India to establish centre for Contemporary Indian Studies at Sri Lankan university

July 12, The Indian government in a measure to enhance the educational relations with Sri Lanka signed an agreement today with Sri Lanka’s University of Colombo to establish a Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies (CCIS) at the University.

The High Commissioner of India Ashok K Kantha and Vice-Chancellor of University of Colombo Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today in the presence of Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris seeking to establish a Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies (CCIS) at the University of Colombo.

Under the MoU, India will provide grant assistance of 56.5 million rupees plus related academic and research assistance towards the establishment of the CCIS, its library and IT based resource centre, according to a press statement from the High Commission.

An annual grant will also be provided to run the Centre, provide two Chairs, award scholarships, and organize student and teacher exchange. The University of Colombo will host the academic and research activities of the Centre and also provide necessary infrastructure.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof G.L. Peiris has highlighted that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s vision for the country is sharply focused on the development of youth potential in the country and in the region. Prof. Peiris has said, CCIS is a step in the right direction to tap this potential and that it would encourage people to people contacts between Sri Lanka and India and enrich them by learning from the shared academic and cultural experiences.

Prof. Hirimburegama has expressed confidence that the Centre would make a strong contribution in furthering already strong educational relations between the two countries.

High Commissioner Ashok Kantha has said the idea to establish the Centre was mooted in the Joint Declaration issued during the State visit of the Sri Lankan President to India in June 2010. The President and the Prime Minister had welcomed this initiative recognizing the immense potential that exists in the two countries to tap knowledge as a key driver of economic and social advancement.

Kantha has said that it is an important initiative which will contribute in a meaningful manner to bilateral relations. Both countries having interlinked destinies are at momentous juncture which presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to tap the full potential of the relationship. The Centre will promote study of contemporary developments in India, which have a direct bearing on Sri Lanka’s development as a society and an economy, including as a regional hub.

The High Commissioner has expressed the confidence that the Centre will serve to deepen the understanding of contemporary India in Sri Lanka.

“It has the potential to emerge as a premier resource centre and academic hub for studies on contemporary India which will benefit foreign policy makers, businessmen, academics and students alike,” he has said.

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