South Asia and Beyond

We Have An ‘India First’ Policy On Strategic Security: Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary

NEW DELHI: Days after taking over as Sri Lanka’s new foreign secretary, former naval officer Admiral Jayanth Colombage has assured New Delhi that his country will protect India’s strategic interests even while pursuing a neutral foreign policy. In his first interview to local television channel Adaderana since taking over, Colombage said that his government has an ‘India first’ policy, adding that “Sri Lanka cannot afford to be a strategic security threat for India”.

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Colombage acknowledged that the decision to hand over Hambantota port on a 99-year lease to a Chinese company was a mistake, one which the country is now trying to correct. So much much control for a prolonged period “may not be the best option,” stating that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will not hand over strategic assets to any foreign power. Here are excerpts from the interview: