“Sri Lanka is determined to ensure that our soil and our seas will not become a theatre for manifestation of great power rivalry, ever. We would certainly not allow one country to use Sri Lanka as a launching pad for hostile action against any other country,” Sri Lanka High Commissioner in New Delhi Prasad Kariyawasam said.
He made this observation addressing a Public Forum in Kerala, India organised by the Kerala International Centre.
He also said:
“Since time immemorial, the Indian Ocean has been an important location in the strategic calculations of the great powers of the world, primarily due to the economic impact of the Indian Ocean in the east-west maritime trade. Sri Lanka, located right in the middle of the Indian Ocean at a strategic location has not been immune from these strategic calculations and speculations. Think-tanks, academia and the media engage in constant speculation over these issues. The Sri Lankan State maintains constant vigilance and remains mindful at all times to ensure preservation of its Independence. We are determined to ensure that our actions only contribute positively towards enhancing the security and stability of the region, and not damage, in any way, the interests of nations, especially in our immediate neighbourhood and in Asia. Sri Lanka is determined to ensure that our soil and our seas will not become a theatre for manifestation of great power rivalry, ever. We would certainly not allow one country to use Sri Lanka as a launching pad for hostile action against any other country. Having suffered from terrorism for 30 years, we understand well, the suffering of people and nations in times of conflict and the pain that society as a whole undergoes in such times. We will therefore continue to make all efforts to be mindful at all times and to understand and take care of the concerns of our neighbours, especially our closest neighbour and friend, India. We will always act in a manner that contributes to strategic stability in the region. This also serves our national interest of securing enhanced maritime security in and around the Indian Ocean as well as ensuring peace in the region. It is in this context that we continue to enjoy very friendly relations with all countries, especially those in our region like India, China, Pakistan, Japan, Indonesia and others.”
Sri Lanka takes its international responsibilities and obligations as well as its role in the international community of States, seriously. We have signed international treaties and other agreements, each of which require us to share with other countries and multilateral institutions, reports and rationale for some of our decisions. We believe in the need to be transparent, accountable, and reasonable. Accordingly we engage and work with member States of the UN according to established UN practice and international law. We expect reciprocity from other countries and actors on the global stage.
The Government of Sri Lanka, several Sri Lankan Tamil political leaders, as well as several sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil emigrants abroad, have urged all sections of the Tamil communities overseas, including those in Tamil Nadu, to contribute their collective strength, in the aftermath of the defeat of the LTTE, towards rebuilding efforts in the North of the country. This includes restoration of the livelihoods of the people in the North, rehabilitation efforts and uplifting the economy of the North. While several have joined this effort, some who primarily live in western countries and some in Tamil Nadu as well, have rejected this call for help, ostensibly for human rights concerns but in retribution for the military defeat of the LTTE. In fact, these groups work against our efforts to bring normalcy to the Northern Province. The inability or refusal of such groups to come to terms with the defeat of the LTTE and rejection of separatist ideology, seem to impact adversely on the politics of Tamil Nadu.