Greetings to Indonesians and friends of Indonesia all over Sri Lanka;
Today 17 August 2020 is a special day for Indonesian citizens all over the world for celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Indonesian Independence Day. On the same day in 1945, the first President of Indonesia Ir. Soekarno declared the proclamation of independence of Indonesia and with more than 300 ethnic groups formed the formation of a new independent country name the Republic of Indonesia as a unitary state.
The development of our solid nationality consciousness started with National Awakening movement in 1908 and continued in 1928 with the Youth Pledge to unify Indonesia as one identity. The unity of the people is the key to gain our Independence on 17th August 1945. Our motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, the Unity in Diversity, however is still and always relevant for post-modern era, especially to maintain our Independence and to build Indonesia as one of the strong countries in the world.
As stated in preamble of the Indonesia’s Constitution, Indonesia is committed to actively contribute to the world peace and security. Accordingly, Indonesia remains actively participating in international forum namely UN, ASEAN, UNRWA, OIC and IORA among many other organizations.
In connection with the commitment, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi conveyed Indonesia's commitment to increase the 2020 humanitarian aid for Palestine during the Extraordinary Ministerial Pledging Conference for UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), which was conducted virtually on Tuesday night Western Indonesian Time, June 23, 2020. Indonesian humanitarian assistance is planned to be distributed directly to the Palestinian Government, and also through the UNRWA and ICRC (International Committee for Red Cross).
In June 2020, Indonesia was elected as a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the period of 2021-2023 from the Asia-Pacific Group in a closed election at the UN Headquarters in New York on June 17, 2020. This is the 12th time Indonesia becoming an ECOSOC member, after the period of 2012-2014.
As a member of ECOSOC, Indonesia is committed to continuing its active participation in encouraging the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Indonesia will also continue to strive to increase its role in discussing strategic issues, especially in Special Agencies under the ECOSOC, including FAO, WHO, IMO, ICAO, and IAEA.
August is indeed a special month for us, as we celebrate our Independence Day, ASEAN anniversary and also the anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Sri Lanka which was first established on 6th August 1952. Both our countries are acknowledging and respecting sovereignty and national integrity of each other. We also uphold democratic principles on which basis, I believe our relations will become stronger and bring prosperity for our people.
At the regional level, Indonesia and Sri Lanka have played important roles and contributed positively toward the maintenance of regional peace and stability. The two countries have also enjoyed good collaboration in International fora.
In this occasion, I would like to congratulate on peace Sri Lankan Parliamentary election was held on 5 August 2020. I am sure the result of the election will bring more prosperity, unity and success to all people of Sri Lanka.
Furthermore, it is heartening to see that Indonesia and Sri Lanka showed a promising bilateral trade. The trade value between Indonesia and Sri Lanka in 2019 has reached more than USD 361 Million (source: Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia)
Nonetheless, in a dynamic and competitive world, we must not be complacent with the positive trend between businesses of our two countries. We must continue to develop new ways and values. Both countries need to be more creative in exploring its potentials and new opportunity through innovation and out of the box way of thinking. In 2020, our priority should be breaking routine activities and increasing productivity.
Indonesia’s wave of structural reforms shown a subsequent strong performance in terms of stable growth, enhanced investor confidence and increased FDI inflows. Indonesia is one of the largest five recipients of FDI in 2019. Inflows to Indonesia grew by 14 per cent to a record level of $23 billion, with strong investments in manufacturing, financial services and mining. Investments in these industries accounted for about 65 percent of inflows in 2019.
We realized that foreign investment can be an important ally in supporting diversification and productivity growth, therefore, the Government of Indonesia supports greater efforts to strengthen the investment cooperation between Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Within education cooperation, Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia offered annually the Darmasiswa Scholarship Program for Sri Lankan Students to study at several Universities in Indonesia in field of Indonesian language, art and culture of Indonesia for one year period. Furthermore, Government of Indonesia offered the Developing Countries Partnership Scholarship for master and bachelor. Additionally, The Embassy of Indonesia in Colombo opened the class for Indonesian language and dances free of charge.
However at the moment, I would like to recall that we have been facing Covid-19 pandemic which is an unprecedented phenomenon, producing an enormous economic and social impact to countries. In the past four months due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Government of Sri Lanka have shown mutual support in facilitating the repatriation of 89 Indonesian citizens from Sri Lanka to Indonesia and vice versa, the Indonesian national pride “Garuda Indonesia airline” have returned home 109 Sri Lankan citizens from Indonesia to Sri Lanka. Cooperation in efforts to protect the citizens shown the increasingly close relationship between the two countries.
I wish all Indonesian fellows the best moment on this blissful occasion of Independence Day. Allow me also to offer my personal best wishes to the President, the Government, Parliament and the people of Sri Lanka for the continuity of progress and prosperity in the near future; as well as for a far stronger relationship between Indonesia and Sri Lanka in the years to come. Thank you.