As the Special Envoy of President Maithripala Sirisena, who paid his personal respects on the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October last year, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana together with Mrs. Stella Marapana attended the Royal Cremation ceremony held on 26th October 2017.
Minister Marapana and his spouse joined the elaborate and solemn occasion in Bangkok led by King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun and the Thai Royal family, together with forty-one other foreign dignitaries, including representation from some of the monarchies around the world and governments at the highest levels.
The Foreign Minister and spouse, together with the other visiting foreign dignitaries, Senior Thai government officials, members of the diplomatic corps laid sandalwood flowers at the top of the crematorium, as a demonstration of respect to the late King. As the Special Envoy of President Sirisena, the Minister was also granted an audience with King Vajiralongkorn as well as the Royal Family on conclusion of the cremation ceremony. On this occasion, Minister Marapana reiterated the condolences of President Sirisena, and that of the government and people of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka and Thailand share a timeless partnership based on the bedrock of Theravada Buddhism. This relationship had been further strengthened during the reign of the late King. Of special note is the magnanimous gesture of the late King in extending the use of the Royal Rainmaking technology he had developed to alleviate a period of severe drought in Sri Lanka in 1980. On the successful application of this technology in Sri Lanka, he had further allowed the training of Sri Lankan officials in its technicalities. Following this collaboration over three decades ago, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Thailand is presently coordinating between the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy Sri Lanka and the Thai Royal Rainmaking Bureau and Agriculture Aviation to initiate a renewed training program for Sri Lankan officials in the new developments in this field achieved by the Thais. This would assist Sri Lanka’s hydro power generation during the drought months, as well as the agricultural crops which are heavily dependent on the rain cycles. This is indeed an example of the benevolence of the Late King, who was also known as the ‘Development King’, to humanity.