India keeps eye on protests in Sri Lanka against US base plan

India is keeping a close watch as protests grow in Sri Lanka over a proposed pact with the US, which could enable the setting up of an American military base in New Delhi’s southern neighbourhood, the Economic Times in India reported.

The Indian establishment is of the view that as a close neighbour, it would respect Colombo’s decision, as the Sri Lankan Prime Minister on Wednesday announced that his country would not sign any pact that violated sovereignty.

“Delhi will respect Colombo’s decision on the matter. We are keeping a close watch as this pertains to our neighbourhood that has strategic significance for India,” an informed source who did not wish to be named told ET.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who is at loggerheads with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, also said over the weekend that he would not allow signing of any agreement which would not be in Sri Lanka’s interests.

Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled the Lanka leg of his Asia trip following growing protest over the proposed military pact.

The Lankan government had come under fire from the country’s opposition over the Status of Forces (SOFA) Agreement, which would give the US forces unrestricted access to Sri Lankan facilities as well as diplomatic immunity. “We have not signed a new agreement, but we have been discussing a draft. We will not sign anything to harm our independence and sovereignty,” Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Wednesday, in response to an opposition query.

He said the Lankan ports would not be allowed to be used by any foreign force. “There was an exchange of letters between the then President JR Jayewardene and former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi. It was stated that Trincomalee or any other ports in Sri Lanka will not be available for military use by any country,” he said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. “India keeps eye on US base plan”

    Tell me, what else India can do other than just watching?

    Nothing can be done other than just sit watch, because Indians are not wise compare to the Westerners and Chinese.

  2. Politicians in Sri Lanka are very unreliable if one expects they act in the national interest. Over many decades, they have been lying to the people, to seem credible, each time betraying their trust and working only in their own self-interest or in their cronies’ interests. Sri Lanka needs leaders who truly work in the national interest and who can elevate the country someday, to be on par with countries in South east Asia which were economically far behind Sri Lanka a mere four or five decades ago.

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