President Rajapaksa has urged South Asian leaders to divert the enormous money spent on conflicts and wars towards development, research and technology. This he said will help reduce poverty and sufferings.
Addressing the concluding sessions of the three day South Asian Conference on Sanitation, the President underlined that Sri Lanka’s humanitarian initiatives had enabled the Government not simply to end conflicts but to divert resources earlier spent on conflicts towards welfare and development. He pointed out that he was in a position to join in that process as his government only has not only ended a painful, costly war against terrorism, but also reduced the country’s defence expenditure well in excess of 5% of GDP before 2005 to around 3% last year. This, he said, was a level that was required to provide national security and to sustain peace in the country.
President Rajapaksa said he strongly believed that economic growth alone was not beneficial to the people. He added that it must generate wide spread benefits to the people, while at the same time improving society’s basic needs.