Navin invites Indian investors
Focus on businessmen:
Investment Promotion Minister Navin Dissanayake asked the investors
come to Sri Lanka firstly as businessmen, secondly as businessmen and
thirdly as businessmen at an Investment Seminar in Taj Palace Hotel, New
Delhi on Monday.
Quoting the famous Indian savant Chanakya, the Minister said, "there
is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship
without self-interests. That is the bitter truth".
This event could not have been held at a better time than now. On the
one hand an armed conflict that engulfed the country for more than three
decades is behind us.
This conflict not only enraged many innocent Sri Lankans beyond any
reasonable limits, at times it even brought our two countries to some
It was Indian great leader, Pundit Nehru who once said "there is no
end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our
It is in that spirit that not with a begging bowl, nor as a little
brother appealing to the big brother for a piece of the pie, but as a
friendly neighbour and an equal partner in the community of nations.
In the context of the twenty-first century, India stands as an
economic giant, posing a tremendous challenge to the western world.
India, Japan and China, three Asian giants today are the biggest
players in the global economic game. All these three countries have made
monumental strides in every possible field of economic, political and
While Japan emerged from the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a
leading economic force in the mould of classical capitalism, their
growth in literacy rate, in per capita income and in gross national
product has been the emblem of envy of many a western country.
They have turned that emblem of envy into their own badge of honour.
As fellow Asians we must be proud of Japan's advance.
In the case of China, after the Communist revolution in 1949, and
thereafter the Cultural Revolution in the seventies, once the economy
was opened to the forces of the free market mechanisms, China's march
towards manufacturing and technological advancement is enormous.
What strides has India taken in the last sixty years? India today,
stands up like a modern Gulliver, not among Lilliputians, but among
giants, yet dwarfing the neighbourhood with her colossal achievements in
science, trade, manufacturing, education and the arts.
India is in the most exclusive club that humankind has created: The
Nuclear Club. That is no small accomplishment.
So what can India do to help her neighbour? During the last three
decades Sri Lanka went through tough, trying times, fighting a terrible
terrorist war, at the same time trying to keep the head above water,
without causing any lasting damage to the traditional democratic
institutions, keeping in tact the value system that sustained us as a
united nation for centuries.
While the prospective investors offered the war situation as a
somewhat valid excuse for their inability to invest, they no longer can
maintain that pseudo justification.
Today Sri Lanka can boast about an achievement that no other country
in the twenty first century has made good. Defeating a terrorist group
in their own den is no small feat.
All credit goes to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his unwavering
stewardship and the gallant soldiers who fought it. We are indebted to
the armed forces for this. But now it is a different kind of war that we
have to fight today. Instead of artillery, guns and ammunition, the
weaponry we use consists of tax and tariff incentives, long leaseholds
for land, improved infrastructure, telecom facilities, and labour at