Categories
Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka Gains from Indo-Chinese Supremacy Battle

As India and China jostle for influence in the Indian Ocean region, the island nation of Sri Lanka seems to be getting unintended economic benefits.
China has pledged more financial assistance as Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Shanghai Expo exhibition earlier this month.

China is already the biggest lender for the Indian Ocean island. Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene says that China has, so far, pledged more than $3bn (£1.9bn) for infrastructure development, maintenance and other projects.

“China has been investing in Sri Lanka when many other countries were reluctant to invest during the war,” he tells BBC Sinhala service.

China has finished the first phase of the major sea port of Hambantota on the southern Sri Lankan coast – Mr Rajapaksa’s hometown – and is funding a new airport in the south. Chinese firms are also rebuilding roads in the north.

Many other projects are already in the pipeline, including handling a Special Economic Zone, a 900 megawatt coal-fired power plant and the Colombo-Katunayake expressway, the road connecting the capital with the island’s only international airport.

China is also funding port projects in Chitagong in Bangladesh and in Pakistan and Burma.

Categories
General

MR orders complete inquiry

While denying reports that the Sri Lankan Navy had fired on Indian fishermen, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he instructed the Navy to carry out a detailed investigation into the incident, the Hindu reported today.

Talking over breakfast to foreign correspondents at his Temple Trees residence in Colombo this morning, he said that the Sri Lankan Navy was not involved in the incident.

Asked if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had spoken to him about the incident, he said that the Prime Minister had not. Asked if the Sri Lankan government would take action in the event of the firing being committed by its security forces, he said that despite the preliminary investigation – which established that the Navy was not involved — he had asked the Navy Commander to conduct a detailed investigation.

The Sri Lankan Navy’s chief of operations, said that the incident occurred well within the Indian waters. “The sea is very shallow in these areas and the position of all our ships’ locations are monitored by land-based and other equipment. This is in the open and anyone can check,” he told The Hindu, denying that the Sri Lankan Navy had anything to do with the incident.
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Categories
Military

MR orders full inquiry

While denying reports that the Sri Lankan Navy had fired on Indian fishermen, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he instructed the Navy to carry out a detailed investigation into the incident, the Hindu reported today.

Talking over breakfast to foreign correspondents at his Temple Trees residence in Colombo this morning, he said that the Sri Lankan Navy was not involved in the incident.

Asked if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had spoken to him about the incident, he said that the Prime Minister had not. Asked if the Sri Lankan government would take action in the event of the firing being committed by its security forces, he said that despite the preliminary investigation – which established that the Navy was not involved — he had asked the Navy Commander to conduct a detailed investigation.

The Sri Lankan Navy’s chief of operations, said that the incident occurred well within the Indian waters. “The sea is very shallow in these areas and the position of all our ships’ locations are monitored by land-based and other equipment. This is in the open and anyone can check,” he told The Hindu, denying that the Sri Lankan Navy had anything to do with the incident.

Categories
Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka extend support to legal affairs in Fiji island

(SLBC) Sri Lanka is to provide support to enhance legal section in Fiji Island. Visiting Fijian Chief Justice Anthony Harold met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees this morning. At the discussion he pointed out that many Sri Lankan legal experts are engaged in state and private legal activities in the Fiji Island. President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed that service of the Sri Lankan legal experts should be obtained in more efficient manner and pledged necessary support and advice to streamline legal activities in the Fiji island.

Categories
Domestic

World Bank MD Calls on President

Surpassing the USD 2000 per capita income, Sri Lanka is no longer an underdeveloped country and as a result not qualified for International Development Association (IDA) loans that provide interest free financial assistance to underdeveloped countries, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank Group stated.

She made this statement when she called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today (17).

Instead, the World Bank will consider providing a commercial loan of USD 265 million from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, she said.

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), an arm of the World Bank aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy countries by promoting sustainable development through loans, guarantees, risk management products, and analytical and advisory services.

`The World Bank has been an active partner in supporting Sri Lanka in its transition from a low income country in conflict to a middle income country in peace`, said Dr. Okonjo-Iweala.

The post-conflict environment provides an opportunity to build on our relationship to support the government`s vision to firmly establish the country`s place in the ranks of fast growing middle income countries, she said.

In addition to funding, she said the World Bank is willing to share knowledge and expertise with Sri Lanka regarding urban development.

Foreign Direct Investment is vital for any middle income country to achieve its economic targets, she added.

She also emphasized the importance of seeking alternative energy sources as the world is on the brink of an energy crisis.
Deputy Minister of External Affairs Geethanjana Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Novard Cabrall were also present at the dicussion.

Categories
Military

Uttama Pooja – 8th Medal Awarding Ceremony at Hingurakgoda

The fallen war heroes of Army, Navy, Air Force and Police, who sacrificed their noble lives to save their motherland from the ruthless LTTE terrorists for the past 3 decades were commemorated by presenting the “Uththama Pooja Prenama medal” to their beloved parents and wives was held at the Air Force base premises-Hingurakgoda today (03rd Dec). Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa participated to the event as the Chief Guest.

The welcome speech was presented by the president of Ranviru Seva Authority Mrs. Padma Wettawa. The gazette extra ordinary published by HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 16th July 2010 was read out by the Director of Ranaviru Seva Authority Mr. Shirya Danansooriya which include the style and designation, description, ribbon, eligibility, awarding of the medal, forfeiture and restoration of the medal.

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa speaking at the occasion stated that the medal is righteously presented to the kit and kin of those brave men and women of the armed services as tribute to their noble sacrifices made. Though there are a number of welfare schemes and projects underway for war heroes and their families the ‘Uttana Pooja’ medal was decided as an honour and appreciation of the direct contribution of the ‘ranaviru families’ in the humanitarian bid for permanent peace, he said.

Overall this is an opportunity to show our gratitude as a nation that never forgets its brave men and women. An example well set for our future generations to follow, Secretary Defence further asserted. 1736 family members of fallen war heroes received medals at the ceremony including 1170, 397, 169 respectively from Polonnaruwa, Trincomalle and Batticaloa districts.

Chairperson of the Ranaviru Seva Authority Mrs. Padma Wetthewa, Director Ranaviru Seva Authority Mr. Shriya Dananasooriya, Additional Secretary Ministry of Defence Mr. RMS Rathnayake, GA Polonnaruwa district Nimal Abesiri, Director Welfare Sri Lanka Air Force Air Vice Marshal Anura Silva, Commanding Officer SLAF Hingurakgoda Group Captain H.M.S.K.B Kotakadeniya were also present at the occasion.