Sri Lanka’s foreign policy to have enhanced focus on Asian neighbours

Sri Lanka’s foreign policy will have enhanced focus on Asian neighbours, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said today.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena led the Sri Lankan delegation to the informal meeting of the Council of Ministers of the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) today (24 September 2020).

The annual event, which traditionally takes place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, was convened in virtual mode this year amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. 

At the informal meeting, Minister Gunawadena underlined the need for coordinated and collaborative action to mitigate the adverse impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, as the United Nations forecasts South Asian economies to contract by 4.8% this year.

He also pointed out the importance of reviewing South Asia’s economic outlook, finding employment for impacted workforce, revitalizing businesses, while increasing production.

Minister Gunawardena conveyed that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s National Policy Framework “Visions of Prosperity and Splendour” envisages a non-aligned, neutral and friendly foreign policy with an enhanced focus on Asian neighbours to keep regional cooperation in the forefront.

The SAARC has the potential to become a catalyst in economic growth and prosperity. South Asia should expand cooperation in soft projects such as public health, poverty alleviation, agriculture, food security, environment, education and promotion of people to people contacts, he added.

The meeting was chaired by Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, facilitated by the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu. The newly appointed Secretary General of SAARC Esala Weerakoon also addressed the informal meeting. The Sri Lanka delegation comprised Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage and senior officials of the Ministry.


  1. In the 1940s Sri Lanka Lanka was developed than India. Notably, Sri Lanka’s literacy rate was higher than India. Still Sri Lanka desperately wanted independence from the British to follow India. This shows Sri Lanka’s intellectual capacity. If you want to beat the West you should not join with the people who are less developed and poorly educated than you. Since the independence Sri Lanka has gone backward significantly. Three generations have missed out from gaining knowledge and skills, but developed a strange ideology to dislike their own talented leaders and intellectuals. Currently, Sri Lanka hasn’t got enough talents and financial resources to unwind the damages. I don’t see any South Asian country has a chance to become a developed country. Please note, Singapore is well ahead of South Asian countries, at least two generations. I don’t believe that Sri Lanka can ever catch up with Singapore.

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