Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today delivered an address over live video link, on the occasion of the expansion of Emergency Ambulance Service over the entire island in Sri Lanka, with Indian Assistance.
The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr. RanilWickremesinghe, joined the proceedings in Jaffna.
Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address:
My Friend and Hon’ble Prime Minister of Sri Lanka His Excellency Mr. RanilWickremesinghe
Hon’ble Ministers of Sri Lanka,
The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka,
Hon’ble Chief Minister of the Northern Province,
Hon’ble Members of Parliament of Sri Lanka
Respected Religious leaders,
I am very happy to be talking to you in Jaffna today through Live Video Link.
I am all the more happy that this is the occasion when the National Emergency Ambulance service is being extended all over Sri Lanka.
This event marks another major achievement in the development partnership of India and Sri Lanka.
My Friend Prime Minister Wickeremesinghe had talked to me during my visit to Sri Lanka in 2015 about establishing such a system in Sri Lanka.
I am very happy that in July 2016, the first phase of this service began in the Western and Southern Provinces.
During my visit to Sri Lanka last year I had promised the friendly people of Sri Lanka that India will work for expanding the pre-hospital Emergency Ambulance Service all over Sri Lanka.
I am happy that India has completed its promise in a timely manner and we have marked today the beginning of the second phase of the Service.
I am also happy that this phase of expansion begins with the Northern Province. India is happy to work together with you for wipingtears from the past and ushering in a bright future.
I understand that the people associated with this service have been trained in India. The requiredskills and the local employment will also receive a boost.
It is not just a co-incidence that India has the privilegeto be Sri Lanka’s partner in establishing this
first responder service and in its expansion.
In good times and bad, India has been, and will always be the first responder for Sri Lanka.
As leaders of two democracies full of diversity, both Prime Minister Wickeremesinghe and I believe in delivering benefits of development to all sections of the society.
I appreciate the efforts of President His Excellency Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickeremesinghe for meeting the aspirations of all the citizens of Sri Lanka.
I have very fond memories from my two visits to Sri Lanka as Prime Minister. I have been overwhelmed by the love and affection, which were showered on me.
I also had the good fortune of being the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Jaffna. I could also participate last year in the UN Vesak day celebrations. All these are unforgettable experiences.
The existence of all nations is closely linked to their neighbours.
When I look at Sri Lanka, I see not only a neighbour, I see a very special and trusted partner of India in South Asia and in the Indian Ocean family.
I believe that our development cooperation with Sri Lanka is an important means for translating our vision of shared progress into reality.
Three years ago, when I had the honour to address the Parliament in Sri Lanka, I had spoken about the need to take all possible steps for converting proximityinto close relations.
I am reminded of what Mahatma Gandhi had said in 1927, when he had visited Sri Lanka at the invitation of the student Congress of Jaffna. He had then travelled from Matara in the South to Point Pedro in the North. Just before returning through Talaimannar, his words to the Reception Committee in Jaffna were: “The message that I can leave for Jaffna as for the whole of Ceylonis: let it not be “out of sight, out of mind”.
I have the same message today. Our people should be in constant touch with each other. So that we know each other better and become even closer friends.
I would encourage you to come to India and experience the New India that is taking shape.
I am happy to learn that His Excellency Prime Minister Wickeremesinghe will be visiting India in early August. I wish you a comfortable journey and enjoyable stay in India.>