Sri Lanka and Australia enjoy strong bilateral relations, and the current state visit of President Maithripala Sirisena will give them quantum jump, says Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Australia, Mr. Somasundaram Skandakumar. Bilateral cooperation has steadily improved over the years has spread into new areas of cooperation in recent years he said further, in an exclusive interview with the President’s Media Division yesterday.
High Commissioner Skandakumar stated further: “the fact that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull invited our President for a state visit proves the new high in our longstanding friendship.
The last state visit took place six decades ago when Prime Minister Sir John Kothalawala visited Australia, following the setting up of Colombo Plan. Australia is a leading member of the Colombo Plan under which several programmes have been launched for the development of the education sector“.
In the new areas of corporation, Australia is looking forward to invest in various sectors including mining, hospitality, dairy and agriculture. The High Commissioner said that the President, who also holds the Cabinet portfolio of Environment, will be visiting the National Arboretum in Canberra, where he will plant a sapling of Mahogany (Toona ciliata). The President is also scheduled to visit the ANU-CSIRO Centre for Genomics, Metabolomics and Bioinformatics where excellent research has been done on development of food crops. “Sri Lanka can learn a lot from these two centres about preserving environment, increasing forest density and agriculture and food crop research” Mr. Skandakumar said.
Indicating that there is a huge potential for expansion of bilateral corporation in the mining and education sectors, the High Commissioner emphasized, that Australian investors look forward to mine exploration on the western coastal areas. The recent years has seen a boost in bilateral security corporation, especially in maritime security, between the two countries. Realizing the imperative need for security in the Indian Ocean region, Australia has donated two modern patrolling vessels to Sri Lankan coast guards. The two countries are actively cooperating to curb human smuggling and to prevent maritime piracy.
Revealing the details of President’s Sirisena’s state visit, Mr. Skandakumar expected many positive outcomes Australian Prime from the President’s meetings with the Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Defence Minister Marise Payne, Education Minister Simon Birmingham, and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, where a number of Memoranda of Understanding will also be signed strengthening bilateral collaboration.