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January 23, 2021

IRS sebinar on Sri Lankan geo-strategic location

Islamabad

January 23, 2021

Islamabad:Sri Lankan political columnist and author Assanga Abeya-Goonasekera has said that the competition in the Indian Ocean region does not necessarily present binary options for Sri Lanka.

Mr Goonasekera was speaking at a virtual conference on ‘Sri Lanka and the competing gunboat diplomacies around: Options and challenges’ organised by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS).

Expressing concern over the influence of one of the competing rivals getting out of balance with regard to the others, Mr Goonasekera called for finding a balance in Sri Lankan relations with China, India and US. Citing an example of such an imbalance, he referred to the incident in which Chinese submarines came to the shores of Colombo, which became a serious issue in India-Sri Lanka relations.

He said that Sri Lankan policymakers had concerns about growing Indian influence in their country as well. He referred to statements of Sri Lankan leaders accusing the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), of meddling in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. He opined that Sri Lanka was always highlighted in elections in the southern Indian states, especially Tamil Nadu.