our path with that of India.

Our goal is to establish a highly competitive economy that can stand on par with the rest of the world, encompassing green and digital sectors. India and Sri Lanka should embark on this transformative journey together, as we have for the past 2,500 years. Regardless of political dynamics, our cultural and economic ties have remained steadfast.

During my visit to India, my primary objective will be to explore connectivity, as High Commissioner Gopal Bagley aptly stated. We need to determine our long-term objectives and aspirations for the next 10 to 15 years. This marks the beginning of a new era, and we must forge ahead together.

It’s essential to remember that development doesn’t halt in India. In the next 50 years, it will extend to Africa and beyond. Therefore, the vision we discussed with Prime Minister Modi should guide our immediate actions. Ultimately, it’s crucial to recognize that the relationship between our countries is not solely driven by governments but by our people, who are moving forward at a rapid pace. We must adapt to the changing world, avoiding the pitfalls that come with government intransigence. Hence, we must foster a long-term relationship between our two nations, transcending individual leaders or political parties. Together, India and Sri Lanka possess immense potential, and it is our path forward.

Responding to a point addressed by Mr. T. S. Prakash, President of the Indian CEO Forum, on the circulation of Indian currency in Sri Lanka, President Wickremesinghe stated that the Sri Lankan government would want to see the Indian rupee used as much as the dollar. It makes no difference to us if India becomes a common currency. We’ll have to figure out how to go about it. So that is what we must do. We must become more open to the outside world. We must be competitive not just for Sri Lanka, but also for the rest of Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Australia. We must negotiate a more comprehensive trade agreement with the EU. If you want to, you can dominate the entire world. You will fail if you do not want to accomplish it.

Meanwhile The High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, Gopal Bagle said:

For a long time, Indians have conducted business in Sri Lanka. We were able to build a bridge of friendship between the two countries by launching this business. I feel it will have a positive impact on the people of Sri Lanka. When the people of this country were oppressed, India stood by them. During last year’s financial crisis, India and the Indian business community helped Sri Lanka’s economy recover. Sri Lanka is now recuperating from the financial crisis, it should be noted. The Government of India and the Indian business community both supported it in this regard. Even during the initial crisis, Indian businessmen began doing business in Sri Lanka to demonstrate to the rest of the world that the country’s financial status is stable. For the past 40 years, the leaders of this country have promoted Indian business people doing business in Sri Lanka. I’d want to point out to you that the present President, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, has also expressed his support. It is recalled here that the Indian government and business community will support Sri Lanka’s economic and physical development. It is an Indian promise.

A commemorative gift was presented to President Ranil Wickremesinghe by the Indian business community, and the President also took a group photo with the business community.

Madam Maithree Wickramasinghe, Minister of Ports and Maritime Affairs Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Housing and Urban Development Prasanna Ranatunga, Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella, State Ministers Shehan Semasinghe, Dilum Amunugama, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, Governor of the Eastern Province Senthil Thondaman Chief of Staff of the Tri-Forces General Shavendra Silva, Members of the Indian Business community and other dignitaries were present on this occasion.

(President’s Media Division)


Rocky successfully carries out ‘call termination’ racket




Local phone service providers including Telecom and Mobitel as well as the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) are losing a colossal amount of revenue due to a ‘call termination’ racket operating in Sri Lanka, it was reported.

Agencies conducting investigations into the matter have received information that one such racketeer earns as much as Rs.02 – 05 million per day.

It was reported that these racketeers earn this amount by redirecting over 100,000 minutes of IDD calls in a single day.

Sri Lanka Telecom PLC is equipped with the technology to detect this kind of call termination scams and has also set up a separate unit called the ‘Fraud Management Unit’ solely for this purpose.

This unit, which is currently operating under the networking division, is said to have been well-functioning when it was under the financial division.

Senior officials reportedly shirked from launching investigations into these racketeers by citing the arrival of mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, IMO, Viber and Messenger as the reason for these daily revenue losses.

Meanwhile, investigations have revealed that the racket is currently being largely operated by an individual named ‘Rocky’ who is originally from Gampola and has now settled in Colombo.

Investigations revealed that Rocky is pretending to be an UK national and uses a phone number registered in England.

Apart from this, he is also said to be involved in Undiyal transactions.

He has been arrested by the police in connection with this fraud on a previous occasion as well.

According to security forces, those involved in this racket continue to do so again even after being reprimanded, as the relevant fine is as low as Rs.10,000.

Security forces also note that since such racketeers also support terrorist activities, questioning them under detention orders would enable them to weed out this racket altogether.

Heads of mobile phone service providers allege that the arrest of such traffickers keep getting delayed due to the lukewarm reaction by the investigation departments.

Meanwhile, former chairpersons of service providers, former cricket players and former presidential secretaries have also been accused by the media of being involved in this racket.

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Excise officials kidnap beedi businessman & forcefully take Rs.1mn




The Walasmulla Police have launched an investigation into an incident where a Beedi businessman was kidnapped and assaulted before forcefully taking Rs.1 million from him.

The business license of the businessman residing in Maraketiya, Rajapuragoda in Walasmulla expired on June 26. A team of excise officials including the OIC of the Tangalle Excise Unit had arrived at his house on September 18 and seized the Beedi leaves.

Excise officials had demanded Rs.1.4 million from the businessman not to take legal action in this regard.

They had taken the businessman away in a three-wheeler, beaten him up, and then had taken an amount of Rs.1 million by force.

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Test kits ordered to detect ‘Nipah’ virus




Steps have been taken to import special test kits needed for the detection of ‘Nipah’ virus, the Health Ministry said.

Special test kits recommended by the World Health Organization have been ordered to detect the virus and they are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka in a few days.

Commenting further, Virologist Dr. Janaki Abeynayake said that no specific treatment or vaccine has been developed globally for patients infected with Nipah virus.

However, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Samitha Ginige said that there is no high risk of the virus spreading among countries since the virus spreading pace is slower.

The Ministry requested the public not panic over the virus that has been reported in several countries including India.

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