July 08, Colombo: An event to commemorate the formation of the India-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association as well as to mark the forthcoming visits of parliamentary delegations led by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to India was held at India House on 7th July, an Indian High Commission press release said.
Welcoming the august gathering which included Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Leader of House Nimal Siripala de Silva, Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremasinghe, several Ministers in the Government, Members of Parliament, senior officials and members of the media, High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha expressed his deep appreciation of the fact that the India-Sri Lanka Friendship Association has Prime Minister, Speaker and Leader of the Opposition as its Patrons and Leader of Opposition as its President.
More than 70 MPs representing virtually all political parties in Sri Lankan Parliament are members of the Association reflecting the strong across-the-board support in Parliament for India-Sri Lanka relations.
High Commissioner stated that India and Sri Lanka enjoy a vibrant and multi-faceted partnership and with the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka, there exists an opportunity for the two countries to exploit the full potential of their bilateral ties. He expressed confidence that the efforts of our Parliamentarians would enable us to derive the benefits of proximity, enhanced connectivity, and economic engagement and lead to a newer and higher level of friendship between the two countries.
The India-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association was revived in the Sri Lankan Parliament within a few months of its formation. The Parliamentary Friendship Group in the Indian Parliament has also been reconstituted recently.
There has been a regular exchange of visits between the Parliaments of the two countries. Speaker of Lok Sabha, Mrs. Meira Kumar had visited Sri Lanka from 11-16 February, 2011 to attend the 3rd CPA Asia Regional Conference. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa will be travelling to India twice in the next few weeks first, for the Fifth Conference of Association of SAARC Speakers from 9-12 July and subsequently for a bilateral visit at the invitation of Speaker of Lok Sabha from 1-6 August.
In his remarks, High Commissioner expressed the hope and confidence that Speaker’s visit to India will be pleasant and productive and will lead to further strengthening of ties between the two Parliaments.