Sri Lanka may become a battleground in geopolitics- President

23 November 2023 11:00 am – 2      – 447

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Colombo, Nov 23 ( Firstpost) -Admitting that Sri Lanka may become a battleground in the geopolitical power struggle between India and China, President Ranil Wickremesinghe assured that Sri Lanka will not endanger the security of its South Asian neighbor.

“It can happen in Sri Lankan politics. In 1988, Indian troops were a major issue,” Wickremesinghe said during an exclusive interview with Firstpost.

The issue of Chinese ‘spy ships’ visiting ports in Sri Lanka in the recent past has aroused security concerns in India. Wickremesinghe however, asserted that it would not have any negative effect on bilateral ties.

“India is worried about its security. Won’t do anything to hurt India’s security. We have told New Delhi that we will check on research ships. Sri Lanka is an independent country, why should our friendship depend on these issues?” he said.

Praising India for helping his country during last year’s economic crisis, Wickremesinghe asserted that bilateral ties are set to get a big boost.

He also revealed that India is set to invest big in Sri Lanka, including a major project in Colombo’s south port. According to the Sri Lanka president, his meeting with PM Narendra Modi provided a major impetus to the relationship between the two nations.

“Our vision statement was a step forward. Talked about trade, and investment with Modi. India is investing in Colombo’s south port,” Wickremesinghe said.

India recently suffered a setback in its immediate neighbourhood when Mohamed Muizzu – the new President of the Maldives – asked the Indian government to vacate its military present in the island nation.

But Wickremesinghe felt that India should focus on building ties with the present dispensation in Maldives rather than fretting too much on the issue.

“Indian troops leaving was part of manifesto. India shouldn’t get too worried about it. Focus more on strengthening relationship with Maldives. The Maldives needs India’s help,” he asserted.

However, Wickremesinghe slammed the Indian government for criticising his country at the UN over the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils.

“I don’t agree with Indian comments. I was surprised that India criticised our record,” he said.

Talking about the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in India, Wickremesinghe felt that the ruling BJP holds the edge while admitting that the political developments in New Delhi will have a major bearing on Sri Lanka.

“Let’s see what the state elections say. BJP has advantage, single party led by a single leader. Sri lanka must live with what happens in New Delhi.”

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