With the aim of furthering substantial exchanges of cooperation and friendship between South Asian friendship Organizations and the Chinese People's Associations for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) a extensive meeting was held in Sri Lanka with the joint efforts of Sri Lanka China Social and cultural Cooperation, Sri Lanka-China Young Journalists Forum and Sri Lanka-China Friendship Association from June 7 to June 9, 2010.
Representatives from various South Asian Friendship Organizations including Vice President Feng Zuoku and other seven members of Chinese delegation participated in the event. It was the first meeting of the Federation of South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China. The meeting also formed an Executive Body to handle the affairs of the Federation for the period of two years.
At the same meeting, the final draft of the constitution of Federation was also passed in order to regulate the body. Altogether 40 representatives took part in the meeting.
 On the behalf of the host country Srilanka, Alavi Moulana, Governor of Western Province, Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Fisheries, Athauda Seneviratne, Minister of Justice, Susil Premajayanth, Minister of Petroleum Industries, Manik Rodrigo, Advisory Board Member, Nandasena Madawanarachchi, Executive President, ASLCSCC, took part in the meeting.
Following was the speech delivered by Prem Kumari Pant President Nepal-China Society.
Distinguished Vice President Feng Zuoku CPAFFC,
Friends from Organiging Committee,
Friends from South Asian Friendship Associations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all I want to sincerely thank the Association for Srilanka China Social and Cultural Cooperation (ASLCSCC) for their role to establish the Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China.
Chinese people's Association for Friendship with foreign Countries (CPAFFC) has extended support to the concept of the Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China and has decided to stay as its major partner in China.
I will also like to acknowledge the China Association in South Asian Countries who actively extended support previously to establish the Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China.
Undoubtedly, the Chinese people's Association for Friendship with foreign Countries has accorded special importance for the Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China.
China also organized the South Asian Friendship with China associations and China South Asian Friendship Organization's forum in the last week of October to further reinforce the concept of Forum.
Now Sri Lanka is taking the lead for that purpose. It is really delighting to see the gradual consolidation and enhancement in the relations between China and the South Asian Countries.
The Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China will play a healthy and sturdy role as a platform to carry out close cooperation, explore new approaches for mutual benefits and cooperation in various fields. This will go a long way in solidifying the foundation of bond between the peoples of China and South Asian countries apart from developing common efforts to develop mutual confidence and friendship.
Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia. It has been also a center of Buddhist religion and culture since the time immemorial.
The country also boasts of being one of the few remaining abodes of Buddhism.
A naturally beautiful country replete with typical forest, beaches and landscape, as well as rich cultural heritage, Sri Lanka is also a world famous tourist destination.
Buddhism arrived from India in the 2nd century BC, brought by Bhikku Mahind, who was believed to be the son of Mayryan emperor Ashoka.
Sri Lanka has the longest continuous history of Buddhism if to compare with any predominately Buddhist nation, with the Sangh having existed in a long unbroken lineage since its introduction in the 2nd century BC. Even during the period of decline of Buddhism, the Sri Lankan monastic lineage was revived through the contact with other Buddhist countries.
If Nepal has the honour of being the birthplace of Lord Buddha, credit goes to Sri Lanka for preserving and disseminating the messages of Lord Buddha.
The Sri Lankan government has constructed a monastery in Lumbini at the central canal in traditional Sri Lankan architecture.
To support the Master Plan of Lumbini, Sri Lanka government has already completed the construction of Sri Lanka pilgrim "Rest House" and handed it to the Lumbini Development Trust.
Apart from that, Sri Lanka has been continuously making contributions to the international level development of Lumbini by becoming a member of the UN international committee.
Remarkably, this country has also been showing interest in assisting the excavation of Kapilvastu and supplying drinking water in Lumbini.
Because of their belief in the UN charter, commitment to the fundamental principles of non-alignment and their involvement in SAARC, BIMSTEC and Colombo Plan, Nepal and Sri Lanka have been able to make a common cause in the regional and international forums inspired by their desire to develop themselves. Although both of them are small countries, they have been supporting each other to protect their self respect against the influence and hegemony of other powers.
The bilateral relations between the two countries have always been free of tension and are based on mutual understanding and friendship.
This relation is not only limited to state level, it also extends to the people to people level. Through the Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China - concrete efforts should be made to raise this relation to a higher level. Nepal and Sri Lanka have deep understanding for common objectives and world peace. The establishment of the SAARC gave an added advantage to the development and consolidation of Nepal, Sri Lanka relations.
As Sri Lanka has been responsible for preserving the rich heritage of Buddhism including the tooth relics of Lord Buddha, it is natural for all the Buddhists of the world including the Nepalese Buddhists to perceive Sri Lanka in a highly appreciating light.
The preservation of various precious legacies of Buddhism in this land speaks volumes of the commitment of the people of this country to peace, fraternity and love for historical traditions.
Nepal and Sri Lanka lay stress on non-interference, independence and self-respect.
On the other dimension, the establishment of vibrant people to people relations between people's Republic of China and South Asian region has become important because that will serve the fundamental interests of the peoples in these parts of Asia.
With the aim of furthering substantial exchanges and cooperation between China and the friendship organizations in South Asia the first China South Asian Friendship Organizations' Forum was held from Oct 28 to Oct 30. The event in which the participants discussed on the theme 'New Concepts, New Strategies for China and South Asia Cooperation'.
There is a glaring need for an institutionalized dialogue mechanism between South Asian nations and China. The challenges and opportunities of the 21st century in regard to peace, cooperation and development dictate the need for a bold and speedy action to foster the relations between China and South Asian countries.
The visionary exploitation of mutual capabilities of South Asia and China will of course have positive impact on Asian peace, stability and prosperity. Out of the eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), five share common borders with China. The risk management aspect related to the global problem of climate change and emerging issues, pertaining to mountains, eco-system in the region underline the need for a new common ground for bringing together South Asia and China.
The cultural and spiritual linkage is perhaps the most extensive one between the peoples of SAARC member countries and China.
The Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China (OSARFCC) would be an operative institution mechanism between the SAARC members and China that could legitimately facilitate people to people dialogue and interactions between them at the regional level.
Indeed the friendship organizations of SAARC countries and China should take initiations to fill up the gap.
China possesses great economic and development capabilities. She has been contributing for the peace and development of South Asian nations as well as Asian continent as a whole. China at the same time has also come forward on several occasions as one of the willing and interested countries to establish cooperative relations with South Asian countries.
I sincerely want to see China and South Asian nations making concentrated efforts promote the mutually beneficial relationship between them in order to serve fundamental interests of their nearly 3 billion citizens. This will create a kind of favourable atmosphere for peace, stability and development in the region. China must fully recognize the importance of developing good relationship with South Asian countries and show out most sincerity in every aspect.
Living as we do and increasingly interdependent world irrespective of their political ideology and their national strategic interests have agreed to work together and cooperate for social and economic advancement. Irrespective of their different political ideology and strategic interests, South Asia and China should move ahead together for the well being of their peoples.
China's interest in South Asia economic, social and cultural integration is already evidenced by the fact that she has taken initiatives in establishing close people to people relations with South Asian countries. This forum will be a vital factor for these objectives.
It is indeed a matter of great pride and joy to see that the people to people contacts between Nepal and China are being unfolded rapidly and smoothly over the past years.
We must ensure that the Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China will be more meaningful to all people to people relations. Therefore, the ensuring year we have to give Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China a truly people central focus through all our programs and mechanism. It is then that Organization for South Asian Regional Friendship and Cooperation with China can become the robust partnership for people to people relations for all our peoples.
We are on the threshold of a new age, the Age of Asia with China and South Asia being an important part of it, not only in the number of population but also in Skills and strength of growing economies. Today Asia is the economic power of the world.
We, China and South Asia share a rich and common heritage, a heritage of understanding and of tolerance. Our diverse culture, languages and religious traditions could have made us the most divided region in the world. But by and large we see a great harmony among our people.
Long live South Asia and China Friendship.