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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.

Minister Navin Dissanayake

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 unsavoury confrontations.

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 eyes open".

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 social activity.

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 reasonable wages.

 

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