Dr. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka visited Mumbai, to deliver the inaugural address at the Gateway of India Dialogue on 13 June 2016.
The event were organised by the Gateway House; the only foreign policy think tank in Mumbai and the Ministry of External Affairs, India.
In his address, the Deputy Minister emphasized the importance of Sri Lanka’s bilateral relations with India and highlighted the late Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar’s thesis that India and Sri Lanka should work together to build on a shared geography, history and culture in a relationship he defined that should be in a state of ‘irreversible excellence’.
The Deputy Minister further highlighted, the significance of reclaiming Sri Lanka’s Indian Ocean identity beyond South Asia, which will help Sri Lanka and others unlock tremendous opportunities Sri Lanka possesses for mutual benefit, in creating the new reality in the emerging Asian century.
He further stated that, Sri Lanka, as a small but increasingly more strategically important island in this emerging large and powerful Asian neighborhood, must determine the optimal navigational strategy in order to meet its macro objectives. Throughout its ancient history, Sri Lanka had close links with the entire Indian Ocean rim spanning from Africa, the Arab Gulf, Persia, South Asia, South East Asia and Australia.
Dr. S. Jaishankar, Indian Foreign Secretary; Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman of the Godrej Group and Mr. Blaise Fernandes, CEO of Gateway House also addressed the event.