The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe was on a working visit to New Delhi from 22nd – 24th November 2017.
During his visit the Prime Minister attended the Inaugural Session of the ‘5th Global Conference on Cyber Space: 2017’ held in New Delhi, where the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi was the Chief Guest.
Addressing the Inaugural Session, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that today, cyber space is the most crucial mode of transmitting information and knowledge. Cyber space has become a key source of upgrading human lives, human resources and social transformation. Nevertheless, it has also posed new challenges to the social system. It has not only threatened civil liberties but has affected the personal freedom of people in many ways. Hence, time has come to focus on establishing a framework for an ethical cyber space, said Prime Minister Wickremsinghe. He noted that, there needed to be a balance between the freedom of information and civil liberties. The balance between the two can create the development of the cyber space and revolutionize the communication field.
The Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) is a prestigious global event which was launched with a view to establishing a more focused and inclusive dialogue between all those with a stake in the internet; governments, civil society and the industry and, on how to use and implement the tools available in cyber space. It also aims to carry forward ‘rules of the road’ on behavior in cyber space. Representatives from 135 countries participated at the GCCS this year and more than 2800 viewers from worldwide participated live at the GCCS.
During the visit, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had official bilateral talks with the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on 23rd November 2017. Prime Minister Modi hosted a Luncheon for the Prime Minister and his delegation. During the meeting, the two leaders reviewed progress of projects that have been agreed upon and the implementation that needed to be accelerated.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India is happy to join hands with Sri Lanka on development projects for economic advancement, which would provide employment opportunities for people. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe stated that Sri Lanka welcomes development projects with Indian involvement, which would contribute to Sri Lanka’s economic progress and agreed that the two sides needed to work together to clear any difficulties in the implementation process.
The Prime Minister also paid a courtesy call on President of India, Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapathi Bhawan in New Delhi. President Kovind stated that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s leadership had contributed profoundly to the present status of close relations between the two countries and extended his best wishes to the prosperity of Sri Lanka. On behalf of the President of Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe extended his warm congratulations and best wishes to President Kovind on his assumption of duties as the President of India. This was the first meeting between the two leaders after President Kovind was sworn in the post in July 2017. During the meeting, the President underlined the importance of taking forward the historical connections between India and Sri Lanka that formed the basis for a conducive economic and development partnership.
During the visit, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also met with Smt. Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress. Smt. Sonia was accompanied by Dr. Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India, Shri Rahul Gandhi, Vice President of the Indian National Congress and Shri Anand Sharma of the Rajya Sabha. They discussed the current developments in Sri Lanka and views were exchanged on bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka and the developments in the region that impact on the political, economic and social fields of the countries.
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj called on Prime Minister Wickramasinghe during his visit. At the meeting the two dignitaries discussed the necessary steps required to strengthen the outstanding relationship between the two countries.
Overall, the visit paved the way to discuss at length the proposed agreements between the two countries on economic and technical cooperation. At the discussions it was agreed that the economic and technical cooperation should be based on the guidelines of the existing bilateral framework. The discussions with the President, Prime Minister and the Minister of External Affairs of India enabled the two sides to focus on further strengthening relations between India and Sri Lanka. The matters discussed during the last meeting relating to development projects were reviewed and the challenges ahead on implementation were focused during the discussions. The need to work together on Indian Ocean related projects was also emphasized.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was accompanied by Prof. Maithree Wickramasinghe, Minister of Law and Order of Sri Lanka, Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Saman Ekanayake, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India, Chitranganee Wagiswara, Additional Secretary/Media at the Prime Minister’s Office, Saman Athaudahetti, Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in India, M R K Lenagala, and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Sandra Perera, who joined the Prime Minister at the meetings.