Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Aayubowan, and a very good evening to all of you!
I consider it as a great honour and a privilege to attend this event organized to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Communist Party of China and 94th Anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army as the Chief Guest and to address this august gathering in this wonderful evening. At the outset, let me have the proud privilege of extending my heartiest congratulations to the Communist Party of China for marking its 100th Anniversary and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) for passing its 94th Anniversary on August 1st 2021, in the course of their great endeavour towards safeguarding their sovereignty, territorial integrity ensuring the excellence and prosperity of People's Republic of China.
At this significant moment, I should courteously admire the thoughtful gesture and the efforts endured by the President of the Chinese National Defence University Alumni Association of Sri Lanka in organising an event of this magnitude to commemorate these remarkable milestones which undoubtedly signifies the camaraderie of its Sri Lankan alumnus towards the Chinese NDU, PLA and most importantly People's Republic of China as a whole.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as we are well aware, China and Sri Lanka are maintaining a very healthy, cordial relationship throughout the pages of history. Our relationship with China which had been evolving through Buddhism, trade and related assistance has reached a more strategic stature in the recent past through infrastructure development as a measure of global connectivity stemming through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the People's Republic of China. Resultantly, our relations have been growing from strength to strength, day by day through the mutual trust built on the pillars of political, economic, cultural, educational, health and most importantly through the defence diplomacy and cooperation.
China has always proved the universal phenomenon of friendship "A friend in need is a friend indeed" with Sri Lanka; standing beside Sri Lanka in all odds. The Sri Lankans will never ever forget the military assistance rendered by China during our 3 decades long protracted internal conflict with one of the most ruthless terrorist outfit ever existed in the world. The military assistance extended by China throughout the conflict period and even to date, is being admired by all Sri Lankans with utmost gratitude.
Ladies and Gentlemen, China's assistance in global forums has always been vital for us as Sri Lankans, when the entire western world was standing against us.
The support extended against the Human Rights allegations against Sri Lanka being one of the latest strategic endeavours by China is highly admired by the Sri Lankans and we will never ever forget such a great gesture of solidarity as a friendly nation to Sri Lanka. As such, we wish this bond be flourishing in years to come with all possible avenues available to reach unassailable heights in future. In this context, the event which has been organised today by the Chinese National Defence University Alumni Association of Sri Lanka is also a candid example to denote the never ending friendship between the two nations.
Ladies and Gentlemen, since its inception in 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has led the people of China towards a people-centered development concept by implementing an integrated plan to promote economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress of the country. It has been able to build a prosperous society in all aspects, achieved the first centenary goal, and embarked on a new journey of building a modern socialist country. China, having reached its fullest potential in the first centenary, is intended to advance towards the second centenary goal on the basis of the new stage of development, by applying the new development philosophy based on a novel development pattern.
The CPC all in all has been orchestrating China's economic achievements which unleashed China's true potential and has turned it into an economic superpower in the world. Achievement of such a stance by China under the leadership of CPC whilst maintaining a nonaligned, unbiased foreign policy; which abstains the country from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries is quite remarkable. 8 Despite an immense level of criticism by the western world, China is blazing a path of peaceful rise distinct from the trajectory of traditional powers under the steadfast leadership of the CPC. Hence, once again I would like to extend my heartfelt wishes for CPC on its centenary achievements and wish all the best for all its future endeavours!
Ladies and Gentlemen on the other hand, under CPC's resolute leadership, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) since its very inception, has consistently answered the great Chinese nation's call both at home and abroad, fighting with valour to preserve the freedom, territorial integrity and the national interests of People's Republic of China at all times. Through 94 years of struggle and glory, and 94 years of unwavering pursuit of the original mission, guided by the CPC's strategy on strengthening the military, the PLA in the new era has fully transformed into a world-class military and has achieved a remarkable stance thus far.
As an Armed Force created and led by CPC, the PLA will always remain true to its original aspiration safeguarding people's happiness, supporting national rejuvenation of China and promoting world peace and security. Ultimately, the PLA of China has also undergone an outstanding transformation with the steps taken for its modernisation in the recent past and has become the most formidable and an elite military force in the world along with higher technological advancements and sophisticated military equipment.
Further, the Chinese PLA has offered a great amount of military training opportunities for other countries. Sri Lanka being one of its oldest friends has always had a lion's share of such opportunities throughout the history. Such prospects have travelled great lengths to enhance the remarkable defence cooperation between China and Sri Lanka which undoubtedly augmented the time tested relationship between two nations in economic, social, cultural and many other spheres.
Owing to the quality of training and uniqueness, Sri Lanka is giving the highest priority for the training opportunities extended by the PLA. In return, the Sri Lanka is also providing all possible training opportunities for the PLA. In this context, the recent interactions of the defence hierarchical members of two countries have stemmed out promising prospects towards strong defence cooperation especially between the Chinese PLA and the Sri Lankan military for the future.
Hence, as the Chinese PLA celebrates its 94th anniversary, once again I respectfully extend my profound well wishes towards its future endeavours. Furthermore, I also take this opportunity to courteously honour and remember those soldiers of the Chinese PLA who have made the ultimate sacrifice for liberty and good order of the People's Republic of China and celebrate the warrior spirit of all Officers and Soldiers serving in the Chinese PLA today.
That being said, I believe that I must speak few words regarding the National Defence University of the PLA as this event is solely organised by its Alumni Association of Sri Lanka. The NDU of PLA is considered to be the key agency within the PLA that is responsible for staffing the PLA senior leadership on foreign and security policy issues. This prestigious institution also carries out in-depth practical cooperation in specialised personnel training and military professional education, which has laid foundation to broaden its students' international strategic vision and cultivate talents in joint combat command.
All these Senior Officers who are the members of this prestigious Defence University should feel proud for being graduates of this renowned military education centre; which has created a number of future military strategists, the world over. Creation of such an Alumni in Sri Lanka; as I said at the inauguration ceremony of this Alumni Association, is therefore a great initiative steered by this group, which will create a formidable resource base affiliated to its mother organ in China. I strongly recommend, the establishment of such Alumni Associations in all other countries would be quite productive and benevolent for all serving and retired officers of the armed forces from various nations all around the globe.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my earnest belief that this event which was organised by the President of the Chinese National Defence University Alumni Association of Sri Lanka, Major General Vijitha Ravipriya (Retd) and his team today is to be considered as a remarkable milestone in enhancing the bilateral relations among two countries that had stood against all odds. Such events in whatsoever the magnitude, will be a great opportunity afforded to Sri Lanka to strengthen the bond with China and will undoubtedly prosper our cooperation towards a healthier future.
Finally, on behalf of His Excellency the President and all the citizens of Sri Lanka let me have the privilege to extend our best wishes towards His Excellency the President of People's Republic of China, the Communist Party of China, People's Liberation Army of China and His Excellency the Ambassador and the Members of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka for their future endeavours and I sincerely wish that all good health, wealth and happiness may prevail for all the citizens of the People's Republic of China at this time of concern.
Thank you very much and have a wonderful evening.