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

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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)

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Russian Embassy issues statement on controversial night event in Unawatuna

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The Russian Embassy in Colombo has issued a statement condemning all forms of racial discrimination and nationalism in response to the recent controversy surrounding a planned night event in Unawatuna.

The statement clarified that the event, organized with a “dress-code: white” theme, was planned by a group of entrepreneurs.

The Embassy acknowledged that, according to unconfirmed data, the main promoter and the bar owners who agreed to host the party have been identified as Russian citizens.

However, amidst confusion and concerns over entry conditions, the organizers issued apologies, clarifying that their intentions were not to cause harm, and subsequently called off the event.

The Russian Embassy emphasized Russia’s firm stance against such injustices and expressed a commitment to combating them.

Additionally, the embassy urged all Russian citizens visiting or residing in Sri Lanka to strictly adhere to the country’s laws and respect local customs.

The statement aimed to address the controversy and reinforce the importance of promoting inclusivity and cultural sensitivity.


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TM Dilshan granted Australian citizenship

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Former Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan has been granted Australian citizenship, confirmed by Australian MP Jason Wood in a social media post.

Dilshan, renowned for his explosive batting style, played a pivotal role in numerous victories for the Sri Lankan cricket team throughout his career. 

The 47-year-old’s acquisition of Australian citizenship marks a new chapter in his life post-retirement from professional cricket.

“Today’s citizenship ceremony was made even more special with the attendance of Tillakaratne Dilshan, a former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain of the Sri Lanka national cricket team.

“Dilshan is regarded as the best Sri Lankan player in run-chases in ODI history. 

He also holds the record for being the top run-scorer in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup with 500 runs and scored a century against England in the semi-final. 

Additionally, he was part of the Sri Lankan team that won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20,” posted MP Jason Wood on social media.

MP Jason Wood, welcoming Dilshan as a new Australian citizen and local resident, expressed hope that the veteran would consider joining a local team.

“It was great to hear that his daughter Resandi is following in her father’s footsteps,” he added.

Tillakaratne Dilshan amassed over 10,000 runs from 330 ODIs since his one-day international debut in 1999 against Zimbabwe. 

His Test career spanned 87 matches, during which he accumulated 5492 runs, including a high-score of 193. 

In 80 T20I matches, Dilshan made 1889 runs, featuring one century and 13 half-centuries.

Renowned for his unorthodox style, including the innovative scoop shot, Dilshan proved to be an extremely effective and versatile batsman across formats throughout his career.

Source: ABP News Bureau

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Chinese woman arrested for Financial Fraud

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A 52-year-old Chinese women has been arrested by the police for her alleged involvement in financial fraud amounting to nearly Rs. 8.4 million.

The female suspect was apprehended in the Kollupitiya police division on Saturday, following investigations initiated based on a complaint received by the Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau on January 31.

According to the police, the arrested individual had reportedly obtained Rs. 8.4 million in total from multiple persons. 

She allegedly claimed that the funds were for a business venture and assured the amount would be returned.

The Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau is conducting further investigations into the case to gather more details about the nature of the fraud and the individuals affected by it. 

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