President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that Sri Lanka should go with Indian Ocean Peace Zone Concept and Sri Lanka will not support any work that hinders the unity of Asia.
The President revealed this while participating in the ceremony held (10) to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo, which is the first international conference hall, built in Asia.
The President pointed out that there are many differences between the Asian geopolitics and the politics of the Pacific region and that we should recognize those differences and work to preserve peace and stability. ASEAN plays an important role, and must ensure that ASEAN is further strengthened in the coming decades. The ASEAN outlook is one which also emphasizes the fact that while the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean are two different, distinct oceans, they are interconnected now, that is of value, because the geopolitics the Indian Ocean is quite different from Asia Pacific. As far as we are concerned, we have been free of the great power rivalry so far. We should not allow that to come into the Indian Ocean, the President said.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that in order to advance Sri Lanka as a country with a strong economy in the next decades, Sri Lanka can be taken forward by utilizing the non-aligned policy, the ‘Panchaseela’ and the Asian policy. Those general facts are still valid today and said that this Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall is a good example that can be pointed out regarding the unity of Asia.
A Coffee Table Book written on the history of the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall was also presented to the President while a commemorative stamp worth Rs.25 was also issued to mark the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe further mentioned:
“We received this as a gift. I would also like to say that we should continue to maintain the unity in Asia. It should be remembered here that only the countries of the Indian Ocean have not experienced disharmony in the world power struggle.
With the ambition of becoming world powers, some groups have undermined the unity between the countries of the Pacific Ocean and dragged them into a state of war. We must work together to prevent this from happening to the Indian Ocean. I also emphasize that Sri Lanka will not support in any way, to break the unity of Asia.
Already we have a number of military bases around the horn of Africa. They came in when piracy was at its height. And as far as Sri Lanka is concerned, we are of the view that they should work with the African Union, which is responsible for the regional security of the African continent.”
Commemorative gifts were also given to the organizations that have generated more income to the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall from event and exhibition sectors during the past 50 years. The Book Publishers Association for the exhibition sector and the British Council for the event sector received commemorative gifts from the President.
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Ministers Bandula Gunawardena, Vidura Wickramanayake, Minister of State Shantha Bandara, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka H.E. Ambassador Qi Zhenhong, Secretary of the Ministry of Mass Media Anusha Palpita, Secretary of the Ministry of Defence General Kamal Gunaratne (Retired), Chief of Defence Staff General Shavendra Silva, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage, Air Force Commander Air Vice Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, Director and the CEO of the BMICH Sunil Dissanayake and other officials were present on this occasion.