Indian delegation from the Departments Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy visited Sri Lanka to identify areas of cooperation
Colombo, 13 February
A high powered delegation from Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, visited Sri Lanka from 5-9 February, 2012.
The delegation was led by Mr. Anil Kumar, Secretary, and Department of AYUSH. The other members of the delegation were Mr. Bala Prasad, Joint Secretary (International Cooperation) & Chief Executive Officer, National Medicinal Plant Board, Dr. Ramesh Babu Devalla, Director General, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Prof. Syed Shakir Jamil, Director General, Central Council for Research in Unani and Dr. Alok Kumar, Director General In-Charge, Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy.
The aim of the visit was to identify areas for cooperation in mutually beneficial areas in the field of traditional indigenous medicine between Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, Government of Sri Lanka. The visit of the Indian delegation was a follow up of the meeting between the Indian Minister of Health & Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad and Sri Lankan Minister of Indigenous Medicine Salinda Dissanayake in December 2011 at New Delhi. During that meeting, the Sri Lankan side had expressed its keen desire to learn from the Indian experience and to cooperate in mutually identified areas.
During the visit, the Indian delegation called on the Sri Lankan Minister of Indigenous Medicine Salinda Dissanayake and the Deputy Minister of Indigenous Medicine Pandu Bandaranayake and met officials of the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine. Discussions related to a review of the current status and future prospects for cooperation in the field of indigenous medicine, including in Homeopathy, Unani and Herbal Medicine. The Indian delegation also called on the Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs Tissa Vitarana and the Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka Chamal Rajapaksa. The delegation also had met the Vice Chancellor of Colombo University and visited the Centre for Indigenous Medicine, University of Colombo.
On 8 February 2012, the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine and the Department of AYUSH jointly organized a workshop in Colombo in the field of Indigenous Medicine. The workshop was ceremonially opened by Salinda Dissanayke, Minister of Indigenous Medicine, Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India and Mr. Anil Kumar, Secretary, Department of AYUSH.
The workshop was attended by a large number of experts from the field of Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy and Herbal Medicine, officials from Indian and Sri Lanka. The experts from both sides identified areas of potential cooperation in the field of Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy and Herbal Medicine, including exchange of experts, technical assistance, capacity-building, recognition of standards and pharmacopoeia, joint research and exchange of information.
Both sides agreed to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement for Cooperation in the field of Indigenous Medicine, which would serve as the basis for developing a work plan incorporating the outcomes of this workshop. It was also decided to explore the possibility of setting up an Indian Chair in the field of Homepoathy and Unani at a future date. The Indian delegation gifted a set of books, various publications and pharmacopoeia in the fields of Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy and Herbal Medicine to the Minister of Indigenous Medicine.
Exchange of ideas and knowledge between professionals of both countries in this field is not new. The famous “Bandaranaike Memorial Research Institute” was set up on the recommendation of India’s noted Ayurvedic Physician Pandit Shiv Sharma. It was ceremonially declared open by India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962.
In recent times, bilateral cooperation in the field of traditional medicine has gathered momentum. India has taken several bilateral initiatives which include, ten AYUSH scholarships under the BIMSTEC framework; ten seats reserved for Sri Lankan nationals at National Homeopathy Institute (NIH), Kolkatta since 2007; and the Government of India’s grant assistance to the Siddha Faculty, Trincomalee Campus of Eastern University, with supply of equipments, computers, reference books etc. worth Sri Lankan Rupees 106 million in September 2011. Several Indian companies and experts participated in “Ayuveda Expo 2011” held in July 2011. Nearly 180 scholars and experts from India attended the International Conference on “Medicinal Plants and Herbal Products” hosted by University of Colombo in December 2011.
- Asian Tribune –