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China donates school equipment & uniforms to 12,000 schoolchildren (Pics)

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A donation of 12,000 school bags full of stationery and other study/daily items as well as 43,000 meters of school uniform fabric was gifted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China to local needy students.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, PM Dinesh Gunawardena and Chinese ambassador – Mr. Qi Zhenhong attended a distribution ceremony this morning at the Hanwella Rajasinghe Central College, to hand over the donation.

Museum on history of Seethawaka

Addressing the event, President Wickremesinghe revealed that he has instructed the Department of Archaeology to explore the archaeological treasures of Seethawaka Kingdom. This effort aims to shed light on the historical significance of the region and pave the way for the construction of a museum dedicated to Seethawaka’s history.

The President had also expressed his dissatisfaction with the current education system and his determination to transform Sri Lanka into a vocational training centre while providing children with an education system that empowers them for the future.

Education, a vital investment

Meanwhile Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena underscored the significance of education as a vital investment in the country’s future. He emphasized the government’s unwavering commitment to the educational sector and acknowledged the importance of providing essential school equipment, generously provided by the Chinese government, to students.

The Prime Minister also paid tribute to the historical role of Rajasingha Central College Hanwella as the first Central College in the Kelani Valley, which has educated numerous students who have gone on to contribute significantly to the nation’s development. He emphasized the collective efforts of various governments that have made substantial contributions to the growth and advancement of Rajasingha Central College, Hanwella.

Chinese support to eradicate “poverty trap” & “trap of non-development”

Speaking at the event, the Chinese ambassador in Colombo – Mr. Qi Zhenhong said that China will firmly support “Sri Lanka in its efforts to achieve sustainable development, get rid of the “poverty trap” and “trap of non-development” and safeguard its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity.”

“At the present, our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters are faced with temporary difficulties of development. We firmly believe that under the strong leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, the heroic people of Sri Lanka will surely overcome these difficulties and open up an even brighter future,” the ambassador added.

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Seminar on India – Sri Lanka Defence Cooperation held (Pics)

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The High Commission of India in Colombo organised a Seminar on Defence Cooperation with the theme “Identifying New Opportunities and Forging New Bonds” to promote Indian Made Defence equipment and explore avenues for collaboration in defence production today (April 10) in Colombo.

State Minister of Defence – Premitha Bandara Tennakoon was the Chief Guest. High Commissioner of India – Santosh Jha participated in the event with the Indian delegation led by Shri Anurag Bajpai, Additional Secretary (Defence Production), Ministry of Defence, Government of India. 

The delegation comprised representatives from Indian Defence companies including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Zen Technologies, SSS Defence, Bharat Forge, Big Bang Boom Solutions, AWEL, AVNL, Mahindra Defence, Sager Defence and TATA Advances System Ltd. 

From the Sri Lankan side, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of Sri Lanka Navy, Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force and other senior officers from Sri Lankan Armed Forces, Police and Special Task Force graced the event, as also representatives of leading Sri Lankan business conglomerates.
High Commissioner Jha underlined the increasing diversification of India-Sri Lanka bilateral cooperation across domains, including in security and defence matters. He emphasised that because of geography, the security of India and Sri Lanka is interlinked and intertwined. India’s defence exports today stand at nearly 2.6 billion US Dollars, a ten-fold increase over the past five years. The High Commissioner stated that the seminar was another platform to explore ways of extending India’s increasing capabilities in the defence sector to Sri Lanka.

The State Minister of Defence lauded the growth of the Indian defence industry, and said that the seminar would facilitate collaboration between two countries contributing to a stable Indian Ocean Region. The Minister stated that the procurement of cost effective and tailor made products from India in the last decade had helped protect Sri Lanka’s sovereignty & territorial integrity. He emphasized that collaboration and joint R&D with Indian defence industries would also lead to the country’s economic revival. The Minister also thanked the Government of India for standing by Sri Lanka in the times of crisis.

Addressing the gathering Additional Secretary (DP), Shri Anurag Bajpai described Sri Lanka as India’s priority partner and reassured that India stands committed towards ensuring capacity & capability building of Sri Lanka Armed Forces as part of PM Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security & And Growth for All in the Region). He highlighted the common security challenges faced in the Indian Ocean Region and called for enhanced collaboration to create a safer environment. He shared Atma Nirbhar Bharat’s, self-reliant India’s upward trajectory in establishing robust R&D and indigenous manufacturing ecosystems, while fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

It may be recalled that a similar Defence Seminar cum Exhibition was previously conducted on 07 June 2023 at Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Armed forces have been successfully operating a range of Indian defence equipment like L-70 guns, Indra Radar, Offshore Patrol Vessels and Army training simulators. More recently the GoI has committed supply of Floating Dock, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and Dornier aircraft which would ensure capacity building of Sri Lanka Armed Forces. The Seminar was yet another reaffirmation of India’s commitment to building capacities for Sri Lanka, in line with the Neighbourhood First Policy.

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‘Nekath Seettuwa’ presented to the President (Pics)

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Following customs and traditions, the ‘Nekath Seettuwa’, the table of auspicious times for this year’s Sinhala and Tamil New Year, was presented to President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat today (10).

The table of auspicious times, duly prepared by the State Astrologers’ Committee of the Department of Cultural Affairs, was then presented to the President.

Minister of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Vidura Wickremanayake presented the ‘Nekath Seettuwa’ to the President in accordance with traditional customs. 
Auspicious periods comprise of various timings such as the New Year’s Eve, Punya Kaalaya or inauspicious time, timings for cooking, working, eating, anointing, setting off for work and more.

Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the President Mr. Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Buddha Shasana Religious and Cultural Affairs Mr. Somaratne Vidanapathirana and several others attended this event.

(President’s Media Division)

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Slave island flyover inaugurated (Pics)

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has inaugurated the flyover spanning the railway line linking Slave Island with Justice Akbar Mawatha and Uttarankanda Mawatha earlier today (April 08)

The rest of the construction work of this project is planned to be completed by the month of September, and the estimated amount for the entire project is Rs. 5,278,081,272.43.

It has been observed that nearly 3 hours of time is wasted daily due to the railway crossing located in Kompanna Veediya area, which is a very busy commercial city with various institutions including government offices, hospitals, religious places, restaurants and movie theatres.

In order to avoid the delay, the construction work of this project, which is implemented by the Road Development Authority, is being carried out by Maga Engineering Company.

Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana, United National Party (UNP) Chairman, MP Wajira Abeywardena, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, Transport and Highways Ministry Secretary R.W.R. Pemasiri, Road Development Authority Chairman C.P. Athuluwage, Road Development Authority Director General Priyantha Suriyabandara and number of officials attended the event.

(President’s Media Division)

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