The formation of the India-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group in the 15th Lok Sabha has been announced. The announcement coincides with the bilateral visit to India by the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa, with a group of Parliamentarians comprising Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena, W.D.J. Senewiratne and Risad Badhiutheen and MPs Muthu Sivalingam, Rajiva Wijesinha, Malani Fonseka, Selvam Adaikkalanathan and D.M. Swaminandan.
The India-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group in the Indian Parliament comprises Members from both Houses, the Lok Sabha (the House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (the Council of States) representing a cross-section of political parties. Following established practice in the Indian Parliament, the group comprises exclusively of Members of Parliament who do not hold cabinet portfolios.
Shri Kumar Deepak Das, a Rajya Sabha MP representing the Asom Gono Parishad, serves as the President of the 22 member Group. The Group comprises MPs from the Indian National Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Biju Janata Dal, Bahujan Samaj Party, Janata Dal (United), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Telugu Desam Party, All India Democratic United Front, Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi, Shiromani Akali Dal, All India Trinamool Congress as well as one Independent MP.
The Members of the Group are scheduled to meet the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament and delegation on 2 August in the Parliament House of India. High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam will host a Reception at the Sri Lanka High Commission to celebrate the formation of the Group and to welcome Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and the delegation. Several Members of the Indian Parliament, especially from Tamil Nadu, and local and international media personnel will attend the Reception.
The formation of this Group in the Indian Parliament is an important step in forging stronger ties between the Indian Parliamentarians and their Sri Lankan counterparts. This will provide an opportunity for greater interaction between the Parliamentarians of the two countries and for visits leading to better understanding and appreciation of prospects, challenges and opportunities for exploring solutions to common problems.