Prime Minister's Media Statement during visit to Sri Lanka

Published By : Admin | March 13, 2015 | 12:23 IST
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Your Excellency Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka,

Members of the media,

27 PM Modi at Joint Press Statement WITH President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, in Colombo Sri Lanka (9)

I am delighted to be in Sri Lanka, in this beautiful city of Colombo.

I have eagerly looked forward to visiting one of our closest neighbours and a nation with which we share so much.

I am truly honoured by your warm welcome and friendship.

I am conscious of the significance of this visit. It is the first standalone bilateral visit to Sri Lanka by an Indian Prime Minister since 1987.

Last month, President Sirisena honoured us by making India his first foreign visit as President. I am glad to be here so soon.

This is how it should be between neighbours. We should meet regularly.

27 PM Modi at Joint Press Statement WITH President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, in Colombo Sri Lanka (6)

It helps us understand each other better; find solutions to mutual concerns; and, move our relationship forward.

That is what we achieved in my meetings with President Sirisena today.

Economic ties are a key pillar of our relationship.

The progress we have made reflects our shared commitment to stronger economic cooperation.

Our trade has seen impressive growth over the past decade. I am aware of your concerns about trade with India. As I said in Delhi, we will try and address them.

The agreement today on cooperation between our customs authorities is a step in that direction. It will simplify trade and reduce non-tariff barriers on both sides.

We are not just looking at addressing problems. We are also focusing on new opportunities.

Today, Lanka IOC and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation have agreed to jointly develop the Upper Tank Farm of the China Bay Installation in Trincomalee on mutually agreed terms.

A Joint Task Force will be constituted soon to work out the modalities. India stands ready to help Trincomalee become a regional petroleum hub.

27 PM Modi at Joint Press Statement WITH President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, in Colombo Sri Lanka (7)

I also look forward to early commencement of work on the ground in the Sampur Coal Power Project. This landmark project would meet Sri Lanka`s energy needs.

The ocean economy is a new frontier that holds enormous promise for both of us. It is a priority for our two countries. Our decision to set up a Joint Task Force on Ocean Economy is a significant step, especially because of our proximity.

People are at the heart of our relations. We have taken a number of decisions to encourage people to people contacts, improve connectivity, and increase tourism.

We will extend the facility of "Tourist Visa on Arrival - Electronic Travel Authorization” Scheme to Sri Lankan citizens from the Sinhala and Tamil New Year on 14 April 2015.

Air India will soon start direct flights between New Delhi and Colombo.

We will cooperate in developing a Ramayana Trail in Sri Lanka and a Buddhist Circuit in India.

27.5 PM Modi and President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena AT signing of agreements between India and Sri La (3)

We will organize a Festival of India in Sri Lanka later this year. Sri Lanka is where Buddhism has truly flourished. We will be organizing an exhibition showcasing our Buddhist heritage as part of this festival.

The Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in youth affairs is an important long term investment in our relationship.

India is privileged to be a development partner for Sri Lanka.

We will provide a fresh Line of Credit of up to US$ 318 million for the railways sector. This will be used to procure rolling stock, and to restore and upgrade existing railway track.

We are pleased to provide assistance for the construction of the Rabindranath Tagore auditorium at Ruhuna University in Matara.

Tomorrow, I will visit, some of the projects, being financed by India, including the housing project. I am pleased that more than 27,000 houses have already been built.

27 PM Modi at Joint Press Statement WITH President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, in Colombo Sri Lanka (3)

The Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka have agreed to enter into a Currency Swap Agreement of US$ 1.5 billion. This will help keep the Sri Lankan rupee stable.

We discussed the fishermen’s issue. This complex issue involves livelihood and humanitarian concerns on both sides. We should handle it from this perspective. At the same time, we need to find a long term solution to this issue.

It is also important that fishermen`s associations of India and Sri Lanka meet at the earliest to find a mutually acceptable arrangement. It can then be taken forward by both governments.

I also took this opportunity to convey our admiration for President Srinisena`s efforts to build an inclusive future for Sri Lanka.

I conveyed our sincere support and good wishes for Sri Lanka`s new journey of peace, reconciliation and progress.

27 PM Modi at Joint Press Statement WITH President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, in Colombo Sri Lanka (1)

We stand with you in your efforts to build a future that accommodates the aspirations of all sections of society, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, for a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka.

We believe that early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment and going beyond it would contribute to this process.

I also conveyed India`s commitment to further strengthening our partnership in advancing peace and prosperity in our region, including our common maritime neighbourhood.

I would like to once again thank President Sirisena for the warm welcome and hospitality.

The meeting today has been very productive. It gives me great confidence and optimism about the future of our relations.

Thank you.

'మన్ కీ బాత్' కోసం మీ ఆలోచనలు మరియు సలహాలను ఇప్పుడే పంచుకోండి!
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“During Corona time, India saved many lives by supplying essential medicines and vaccines while following its vision of ‘One Earth, One Health’”
“India is committed to become world’s reliable partner in global supply-chains”
“This is the best time to invest in India”
“Not only India is focussing on easing the processes in its quest for self-reliance, it is also incentivizing investment and production”
“India is making policies keeping in mind the goals of next 25 years. In this time period, the country has kept the goals of high growth and saturation of welfare and wellness. This period of growth will be green, clean, sustainable as well as reliable”
“‘Throw away’ culture and consumerism has deepened the climate challenge. It is imperative to rapidly move from today’s ‘take-make-use-dispose’ economy to a circular economy”
“Turning L.I.F.E. into a mass movement can be a strong foundation for P-3 i.e ‘Pro Planet People”
“It is imperative that every democratic nation should push for reforms of the multilateral bodies so that they can come up to the task dealing with the challenges of the present and the future”

Namsakar!

On behalf of 130 crore Indians, I convey my greetings to the dignitaries from all over the world gathered at the World Economic Forum. Today when I am talking to you, India is tackling another Corona wave with caution and alertness. Parallelly, India is also moving ahead in the economic field with many promising results. Today, India is filled with the excitement of the celebrations of 75 years of its independence and also with the confidence of having administered 160 crore corona vaccine doses in just one year.

Friends,

A strong democracy like India has gifted the whole world a beautiful gift, a bouquet of hope. In this bouquet, we Indians have an unwavering trust on democracy; this bouquet has the technology that will empower the 21st century; and it also has temperament and the talent of us Indians. The Multi-Lingual, Multi-Cultural environment in which we Indians live is a great power not only of India but of the whole world.This strength teaches not only to think for oneself in times of crisis, but also to work for the humanity. During the Corona time, we have seen how India, following the vision of 'One Earth, One Health', is saving crores of lives by providing necessary medicines and vaccines to many countries. Today India is the world's third largest pharma producer; it’s a pharmacy to the world. Today, India is among those countries of the world whose health professionals and doctors are winning everyone's trust through their sensitivity and expertise.

Friends,

Sensitivity is tested in times of crisis, but India's strength is an example for the whole world at the moment. During this crisis, India's IT sector has saved all the countries of the world by working round the clock.Today India is sending record software engineers to the world. More than 50 lakh software developers are working in India. Today India has the third largest number of Unicorns in the world. More than 10 thousand start-ups have been registered in the last 6 months. Today India has a huge, secure and successful digital payments platform. Last month alone, 4.4 billion transactions have been done through Unified Payments Interface in India.

Friends,

The digital infrastructure that India has developed and adopted over the years has become a huge strength of India today. Technological solutions like Arogya-Setu App for tracking Corona Infections and CoWin Portal for Vaccination are a matter of pride for India. The online facilities offered by India's CoWin portal - from slot booking to certificate generation, has caught the attention of people from bigger countries as well.

Friends,

There was a time when India was identified with the license raj and majority of the things were controlled by the government. I understand the challenges that have been there for doing business in India in those days. We are constantly trying to overcome all the challenges. Today India is promoting Ease of Doing Business, minimizing government interference. India has made its corporate tax the most competitive in the world by simplifying and reducing it. Last year alone, we have eliminated more than 25 thousand compliances. India has regained the confidence of the business community by reforming measures like retrospective taxes. India has also deregulated many sectors like Drones, Space, Geo-spatial mapping. India has made major reforms in the outdated telecom regulations related to IT sector and BPO.

Friends,

India is committed to becoming a trusted partner in the world in global supply-chains. We are making way for free-trade agreement with many countries. The ability of Indians to adopt Innovation, new technology; the spirit of entrepreneurship of Indians; can give new energy to every global partner of ours. So this is the best time to invest in India. Entrepreneurship among Indian youth is at a new height today. In 2014 where there were few hundred registered startups in India, their numbers have crossed 60 thousand today. It also has more than 80 unicorns, of which more than 40 formed in 2021 itself. Just as expat Indians are showing their skills on the global stage, in the same way Indian youth are fully ready, geared up to give new heights to the all your businesses in India.

Friends,

India's commitment to deep economic reforms is another major reason that is making India the most attractive destination for investment today. During the Corona period, when the world was focusing on interventions like Quantitative Easing Program, India paved the way for reforms. The biggest projects to modernize digital and physical infrastructure got unprecedented momentum in the Corona times itself. More than 6 lakh villages in the country are being connected with optical fibre. An investment of $1.3 trillion is being made, especially on connectivity infrastructure. Through Innovative financing tools like Asset monetization a target to generate $80 billion has been set. India has also launched the Gati Shakti National Master Plan to bring every stakeholder on the same platform for promoting development. Under this National Master Plan, work will be done on infrastructure planning, development and implementation in an integrated manner. This will give a new impetus to seamless connectivity and movement of Goods, People and Services.

Friends,

While following the path of self-reliance, India's focus is not only on easing the processes, but also on incentivizing investment and production. With this approach, today, Production Linked Incentive schemes worth $26 billion have been implemented in 14 sectors.The $10 billion incentive plan to roll out the fab, chip and display industry is a testament to our commitment to making the global supply chain smooth. We are moving ahead with the spirit of Make in India, Make for the world. Along with telecom, insurance, defence, aerospace, now there are limitless possibilities offered by India in the field of semiconductors as well.

Friends,

Today India is drafting policies, taking decisions with regard to the present as well as the goals of the next 25 years. For this period, India has set the targets of high growth and saturation of welfare and wellness. This period of growth will also be green, it will also be clean, it will also be sustainable, it will also be reliable. Continuing the tradition of making big commitments and living up to them for the global good, we have also set a target of net zero by 2070. India, with 17 per cent of the world's population, may contribute 5 per cent, only 5 percent in Global Carbon Emission, but our commitment to tackle Climate Challenge is 100 percent. Initiatives like International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure for Climate Adaptation are proof of this. As a result of the efforts of the past years, today 40% of our Energy Mix is coming from non-fossil fuel sources. We have already achieved the commitments made by India in Paris, 9 years before their target.

Friends,

In the midst of these efforts, we also have to recognize that our lifestyle is also a big challenge for the climate. 'Throw away' culture and consumerism have made the climate challenge more serious. It is very important to rapidly shift today's 'take-make-use-dispose', economy towards circular economy.The same spirit is at the core of the idea of Mission LIFE that I discussed at COP-26. LIFE - means Lifestyle for Environment, a vision of such a Resilient and Sustainable Lifestyle which will be useful in not only dealing with Climate Crisis but also with futuristic unpredictable challenges. Therefore, it is important to transform Mission LIFE into a global mass movement. A public participation campaign like LIFE can be made into a big base for, P-3 'Pro Planet People'.

Friends,

Today, at the beginning of 2022, when we are brainstorming over these issues in Davos, India also considers its responsibility to make everybody aware of few more challenges. Today, with the change in the global order, the challenges we have been facing as a global family are also increasing. To combat these, there is a need for collective and synchronized action by every country, every global agency. Supply chain disruptions, inflation and climate change are few examples of these challenges. Another example is cryptocurrency. The kind of technology that is associated with it, the decisions taken by a single country will be inadequate to deal with its challenges. We have to have a common mindset. But looking at the global scenario today, the question is whether multilateral organizations are ready to deal with the new world order and new challenges; is that strength left in them? When these institutions were formed, the situation was different. Today the circumstances are different. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every democratic country to emphasize reforms in these institutions so that they can come up to the task of tackling the challenges of present and future. I am sure there will be a positive dialogue in this direction during the discussions in Davos.

Friends,

In the midst of new challenges, the world today needs new avenues, new resolutions. Today, every country in the world needs cooperation with each other more than ever before. This is the way to a better future. I am sure this discussion in Davos will expand this spirit. Once again, I got a chance to meet you all virtually. Many thanks to you all.