Sri Lanka’s “NEUTRAL” Foreign Policy & conflict with Indo-US Pacific Strategy & ACSA
Oath taking ceremony 19 Nov 2019
“to remain neutral in our foreign relations and
stay out of any conflicts amongst the world powers.”
“We request all foreign nations to respect
the sovereignty and the unity of our nation”
In using the term neutrality, none of the QUAD states or any other partnering the Indo-US Pacific strategy with intent to go to war with another country, can use Sri Lanka’s territory. With the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka clearly defined under Hague Convention, the GoSL is bound to withdraw from ACSA with US. ACSA was signed on 4 August 2017 in secret, amidst much controversy. It has not been tabled in Parliament. No one knows the contents of it. Only 180 days’ notice is required for Sri Lanka to exit from the agreement. Sri Lanka should exit from ACSA.
We are well aware that the QUAD nations are signing defense pacts and engaged in maritime exercises in preparedness for a confrontation with China. This is certainly not to exchange roses with each other. Sri Lanka wishes to engage with all nations for development but not to be used as a platform to engage in rivalries or to have Sri Lanka used to launch attacks against other nations.
2017 United States National Security Strategy paper
clearly identified China as a competitor to
“American power, influence and interests”.
Sri Lanka’s Government & Foreign Ministry must make this clear in the 2-2 Ministerial Dialogue scheduled for 2021 decided after Pompeo’s visit to Sri Lanka. No US-Sri Lanka military training or naval training should be with intent to be used against China or any other country. Obviously 2021 is planned to rope in Sri Lanka to signing pacts with US along the Indo-US-Pacific Strategy and Sri Lanka must remain unfettered by the coercions at play.
Having weathered 2 insurrections by JVP, 3 decades of terror by LTTE – NO SRI LANKAN wishes to have Sri Lanka enter into any confrontations with external parties or have Sri Lanka used for interventions or skirmishes between countries. We are not willing to have Sri Lanka as a punching bag by powerful nations for their petty political games. We have always wanted to have good relations with all nations and that must continue to be the basis of our diplomacy.
What also needs to be added is that while NEUTRALITY is simply a stand taken, Sri Lanka is by signatory a Member of the Non-Aligned Charter and that membership is powerful and therefore Sri Lanka must continue to nurture ties with the Non-Aligned Members.
We have had ties with China & India when countries like USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore did not even exist. Our ties are long and old and we cannot forget the richness of those ties simply because we are living in the ‘modern’ and ‘development’ dictates ‘olden cultures and traditions’ to be taboo. When the world find itself returning to fundamentals and basics, Sri Lanka is ever reminded that old is gold and the past cannot be buried or forgotten.
We want to be friends with all and enemies of none.
Shenali D Waduge