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High Level SL delegation attends DefExpo2022

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A three-member official delegation from Sri Lanka, led by State Minister of Defence Hon’ble Premitha Bandara Tennakoon and comprising Army and Navy officers, is currently on a visit to India for attending India’s premier biennial global defence exhibition DefExpo2022. The exhibition was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 October 2022 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. This is the second occasion in the past year during which a Minister from Sri Lanka is participating at an event inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi. It may be recalled that Ministers from Sri Lanka were a part of the inaugural international flight to Kushinagar airport in October 2021.
Speaking at DefExpo2022, Hon’ble State Minister Premitha Bandara Tennakoon hailed the partnership between India and Sri Lanka in the defence sphere.  He highlighted the importance of defence industrial base in augmenting Security policy and noted that DefExpo 2022 provided a great avenue for a deeper understanding of the nature of transformation in modern warfare across five dimensions.

DefExpo2022 is the biggest-defence exhibition, which showcases the growing prowess of India’s defence industry to achieve the vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ as well as self-reliance in the defence domain. Live demonstrations showcasing the equipment and skill sets of the Armed Forces, Defence Public Sector Units and industry were also organized.

The Sri Lankan dignitary met the Minister of State for Defence and Tourism of India Shri Ajay Bhatt on 17 October 2022 along the sidelines of DefExpo2022.  During the meeting, India’s readiness to continue to support Sri Lanka in the defence sphere was reiterated. The Sri Lankan delegation also had cordial interactions with Defence Minister, Defence Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff and all three Service Chiefs of India during the visit.

Bilateral engagement in defence is multi-dimensional in nature. High level exchanges continued both ways despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. SLINEX (Naval Exercise) and exercise MITRA SHAKTI (Army Exercise) are held every year alternatively in India and Sri Lanka. Both Armed Forces collaborate closely in dealing with common security challenges such as drug and human trafficking.   The Colombo Security Conclave has emerged as a key security platform in recent times to address such issues at a regional level. The first ever Dornier maritime reconnaissance aircraft from India to enhance the maritime surveillance capabilities of Sri Lanka was inducted into Sri Lanka Air Force Fleet on 15th August 2022 in the august presence of President His Excellency Ranil Wickremesinghe.  

Experience sharing and capacity building has been a key pillar of India-Sri Lanka defence cooperation, which is marked by great camaraderie and mutual benefit in enhancing our shared security. Indian military establishments including NDC have been the preferred choice of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces for decades and have produced leaders of Sri Lankan Armed forces. Annually, 1500-1700 slots are allocated to Sri Lankan trainees which amounts to around INR 500-550 million (more than USD 6 million). Similarly, Indian Armed Forces officers are also hosted by the friendly Armed Forces of Sri Lanka, including for specialized training modules in various fields such as counter insurgency.

Both sides cooperate also on humanitarian aspects such as averting large scale environmental damages,  expeditious supply of Liquid Medical Oxygen and other assistance materials, repatriation of around 700 Indian nationals back to their motherland with the assistance of Sri Lanka Armed Forces during COVID-19 etc.

The futuristic partnership between the two neighbours underscores India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy as well as Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) doctrine. India will continue to strengthen its multi-dimensional cooperation with Sri Lanka for mutual benefit and also for enhancing regional peace, security and stability.

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Apple is the world’s first $1 trillion brand: Kantar

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Kantar BrandZ’s Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands 2024 has named Apple as the world’s first trillion-dollar brand, holding onto pole position for the third consecutive year. 

Google, Microsoft, and Amazon join Apple atop the rankings, with McDonald’s rounding up the top 5.

Demonstrating how effective AI has become for driving brand value, NVIDIA has lept 18 places to crack the top 10 for the first time, holding sixth position with a 178% year-on-year brand value increase. 

Facebook rejoined the Top 10 after a one-year absence, while Oracle joined the Top 10 for the first time. 

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The G7 Summit begins today

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Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are meeting for a three-day summit, starting today (13 June) to discuss global affairs in the southern region of Puglia (Apulia), Italy.  

Heads of state of the seven members – the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom – as well as the chiefs of the European Council and the European Commission will be present at the event.

Italy, the host of this year’s event, has extended an invitation to more than 10 other countries for sideline discussions. These include UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Notable absentees are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who it  is reported, had been invited.

Support for Ukraine is top of the agenda. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to arrive on the summit’s first day for two sessions dedicated to the war-torn country. The G7’s most anticipated outcome is an agreement over a $50bn loan for Ukraine backed by profits accrued on Russian assets frozen in the West. 

The war on Gaza is also expected to dominate talks. 

Pope Francis will also be among the guests – the first time a pontiff has been invited to the summit – for a session dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI). Other specific sessions will be on migration, financial issues and the situation in the Asia Pacific. 

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University applications open tomorrow 

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced that online applications for university admissions for the academic year 2023/2024 will open tomorrow (14 June).

Applications will be available from 6 am tomorrow at www.ugc.ac.lk
The application deadline is 5 July 2024. 

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