Addressing India’s concerns over Sri Lanka’s growing relationship with China, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam said his country’s relationship with the two Asian superpowers is not a “zero sum game”. Delivering a speech at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in India Friday, the Sri Lankan envoy said India is Sri Lanka’s “relative and closest friend” and Sri Lanka’s close relationship with China is not diminishing the ties with India. “We are not in the habit of looking at our relations with India and China as a zero-sum game We consider India a relative and closest friend with whom we should have a very robust relationship,” the envoy told Indian media. Sri Lankan envoy’s assertion comes as Sri Lankan President’s concluded his successful visit to China where he received Chinese government’s continuous and multifaceted support for Sri Lanka’s development and its sovereignty in international arena.
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang assured President Rajapaksa that China will explore the possibility of establishing an industrial zone in Hambantota and support Sri Lanka to develop capabilities in satellite communication, space technology and maritime industries in addition to providing defence technology and training for Sri Lankan forces. The Sri Lankan envoy, however assured India that while ties with China are “very important and very old”, the relationship was mainly concentrated on developmental opportunities and China is mainly involved in infrastructure development.
He added that Sri Lanka has made it clear that any project undertaken by any other country would not affect the strategic balance and peace and security in the region. “We will not allow our land or sea to be used for any inimical purpose by one country against the other,” the envoy assured. Emphasizing on the special relationship the two neighbors have, High Commissioner Kariyawasam said the fate of the two countries are inter-linked. “We are very conscious that if India is in trouble we will be in trouble too, we are next to India, so why would we make any trouble for India,” he asked.