Remarks of the Charge d’Affaires Reception Commemorating the 67th Anniversary of Indonesian Independence Day Taj Samudra-Colombo, 23 August 2012




Honorable Salinda Dissayanake, Minister of Indigenous Medicine;

[Honorable Ministers and Members of Parliament;]

Excellency Ambassadors and High Commissioners;

Distinguished guests; Ladies and gentlemen;


On the auspicious occasion Indonesian Independence Day, it gives me a great pleasure to convey the greetings and the best wishes of the Government and the people of Indonesia to the Government and the people of Sri Lanka.


Sixty seven years ago, on 17 August, the founding fathers proclaimed the independence of a new state named “the Republic of Indonesia”. Every year, we cheer the date when Indonesian people attain freedom. But it means more. As we should deal with global challenges, Independence Day has become a momentum to renew the driving spirit of perseverance and unity.


We will all refer to our national identity, the very source of power to unite, enshrined in the national motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” or “unity in diversity”. With this concept, we have been working hard to rise from the economic and social crises. We strive to uphold peace, stability and welfare as our agenda in regional and global fora.


Honorable, ladies and gentlemen;


We are all aware of how important peace and stability is to development sustainability. And Sri Lanka is one fine model of this truism. We can see that Sri Lanka has harvested the dividend of peace and stability maintained during these recent three years. Economic and social development is in rapid progress. Such development can only be achieved with excellent leadership of the President, strong commitment of the Government, and the support of hard works and dedication of people of Sri Lanka.


Indonesia and Sri Lanka have an established relation. I am honored to reiterate that the diplomatic relation of Indonesia and Sri Lanka has reached the 60th anniversary on 6 August 2012.

We are not only as two friendly countries but also as two states lending genuine supports in multilateral fora. Our cooperation includes a range of important milestones in the history, from the initiation of the Asian-African Conference in 1955 to our current active participation as members of the Non Aligned Movement Forum.


And we have also worked on recent issues such as those related to democracy promotion in the Bali Democracy Forum, global health promotion initiative in the Foreign Policy and Global Health Forum, and anti-terrorism measures in the ASEAN Regional Forum. Indeed, our tasks ahead are more those in responding to global contemporary challenges than musing the sweet past.


Furthermore, we have to deal with contemporary issues that may trigger socio-economic unrest at home and lead to defamation of certain groups at global level. It is actually comforting that there are universal values of promoting respect, dialog and peace in Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and all religions and beliefs in the world.


We can even find the same wisdom in the culture of any ethnic group. And we live by certain standards according to this wisdom as our background, be it religion or belief.


Then maintaining social harmony by referring to these values of respect, dialog and peace is as important as living our lives. They are fundamental part of our identity and spiritual live. And I believe that in this regard we share the mission to strive for material development at the same time with spiritual existence.


Honorable, ladies and gentlemen;


Our beloved countries’ relation has indeed well gone beyond the diplomatic relation and political agenda. We have forged the basis for further cooperation in promoting development and understanding through the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation tasked to formulate the best cooperation frameworks. The first meeting of the Joint Commission on January 2012 agreed on an initial plan for further collaboration schemes in the future.


With the assurance of national and regional security and stability, I am certain that we can keep up with the plan. We have all the modalities. On trade, for example, we have an encouraging fact that our two countries’ trade value continues to increase over the years.


The bilateral trade value in 2011 is USD 497.35 million, or a 32.28% increase from value in the same period in 2010. This numbers will surely increase in the future. We are optimistic to reach the bilateral trade value of one billion USD by 2015, as targeted in the First Bilateral Joint Commission Meeting, because our countries have not tapped yet all potentials. In a wider context, we can engage in the region as net contributors to the promotion of welfare.


Furthermore, better understanding among our peoples can be promoted through direct contacts. We are pleased to learn that there are far more Sri Lankans visiting Indonesia for business, tourism, conference and training purposes. To illustrate, there are 2,740 Sri Lankans visiting Indonesia on January – June 2012, increasing by 52% from the number of Sri Lankans visiting Indonesia on the first half of 2011.


There are also more Indonesians visiting Sri Lanka for various purposes like business, tourism, conference and work, now that Sri Lanka is emerging as a new hub and economy in the region. There are about 21,900 Indonesians visiting Sri Lanka during 2011. Out of this total number, 9,960 Indonesians made transit visits, while the other 11,950 Indonesians were making short trips and residing temporarily for longer time in Sri Lanka.


During these four recent years, the Indonesian Government has been promoting direct contacts through short training programs in Indonesia such as “Darmasiswa” Program, as well as other programs related to agriculture, livestock, fisheries, microfinance and industrial technology, as well as handicraft, to be held next week.


With this pace and amount of direct contacts among visiting people, I am confident that the prospect of bilateral relation between Sri Lanka and Indonesia will be flourishing well in the near future.


Honorable, ladies and gentlemen;


To conclude all, may I ask you all to join me in a toast with Honorable Salinda Dissayanake for the health and well being of the President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, and a prosperous future of the people of Sri Lanka.


Thank you.