Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Islamic Republic of Iran G.M.V. Wishwanath Aponsu paid a visit to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (RCSTT) in Tehran on 09 August 2023 and had a comprehensive discussion with the Head of IORA RCSTT, Director Dr. Mohammad Reza Sanjabi, Deputy of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology and President of Iran Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST) Prof. Hassan Zamanian, Director (Multilateral Economic Cooperation) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Behzad Azarsa and Director of International Cooperation of the IROST Dr. Anvar Shalmashi. Welcoming the visiting dignitary, the Head of RCSTT briefed about the mandate and staff of the Centre, partnership with other agencies, recent innovations of the Centre, activities and upcoming events of the RCSTT and expressed his readiness to strengthen the institutional relations with Sri Lanka.

The Ambassador’s visit of IORA RCSTT was the follow up on the outcome of the recent official visit undertaken by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka M.U.M. Ali Sabry to Iran and during the Minister’s visit the President of Iran Dr. Ebrahim Raisi agreed to share his country capabilities with Sri Lanka. It was focused to encourage the development of cooperation in science, technology and innovation between Sri Lanka and Iran for the mutual benefit of the two countries under the IORA framework.

During the meeting, Ambassador Wishwanath Aponsu appreciated the RCSTT’s significant role to support the IORA Member States for applied research, policy and human resource development programme, development of new technologies, joint cooperation and transfer of technology among its Members and other partners. The Sri Lankan envoy emphasized the need for RCSTT’s further cooperation and facilitation in transferring their science, technology and innovation among the IORA member countries and assured for extending Sri Lanka’s maximum cooperation and support to the Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Technology of Sri Lanka.

The Ambassador conveyed Sri Lanka’s readiness to host the 23rd IORA Council of Ministers’ Meeting in Colombo on 11 October 2023 preceded by  the 25th Annual Committee of Senior officials Meeting from 09-10 October 2023 under the theme “Strengthening Regional Architecture: Reinforcing Indian Ocean Identity”. He stated that Sri Lanka will assume the Chairmanship of IORA 2023-2025 in October 2023 and sought Iran’s support including the RCSTT to play the role of the IORA upcoming Chairmanship successfully for strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development.

Ambassador Aponsu emphasized on the issue of climate change and maritime safety as two priorities of Sri Lanka and conveyed Sri Lanka’s interest for enhancing cooperation between Sri Lanka and the RCSTT. Further, it was initially considered to make the possibility of creating a useful and effective cooperation between Centre and relevant scientific, research and academic institutes of Sri Lanka. The cooperation capacities between the IROST and Sri Lanka Universities were also discussed.

Confirming the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Centre to Sri Lanka, the Head of the RCSTT expressed that under the IORA Chairmanship of Sri Lanka, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka based in Tehran will be the President of the Advisory Council of the RCSTT and the President has a significant role in hosting annual meeting of IORA RCSTT’s Focal Points and working as a Chair of the RCSTT’s bi-annual and periodic meetings and extending assistance other IORA events in Iran. In this regard, the Ambassador requested the support from the Director, the Secretariat of RCSTT, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology of Iran and other partners.

The Director of the Centre arranged a site visit for the Ambassador in RCSTT Secretariat’s Complex and expressed his appreciation for the productive meeting with the Ambassador. The visit was an opportunity to make more familiar with missions, goals and activities of the specialized agency of IORA.