Sri Lanka confident of increased ties with Indonesia
As his country celebrates 60 years of diplomatic
ties with Indonesia, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Indonesia, Maj. Gen.
Nanda Mallawaarachchi underlined a sense of confidence in reaching a
more productive relationship with Indonesia.
Mallawaarachchi said the relationship went beyond
contemporary history. Without mentioning the year, he noted that an
Indonesian king had visited Sri Lanka many years ago, bringing a
baby elephant as a gift.
"[That is why] The genes [of Sri Lankan elephants]
are very similar to elephants in Sumatra."
The ambassador was joined by Manpower and
Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar and Deputy Foreign
Minister Wardana to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Sri Lankan
independence and the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations between
Indonesia and Sri Lanka on Monday.
The two veterans of the Non-Aligned Movement came
together at a time when both countries are enjoying economic growth
rates of more than 6 percent each.
Last year, the Sri Lanka-Indonesia Business
Council announced a goal of US$1 billion in bilateral trade between
the countries by 2015. In 2012, that figure stood at around $450
Despite it being an increase of over 100 percent
in a short time, both governments were confident they could reach
the goal. "We will reach the target with confidence," Listyowati,
the Foreign Ministry's director of Central and South Asian affairs,
Mallawaarachchi also shared the same confidence.
"It's a big increase, but because of the strength of the Indonesian
economy, we believe it is within reach."
Malintha Fernando, who heads the Indonesian office
of the Sri Lankan government-owned airline Mihin Lanka, says
Indonesian customers are now a core part of the company's business.
"We've increased flights out of Jakarta to Sri
Lanka over the last few years, and there is demand for more."
Indonesians completing haj make up many of the
passengers stopping in Sri Lanka, and Fernando said it was
encouraging to see many people spending a day or two visiting Sri
The anniversary celebrations were marked with
energetic and colorful traditional Sri Lankan dancing, and famous
tea from the South Asian nation was served to the various diplomats
and businesspeople present.
Courtesy : Jakarta Post