South Asia and Beyond

India’s Strategic Concerns Cannot Be Ignored: Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka cannot afford to ignore India’s strategic interests in this region, says Admiral Jayanath Columbage, foreign secretary in the new government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. India is a powerful country, an Indian Ocean power and Colombo needs to be mindful of those concerns, he told the Ada Derana TV network. He acknowledged Sri Lanka was caught between two powerful forces: the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific group with its focus on deterring China and the China-led Belt & Road Initiative with all the promise of funding for infrastructure yet with the attendant “debt-trap” concerns. Sri Lanka will have to navigate its interests carefully, Columbage said, and this requires the government to think through key issues and ensure it gets the best bang for the buck.

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