India and SL two sides of the same coin – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that history has brought India and Sri Lanka together like two sides of the same coin and the two countries must forge ahead together.

The President made this comment during the handing over of a Dornier 228 Reconnaissance aircraft to Sri Lanka by India.  

Addressing the gathering, President Wickremesinghe emphasised on the importance of ties between the two countries.  
“I have always said that we are two sides of a single coin. It is not possible to split a coin for one face to fall one way and the other face to fall the other way. For whatever it is, history has put us together and we have to stay together. What is this relationship? I haven’t got a word for it, but the closest I could come is the symbiotic relationship between the two countries. We are both marking our 75th anniversaries. I say let us commit ourselves to further strengthening our relationships.”

The President called for both countries to commit to further strengthening their relationship as India and Sri Lanka share many commonalities and the two countries have to build on it.

The first ever Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft from India to enhance the maritime surveillance capabilities of Sri Lanka was inducted to Sri Lanka Air Force Fleet yesterday (15) in a ceremonial procession.

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay handed over the aircraft to President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake.

The Indian High Commission in Colombo said that the Dornier 228 Aircraft which was handed over to the Sri Lanka Air Force will add to Sri Lanka’s security.

The High Commission further said like the fruits of other areas of cooperation with India, the gift of Dornier to the Sri Lanka Air Force is of relevance to Sri Lanka and a step to meet its requirements for maritime safety and security. 

President Wickremesinghe was welcomed at the Sri Lanka Air Force Base in Katunayake by Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudharshana Pathirana. The President was also accorded a special Guard of Honour by the Air Force troops.

Giving a word of advice to aspiring politicians in Sri Lanka, the President said, “My word of advice to rising politicians and those who aspire for higher office, is get to know your Indian colleagues, get to know them well and get to deal with them because if you do not do that, it will be difficult for you to look at issues and understand what each other says. We have common viewpoints in many areas. We are but a small country in the middle of the ocean, while India, while looking after its own interests must also look at its role as a global power. But it is essential that we speak to them. After all India is our closest neighbour and there are many issues that are common to us of which we are in understanding of which we have to resolve. Not only issues pertaining to Indo-Lanka relations but to the region and to the world. So in these areas it is possible for us, and it has been on many occasions for us to come to an agreement or have a similar viewpoint with India. It is with those that we consolidate.”

 Congratulating India on its 75th Anniversary of independence, President Wickremesinghe noted, “India today is becoming a world power and it is still on the rise and by the mid-century when we are no longer there, you could see a powerful India playing a dominant role on the global stage.”