The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka hosted an appreciation reception on Tuesday (June 06) to appreciate the Sri Lanka Navy divers who participated in the search and rescue operation of the capsized Chinese vessel – Lupeng Yuanyu 028.
Before the reception, a minute of silence for the victims of the tragedy was observed and a special video clip presented by the Sri Lankan Navy to introduce the heroic rescue mission was played.
During the event, 09 divers of the Sri Lanka Navy were felicitated for their bravery. Floral tributes were paid to Lieutenant Commander S.A.I.A Subhasinghe, Petty Officer K.P.A. Arunajith, Petty Officer E.M.D.A. Ekanayaka, Petty Officer D.D.N. Jayathissa, Leading Seaman H.D. Darshana, Leading Seaman N.M.C.L. Narayana, Able Seaman W.W.N.C. Sandaruwan, Able Seaman I.D.L.M. Dissanayaka, and Able Seaman R.S. Kumarage.
The event was attended by a host of distinguished guests including Chinese ambassador in Colombo – Qi Zhenhong, Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to Sri Lanka’s President – Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, the Indonesian ambassador to Sri Lanka – Madam Dewi Gustina Tobing, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka – Mr. Paul Stephens, Minister of Transport and Mass Media – Mr. Bandula Gunawardena, State Minister of Defence – Mr. Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, State Minister of Foreign Affairs – Mr. Tharaka Balasuriya, Chief of Defence Staff – Gen. Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army – Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy – Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, the commanding officer and crew of the SLNS Vijayabahu, diplomats and media.
Speaking, the Chinese ambassador – Mr. Qi Zhenhong praised the SLNS Vijayabahu crew and pointed out that the Sri Lankan divers were the first to dive into the water and enter the hull at the risk of their lives. “The Chinese people and all the families of the crew members of the fishing boat will always remember this special friendship,” he said.
The ambassador also thanked the Sri Lankan President – Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe “for his decisive and timely decision to provide full assistance” and defence officials for their immediate response despite the long distance.
“I would like to thank all the countries and agencies involved in the search and rescue operation for their timely help. This is not only a joint action to fulfill international obligations, but also a glorious mission to demonstrate the spirit of international humanitarianism,” he added.
Addressing the gathering, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy – Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera said that this was the first ever diving operation by the Navy so far from Sri Lanka and that it was ‘truly an international effort. The incident had taken place in the Australian Search and Rescue region, the vessel involved was Chinese, the SLNS Vjayabahu was granted by the USA and almost 95% of the diving team had trained in India, he pointed out.
Adding a few words, Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to Sri Lanka’s President – Mr. Sagala Ratnayake also commended the bravery of the SLNS Vijayabahu crew and also thanked the Chinese embassy not only for the felicitation of the divers, but for inviting the entire crew of the SLNS Vjayabahu vessel for the event.
“As far as our relations go with China, I hope this helps us to strengthen it. You have held us through many tough times, especially during the crisis that we’ve had,” he said.
President inaugurates 10th National Scout Jamboree (Pics)
As the Chief Scout of Sri Lanka, President Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurated the 10th National Scout Jamboree in Trincomalee today (Feb. 21).
The National Scout Jamboree is being held in Trincomalee with the participation of 11,500 scouts, from SL & 28 other countries.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Jamboree, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized Sri Lanka’s potential for rapid development and security enhancement through unified action.
He stressed the event’s inclusive nature, transcending caste and religious barriers, and highlighted the significance of national unity in achieving common goals.
The President pledged support for expanding the Scout Association, recognizing its role in fostering responsible citizens.
Additionally, he announced plans for collaboration between the Scout Association and the Ministry of Technology to harness cross-sector interactions for national progress.
Indian High Commissioner visits Northern Province (Pics)
High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka – Mr. Santosh Jha undertook his first official visit to the Northern Province from Feb. 15-17, 2024.
Diverse engagements during the visit attest to the deep-rooted nature of the bilateral partnership as also India’s firm commitment to deepening socio-economic and cultural ties with Northern Province, a media release by the Indian High Commission notes. With grant assistance of more than SLR 70 billion, Northern Province has been a region of focus in India’s multi-dimensional development cooperation partnership with Sri Lanka and the visit was an opportunity to reiterate India’s unwavering commitment to the people of the region, it adds.
The High Commissioner paid special emphasis to furthering connectivity initiatives, the central theme of the bilateral economic partnership vision document issued in July 2023. He visited Kankesanthurai (KKS) Port and the historic Talaimannar Pier and spoke of the need for expeditious resumption of ferry services between the two countries. He expressed confidence regarding earliest recommencement of Nagapattinam-KKS ferry in the coming weeks and informed his interlocutors of ongoing efforts for the resumption of ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram. During his visit to Palaly Airport, he explored means to strengthen air connectivity through infrastructure development at the airport.
Underscoring the rich and shared cultural heritage between India and Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner offered prayers at the historic Ram Sethu (Adam’s Bridge). He also visited the ancient Thiruketheeswaram temple, which was renovated with grant assistance from the Government of India. He prayed for well-being and prosperity of the people of India and Sri Lanka as he paid respects at the Nagapooshani Amman Temple and Nagavihara in Nainativu island; revered Madhu Church in Mannar; and Nallur Kandaswamy temple. Further, he attended Thyagaraja Aradhana at the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre, a gift from the people of India.
Reaffirming India’s commitment to diverse sections of the society, the High Commissioner distributed deep freezers to fishermen communities in Mannar towards enhancing their livelihood opportunities. He also distributed dry rations to hundreds of needy families in Jaffna and Kilinochchi, with special focus on those headed by women.
In India’s endeavour to contribute towards addressing energy needs of islands off Jaffna, he assessed the readiness for early roll out of the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems Project in Nainativu Island. It may be recalled that this project is being implemented in Delft, Nainativu and Analaitivu Islands through grant assistance from India.
The High Commissioner paid homage at the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) Memorial.
The High Commissioner had engaging discussions with a wide cross section of stakeholders in the region including elected representatives, academics, and businessmen, among several others on avenues for further collaboration and development.
(Pics : Indian High Commission in Colombo)
Mace handed over to new Serjeant-at-Arms (Pics)
Outgoing Serjeant-at-Arms of Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando traditionally handed over the Mace and the Sword of the Serjeant-at-Arms to his successor Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne this morning (Jan. 30) near the Chamber Door of the Parliament.
As the Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando is going to retire today (30) after serving in the Parliament for over 42 years, the Mace and his Sword were traditionally handed over to the successive Serjeant-at-Arms.
Mr. Narendra Fernando, the 6th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament, took over the duties of the Serjeant-at-Arms from the year 2018.
Accordingly, Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne is scheduled to take over duties as the 7th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament tomorrow (Jan. 31).
(Pics : Department of Communication, Parliament)
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