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Milinda pushes for Indo-Lanka strategic-level partnership

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Milinda Moragoda, who is scheduled to relinquish duties as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in New Delhi, has stressed the pivotal importance of the two countries developing the current relationship to a strategic level, on the basis of recently inked agreements.

Moragoda said so addressing the students of the 63rd National Defence Course at the National Defence College (NDC) in New Delhi, on the theme ‘Evolution of India-Sri Lanka Relation: Opportunities and Challenges.’

Moragoda will be replaced by Kshenuka Seneviratne, one-time Foreign Secretary who held several key appointments overseas. Seneviratne, currently attached to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Office, is expected to take up the new appointment in October this year.

At the outset, High Commissioner Moragoda highlighted the uniqueness of India-Sri Lanka relations drawing examples from historical ties to the present-day dynamics which involve a wide range of critical facets that define the relations between India and her closest maritime neighbour Sri Lanka.

During his interactive session, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner focused on key thematic areas of cooperation in the fields of economy, energy, culture, defence, and regional dynamics in the Indian Ocean, and explained how the India-Sri Lanka relations over the years have grown from a transactional phase to a special relationship. He also highlighted the importance of elevating the existing special relationship to a strategic level with the gradual progression of recently inked initiatives.

While thanking the Indian Government for the timely assistance rendered during the recent economic crisis, High Commissioner Moragoda appraised the audience of the current status concerning Sri Lanka’s economy and the economic stabilization efforts that are underway. He also stated that the future bilateral cooperation would heavily focus on connectivity and investment based on a reverberant economic integration road-map that was agreed upon by the leaders of the two countries.

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner also highlighted key pillars charted in the Integrated Country Strategy launched in 2021 for Sri Lanka Missions in India and its achievements.

High Commissioner Moragoda, emphasizing the importance of the recent official visit of the Sri Lankan President to India explained that the five key connectivity-focused enablers mapped in the India-Sri Lanka Economic Partnership Vision would remain the driving force in propelling the existing relations towards a new era.

Speaking on defence cooperation, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka thanked the Indian government for the assistance rendered in enhancing the capacities and capabilities of the Sri Lankan armed forces over the years. He also stated that India’s security concerns in the immediate neighbourhood as well as in the Indian Ocean are Sri Lanka’s security concerns as well, and therefore, Sri Lanka pays a great deal of attention, especially to the developments that are taking place in the Indian Ocean.

The 63rd NDC course comprises 120 students representing the Indian military, Indian Civil Services, and friendly foreign countries, including two senior military officers from Sri Lanka.

The NDC is dedicated to the intellectual development and strategic enculturation of selected senior officers of the armed forces and civilian government services of India and those from foreign countries, for higher leadership positions and responsibilities.

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