14 June, 2024

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India & Sri Lanka: Identifying New Opportunities & Forging New Bonds

By Santosh Jha

Santosh Jha

Ayubowan, Namaskaar, Good Morning,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Second Seminar on India-Sri Lanka Defence Cooperation that we are organizing in Colombo. I thank you all for attending. My deep appreciation to the Hon. State Minister Mr. Tennekoon for his presence here today. I must also thank the Chief of Defence Staff of Sri Lanka and the Commanders of the Air Force and Navy for their gracious presence.We value the support extended by the Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka. We look forward to working with our Sri Lankan friends to take forward our common endeavour to deepen and further strengthen our defence cooperation.I am also grateful for the presence of Indian delegation led by Additional Secretary from Ministry of Defence. He is leading a large and very diverse delegation from the Indian defence-industry, including some leading Indian Defence Public Sector entities and wide range of industry players from the private sector.

Distinguished Guests

Relations between India and Sri Lanka are uniquely fraternal. They are very special and unlike any other we have with other countries.

Our shared civilizational past, common heritage and strong cultural connect create a natural warmth and comfort in dealing with each other. For us, as close and proximate neighbours, cooperation is the only option. It is not driven by choice and opportunity alone. Our approach to Sri Lanka is guided by our neighbourhood-first policy and our SAGAR vision. This entails that we share with our closest neighbours all that we can based on their needs and aspirations. It also entails that our approach remains generous and non-reciprocal.

Our support in recent years to Sri Lanka, during the Covid pandemic and the economic crisis, were driven by our sense of responsibility and obligation for our closest friend and neighbour. We stood shoulder to shoulder with our civilizational twin, when it was needed most, and without any hesitation. Many of you will agree that India is and will remain Sri Lanka’s most reliable friend and a trusted and dependable partner.

Our bilateral cooperation is expanding and diversifying. It is buttressed by India’s growing national capabilities.

We now cooperate in wider range of areas including infrastructure and connectivity, deeper economic engagement, trade and investment, culture and education, tourism and people to people ties.

Like in other areas, we are cooperating closely on security and defence matters. Because of our geography, our security is interlinked and intertwined. And when we speak of security, we must remember that it has acquired a wider meaning than we have traditionally associated with it.

After the covid pandemic and impact of Russia-Ukraine conflict, it has come to include energy, health,food and even economic security. This is because technology now permeates all aspects of our lives, and looking at security through a narrow and segmented lens is no longer possible. Our response, therefore, must keep this wider definition in mind. We must also act accordingly to address security in its entirety keeping the complex inter-linkages in mind.

Friends,

In recent years, the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, which means self-reliant India, has led to significant capability development within the Indian defence industry. The Government of India has promoted this vision through enabling policies and frameworks, initiatives such as establishment of defence industry corridors, and supporting and handholding different stakeholders.We have also promoted collaborations between private and government owned enterprises.

We have invested in research and development and promoted the use of innovation and new age technologies to build capabilities that are future-ready.

Our efforts are showing rich dividends in the last one decade. The Indian defence industry today rolls out state-of-the-art systems, advanced technologies and world class equipment. To name a few, this ranges from fighter aircrafts and helicopters to naval vessels, from electronic warfare systems to cyber security solutions and from small arms to large caliber precision long range artillery systems.

Not only are we producing for our own national requirements, but we have been willing to make these capabilities available to our friendly partner countries like Sri Lanka. In fact, our defence exports today stand at nearly 2.6 billion US Dollars. This is a ten-fold increase over the past five years. We export defence hardware and software to more than 85 countries with more than 100 indigenous firms active in this field.

In this effort, we have relied upon our 16 defence public sector undertakings, which have been the backbone of our defence industrial complex, and supplemented their efforts with a growing private sector participation. Our Innovations for Defence Excellence or iDEX initiative also help us building capabilities in critical and strategic technologies to bridge the gap between the expectations and requirements of the modern Armed Forces by fostering a vibrant defence innovation ecosystem.

Today, India can offer high quality, low cost,and reliable technology in defence with an assured supply chain for long term maintenance support.

As in other sectors, our endeavour has been that our growing capabilities must also benefit our neighbours, including Sri Lanka. We are committed to supporting the needs and requirements of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

I am therefore happy that the Seminar today will focus on our security and defence cooperation and help identify our shared priorities in this regard. That this Seminar is being held in Sri Lanka for the second time in the last two years underscores the value we attach to our defence partnership with Sri Lanka.

The large defence industry delegation from India further underlines our strong commitment to building industrial cooperation in the defence sector in Sri Lanka. We would also be showcasing the various advanced platforms and equipment to enable the Sri Lankan armed forces to familiarize themselves with various capabilities that have been developed indigenously in India. We are confident that these can also become viable, affordable and modern solutions for the Sri Lankan military.

I once again thank all of you for participating in this exercise. I wish the seminar and its participants all success. With your close cooperation, we are confident that we will see important and meaningful outcomes.

Thank you.

*Speech by High Commissioner of India Santosh Jha at the India – Sri Lanka Defence Seminar  : Identifying new opportunities and forging new bonds  organized  by High Commission of India today on 10th April 2024 at Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    3

    “Ayubowan, Namaskaar, Good Morning,”
    “Good bye”!

    • 2
      0

      His greetings in only Sinhalese, Sanskrit/Hindi and English, and not in Tamil India’s oldest living classical language, that has enriched, Indian culture and Hinduism and as well all Indian languages, including Sanskrit and most Southeast Asian languages and the other language spoken on the island by 25% of the population and is an official language in par with Sinhalese at least on paper, shows the anti-Tamil bias of India and its north Indian High Commissioner.

      • 2
        0

        Typical Tamil hating Brahmin mentality..

  • 7
    3

    Also, India very interested in pleasing the Sri Lankan government and Chingkalla Buddhist racists and fascists and overtly and covertly aiding and abetting the ethnic cleansing and structural genocide of the native Eezham Thamizh from the north and east. Just mouth concerns about the plight of Thamizh on the island but everything that Hindia does is to help the Chingkallams to commit structural genocide and destroy the Thamizh. You wait once the Chingkallams and Thullkans take control of the ancient Thamizh north and east, China and Pakistan will be at your southern doorstep. Good. 25% of the island’s population speak Thamizh as their mother tongue but yet to see a Thamizh speaking High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. It will never happen as Hindia is basically anti Thamizh, whoever is in power and want to please Chingkallams and help them also to destroy Thamizh , hence all this military cooperation to destroy Thamizh. Will not even insist on the implementation of Sec 13A that India only brought in.

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