Colombo, Feb 12 (IANS) South Asian countries have sent out a message to the world by coming together to promote and protect democracy, said Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as the guest of honour at a regional conference of parliamentarians here Saturday.
The third Asian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), being held here Feb 12-13, was declared open Saturday morning by Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, a statement said.
In her address, Meira Kumar said that while different countries in south Asia had their own unique experiences with the parliamentary system, they had all demonstrated an abiding faith in democracy. By coming together in a forum such as the CPA and discussing ways to nurture and protect nascent democracies and strengthen established ones, these countries sent a powerful message to the world.
Later Saturday afternoon, she also met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Among other matters of bilateral interest, discussions also took place on strengthening parliamentary contacts between India and Sri Lanka.
While underlining the fund of goodwill that existed between India and Sri Lanka, she also apprised the president of the various activities that India was planning, together with the Sri Lankan government, to observe the 2600th anniversary of the enlightenment of Lord Buddha (Sambuddhatva Jayanti).
Among other activities, India is organising an international conference on Buddhism in Kandy in March 2011 and commissioning an Indian gallery, including a 16-foot statue of Lord Buddha, for the International Buddhist Museum in Kandy.