The government today clarified its relationship with China saying it is purely for economic and development purposes.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that some countries have misinterpreted Sri Lanka’s relationship with China.
He said that some foreign delegates who visited Sri Lanka had also raise concerns over China’s ties with Sri Lanka.
Some countries including India feel China has strategic interests in Sri Lanka but Rajapaksa reiterated that even President Mahinda Rajapaksa had noted that Sri Lanka’s ties with China is not a threat to any other country.
Speaking at a Defence Seminar in Colombo today Rajapaksa also called for a more meaningful relationship to be built between Sri Lanka and India.
He said that some factors including the fishermen issue has at times affected the bilateral relationship between both countries.
Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka is keen to maintain strong ties with countries in the region including Pakistan.
In March this year the Indian media reported that concerns were growing in Indian security establishments over increasing Chinese footprints in Sri Lanka’s strategic sectors. The National Security Council Secretariat had reportedly called for an inter-ministerial consultation to decide on “possible approaches” to protect “Indian interests” in its neighbourhood.
The latest to cause alarm are reports of Chinese-Sri Lankan collaboration in the area of space. A Sri Lankan firm is to launch its first communication satellite with Chinese help in 2015. In mid-2012, the National Security Adviser (NSA) had discussed this issue and the Department of Space was asked to “provide assessment of the security implications” on India due to Sri Lanka’s space programme. (Colombo Gazette)
Report by Easwaran Rutnam