Islamabad - President Dr Arif Alvi conferred Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) upon Admiral Ravindra Chandrasiri Wijegunaratne, Chief of Defence Staff Sri Lankan Armed Forces in a special investiture ceremony here at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Wednesday.

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat and senior officers were also present in the ceremony. Later, Admiral Ravindra Chandrasiri Wijegunaratne also called on President Dr Arif Alvi.

Speaking on the occasion, Alvi said that Pakistan attached great importance to its relations with Sri Lanka which have stood the test of time. He added that bilateral relations between the two countries had always been marked by mutual respect, understanding and close cooperation.

Dr Alvi underscored that Pakistan considered Sri Lanka an important regional country, contributing significantly towards regional and global peace. He stated that cooperation in the field of defence was an important aspect of our multi-faceted relationship.

The President highlighted that Pakistan had been a partner of Sri Lankan armed forces for enhancing their capacity by providing large number of vacancies in its institutions. He appreciated Sri Lankan Navy’s participation in AMAN-2019 with assets and observers.

The President underlined that future connectivity of Gwadar, Karachi, Colombo and Hambantota ports will ensure enhanced regional connectivity and unprecedented economic activities.

He further said that Pakistan was home to Buddhist Civilisation and heritage and the government had taken a number of initiatives to promote cultural and tourism cooperation with Sri Lanka.

Admiral Ravindra Chandrasiri Wijegunaratne thanked the President and the government of Pakistan on being awarded with NI(M) and hoped that bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries would further grow in future.