Việt Nam-Sri Lanka relations are strong and dynamic

February, 02/2023 - 08:45
Sri Lanka and Việt Nam established diplomatic relations on the 21st of July 1970, and Sri Lanka established its permanent resident Mission in Hà Nội on the 16th of January 2003, marking a significant step in the diplomatic relations between Việt Nam and Sri Lanka.

For Sri Lanka's Independence Day (February 4), Việt Nam News presents an article about the 75th Anniversary of Independence Day celebrations in Sri Lanka, composed by Mr. Mahesh Premathilake, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Việt Nam.

Sri Lanka and Việt Nam established diplomatic relations on the 21st of July 1970, and Sri Lanka established its permanent resident Mission in Hà Nội on the 16th of January 2003, marking a significant step in the diplomatic relations between Việt Nam and Sri Lanka.

Beyond these relatively recent formal diplomatic affairs, there is a centuries-old relationship between the two countries. This bond is rooted in the similarities in their history, religion (Buddhism) and their struggle to preserve their sovereignty and national independence. Sri Lanka was one of the first countries to support the Vietnamese cause of independence.

The Sri Lanka and Việt Nam relationship is entrenched in their common Buddhist culture. Both Sri Lanka and Việt Nam were influenced by Buddhism from the 3rd century BC, Sri Lanka having Theravada Buddhist influences and traditions while Việt Nam inherits Mahayana Buddhist traditions and influences.

Furthermore, the training of Vietnamese Buddhist monks and nuns in Sri Lanka contribute to the increase of the countries’ friendship. Recent donations by Việt Nam Buddhist Sangha for medical needs of the most needy Sri Lankans demonstrate high commitment and a good will gesture for strengthening relations between Sri Lanka and Việt Nam.

FAM Trip to Sri Lanka for a group of 13 people from Việt Nam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA) was co-organised by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Việt Nam and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) from March 13 - 19, 2022. Photo courtesy of SLTPB

The two countries have signed numerous bilateral agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in several areas of cooperation, such as in trade, investments, science, technology, etc. At present, both countries are working towards renewal and signing of agreements and MoUs in the fields of education, agriculture and customs cooperation.

Sri Lanka and Việt Nam celebrated 50 years of Diplomatic Relations in 2020 with the virtual participation of prominent dignitaries of both sides representing government and academia.

Sri Lanka and Việt Nam held Fourth Round of Bilateral Consultations in 2022 which reviewed the progress in bilateral relations and suggested new avenues of cooperation between the two countries.

Trade volume was US$274 million by November 2022, of which Sri Lanka imported goods and services with a total worth of US$232 million from Việt Nam by while the value of Sri Lanka exports to Việt Nam remained at $42 million.

In terms of investments, Sri Lankan companies have established various factories in Vietnamese cities such as Hà Nội, Hồ Chí Minh City and Đà Nẵng. Those companies, including LeineaAqua, Hidramani Group and MAS Holdings, employ more than 10,000 Vietnamese workers.

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Việt Nam participated the Viet Nam Expo in Hà Nội in March 2022 and the Viet Nam Expo in Hồ Chí Minh City in December 2022, which was organised by Vinexad in Việt Nam. Seven Sri Lankan companies participated in Viet Nam Expo in Hồ Chí Minh City. The Sri Lankan delegation was able to secure potential buyers in the areas of electric cables, industrial electric products, cinnamon products and tea.

One of the key aspects of relations between Việt Nam and Sri Lanka is the tourism sector. The FAM trip was organised by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Việt Nam with the participation of tour and travel agents in 2022 to improve two-way tourism. More than five hundred Vietnamese tourists arrived in Sri Lanka in 2022. Both sides have identified the need to establish direct air links between two countries to increase tourist flow.

Launching ceremony of the special issue on the “Historical and Buddhist relations between Việt Nam and Sri Lanka” co-organised by the Journal of Indian and Asian Studies (VJIAS), Institute of Indian and Southwest Asian Studies (VIISAS) together with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Hà Nội and other concerned agencies in Hồ Chí Minh City on December 29, 2022. Photo courtesy of the embassy

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Việt Nam launched the special issue of Sri Lanka Việt Nam Buddhist and Historical Relations in corporation with the Việt Nam Journal for Indian and Asian Studies and the Việt Nam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) in Việt Nam in December 2022.

The Việt Nam Union of Friendship Association (VUFO) conferred the “Peace and Friendship among Nations” medal for H.E. Mr. Prasanna Gamage, former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam, in December 2022 for promoting bilateral relations between the two countries.

Sri Lanka values Việt Nam’s longstanding cooperation in multilateral fora such as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and United Nations Human Rights Council.

Sri Lanka highly appreciates the support extended by the Government of Việt Nam to rescue and accommodate Sri Lankan migrants in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province while taking care of their needs with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Việt Nam until their departure from Việt Nam to Sri Lanka in November 2022. VNS

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