By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday said both India and Sri Lanka should forge together with a long term common plan to effectively harness the great potential for a shared future rather than on a piecemeal or issues-basis.
He made this observation during his keynote at the Indian CEO Forum’s annual fellowship banquet at the Taj Samudra, Colombo.
Scheduled to make his first visit to India and hold bilateral talks with Premier Narendra Modi since assuming Presidency, Wickremesinghe, said his primary objective is to enhance “connectivity” at all levels between the two countries.
“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. I hope to discuss this with Prime Minister Modi,” Wickremesinghe said.
Sri Lanka’s 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,” the President added.
“It’s crucial to recognise 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,” the President stressed.
To put in context the need for a long-term plan, the President traced the history of relations between India and Sri Lanka. “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.