Foreign relations of Sri Lanka

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Coat of arms of Sri Lanka, showing a lion holding a sword in its right forepaw surrounded by a ring made from blue lotus petals which is placed on top of a grain vase sprouting rice grains to encircle it. A Dharmacakra is on the top while a sun and moon are at the bottom on each side of the vase.
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Sri Lanka

Foreign relations of Sri Lanka refers to the diplomatic and commercial relations between Sri Lanka and other countries. Sri Lanka has stressed its principle of friendship towards all, enmity towards none in its diplomacy. Sri Lanka traditionally follows a Non-Aligned Foreign Policy and does not take sides with major powers.

Since the end of the Cold War, the country has pursued better relations with all major powers and seeks to strengthen its diplomatic, economic and military ties with India, Bangladesh, Russia, United States, China, Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and European Union. Sri Lanka has also forged close ties with the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), African Union and Arab League.

Sri Lanka participates in multilateral diplomacy, particularly at the United Nations, where it seeks to promote sovereignty, independence, and development in the developing world. Sri Lanka was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). It also is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Colombo Plan. Sri Lanka continues its active participation in the NAM, while also stressing the importance it places on regionalism by playing a strong role in SAARC.

History[edit]

The goal of Sri Lanka's foreign policy is to maintain a strong, independent, powerful and unitary Sri Lanka; The Sri Lankan foreign policy establishment maintains that in achieving this goal.

Sri Lanka’s foreign policy has been founded in the national interest. In a period of rapid and continuing change, foreign policy capable of responding optimally to new challenges and opportunities. It has to be an integral part of the larger effort of building the nation's capabilities through economic development, strengthening social fabric and well-being of the people and protecting Sri Lanka's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Sri Lanka's foreign policy is a forward-looking engagement with the rest of the world, based on a rigorous, realistic and contemporary assessment of the bilateral, regional and global geo-political and economic milieu.

Allies[edit]

Sri Lanka’s growing economy, strategic location, friendly foreign policy has won it more allies. Sri Lanka has friendly relations with several countries in the developing world. Though Sri Lanka is not a part of any major military alliance, it has close strategic and military relationship with most of the major powers.

Sri Lanka seeks to create Common Security Umbrella in Indian Ocean along with Myanmar, India, Maldives, Mauritius and Singapore. Countries considered Sri Lanka’s closest include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and China.

China is now the largest supplier of military equipment to Sri Lanka, previously it was India. Though there is huge mistrust over its quality and performance; hence important military equipment is sourced from India. India and Sri Lanka also collaborate extensively in the sphere of counter-terrorism and military technology. Sri Lanka always enjoyed traditional strategic relations with India. Sri Lanka also enjoys strong relations with several other countries, Pakistan & Bangladesh.

Raw materials need[edit]

Sri Lanka and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf (GCC) enjoy strong economic and military ties. This is reflected in the fact that more than 90% of the oil consumed by Sri Lanka comes from the Persian Gulf countries and Sri Lankan nationals form one of the largest expatriate communities in the Arabian Peninsula. Sri Lanka is one of the largest trading partners of the GCC. The Gulf countries have also played an important role in addressing Sri Lanka's energy security concerns with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates regularly increasing their oil supply to Sri Lanka to meet the country's rising energy demand. In 2008, United Arab Emirates decided to invest in Sri Lanka's energy sector.

Military[edit]

The Sri Lanka Armed Forces is the overall unified military of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka encompassing the Sri Lanka Army, the Sri Lanka Navy, the Sri Lanka Air Force which comes under preview of the Ministry of Defence (Sri Lanka) (MOD).They received military support from mainly China,Pakistan,Israel and Russia.United States and India also gives limited support such as training.

Bilateral relations[edit]

Africa[edit]

Kenya[edit]

Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Kenya was established in 1970.Sri Lanka has a High Commission in Nairobi.It serves Ethiopia, Tanzania, UNEP and UN-HABITAT, Rwanda, Mali and South Sudan.

H.E. Mr. T. Raveenthiran is the current Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Kenya.

South Africa[edit]

Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations on 12 September 1994 following the end of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela to the new Government of South Africa of its post apartheid period.Sri Lanka is represented in South Africa through its embassy in Pretoria.The Government of South Africa established its resident diplomatic mission in Colombo in September 2007.

Asia[edit]

Bangladesh[edit]

BangladeshSri Lanka

Relations are historically tied together even beyond the sub-continent's colonisation by the British. Sri Lanka's first King (to be mentioned in the ancient Pali chronicles) was alleged to have ancestors from the Vanga Kingdom which occupied an area now known as Bangladesh. Bangladesh's Buddhist minority gifted Sri Lanka with a few strands of hair said to have belonged to Buddha as a sign of goodwill. It is a worshipped object on Poya Day, a Buddhist public holiday in Sri Lanka.

In August 2008, both heads of states discussed the implementation of new air links in hope of increasing trade, investment and stronger cultural links. Sri Lanka's current investments have been in Bangladesh's garment and banking sector and expect to diversify into different areas. Bangladesh also hosts a number of Sri Lankan medical students and cricket as a form of friendly communications between their people. There has been discussion to increase bilateral relations, cooperation between the two navies and sending Sri Lankan Naval personal to study in Bangladesh.

Bhutan[edit]

China[edit]

In 1411, the Ming Dynasty fought a war against the Kingdom of Kotte. This conflict was known as the Ming-Kotte War.

China and Sri Lanka are now engaged in healthy relations, as China provided valuable equipment and materials to the Sri Lankan Army, to help defeat the Tigers. Recently, in the Summer of 2012, the Chinese officials visited Sri Lankan military officials. Currently, Sri Lanka seems intent on maintaining a good relationship with China, both militarily and politically.

India[edit]

Bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and India have been generally friendly, but were affected by the Sri Lankan civil war and by the failure of Indian intervention during the Sri Lankan civil war. India is Sri Lanka's only neighbour, separated by the Palk Strait; both nations occupy a strategic position in South Asia and have sought to build a common security umbrella in the Indian Ocean.[2]

India-Sri Lanka relations have undergone a qualitative and quantitative transformation in the recent past. Political relations are close, trade and investments have increased dramatically, infrastructural linkages are constantly being augmented, defence collaboration has increased and there is a general, broad-based improvement across all sectors of bilateral cooperation. India was the first country to respond to Sri Lanka's request for assistance after the tsunami in December 2004. In July 2006, India evacuated 430 Sri Lankan nationals from Lebanon, first to Cyprus by Indian Navy ships and then to Delhi & Colombo by special Air India flights.

There exists a broad consensus within the Sri Lankan polity on the primacy of India in Sri Lanka's external relations matrix. Both the major political parties in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the United Nationalist Party have contributed to the rapid development of bilateral relations in the last ten years. Sri Lanka has supported India's candidature to the permanent membership of the UN Security Council.[3]

Iran[edit]

Iran and Sri Lanka have had official diplomatic relations since 1961.[4]

Diplomatic relations between Iran and Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) began in 1961 via the Ceylonese embassy in Islamabad, which was the closest Ceylon had to a presence on Iranian soil until the opening of the Tehran embassy office in 1990. Tehran set up its Colombo office in 1975.

After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became President of Iran, Sri Lanka was the first country he visited on his inaugural Asian tour.[5] Mahinda Rajapaksa also made ties with Iran a priority after he ascended to office.[6]

Iran has helped fund a number of development projects in Sri Lanka. In 2010 they agreed to post USD 450-500 million for the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project, a 90-100 megawatt hydroelectric power plant around the Central Province.[7] Iran has also invested in Sri Lankan Oil refineries,[8] and its investments have helped to double Sri Lankan Oil production capacity.[9] as well as invested in rural electrification.[6] These projects have made Iran Sri Lanka's largest aid donor.[10][11]

During the Sri Lankan Civil War the Government of Sri Lanka approached Iran for loans at low interest to afford Sri Lanka purchases of electronic surveillance aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles after a particularly daring attack on the Sri Lankan Air Force by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.[12] Iran agreed covertly to issue the loan and also invited selected Sri Lankan officers to train in Iran for the war.[13] Analysts have termed Iran's aggressive courting of Sri Lanka's military capacity as a geostragetic implication of Iran's "Look east" strategy.[14] For Iran's assistance in the Sri Lankan Civil War, Sri Lankan minister Wimal Weerawansa said that: "Iran has never let us down, even when many other countries in the world refused to back us. The county as a whole is very grateful for this brotherly treatment".[15]

Israel[edit]

Sri Lanka has a close relationship with Israel, and its military is a major user of Israeli weapons systems that include the IAI Kfir Fighter Jet, the Super Dvora Mk III class Patrol Vessel, and the Gabriel missile. In May 2011, the Israeli Minister of Agriculture visited Sri Lanka with an agro-business delegation to promote cooperation between the two countries.[16]

Japan[edit]

Japan has an embassy in Colombo.[17] Sri Lanka has an embassy in Tokyo.[18]

Malaysia[edit]

Malaysia has a high commission in Colombo,[19] and Sri Lanka has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.[20]

Maldives[edit]

Official and economic relations between the neighboring Indian Ocean countries of the Maldives and Sri Lanka, have been positive since the Maldives became independent in 1965. The Maldives first established a mission in Sri Lanka in July 1965, and today has a high commission in Colombo.[21] Sri Lanka has a high commission in Malé.[22] Both countries were founding members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in December 1985.[23]

Pakistan[edit]

  • Sri Lanka's ties with Pakistan is warming gradually. Pakistan has been recently supplying military equipment to the Sri Lankan armed forces. In the past, Pakistan has been a major ally of Sri Lanka in supplying High-Tech military equipment to the Sri Lankan army in the civil war against the Tamil rebels prevailing in the country.
  • There is a Pakistani embassy located in Sri Lanka and a Sri Lankan embassy situated in Pakistan.
  • The Sri Lankan government and the Pakistani government are determined to increase their military as well as economic ties. They are also working on a mutual cooperation agreement on combatting terrorism.

Vietnam[edit]

  • The diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Sri Lanka, established in July 1970, have been continuously developing in many fields

North America[edit]

Cuba[edit]

United States[edit]

  • The U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka is located in Colombo, as are U.S. Agency for International Development offices and Public Affairs offices. IBB offices are located near Chilaw, 75 km north of Colombo.

South America[edit]

Europe[edit]

Czech Republic[edit]

  • Historical relations between Czech Republic and Sri Lanka have been good with foundations to build upon in strengthening bilateral cooperation.
  • There have been state visits by both sides.[24]
  • The Czech Republic has a consulate in Colombo.[25]

Denmark[edit]

Estonia[edit]

  • Sri Lanka recognised Estonia on the 10 October 1991.
  • Sri Lanka has an embassy in Stockholm which serves Estonia.
  • Estonia has a consulate in Sri Lanka.
  • Economic relations between Sri Lanka and Estonia are at moderate level.

Holy See[edit]

  • Formal relations Began in 1978.
  • The Holy See has a nunciature in Colombo. Sri Lanka has an embassy in Rome.

Hungary[edit]

  • Sri Lanka has an embassy in Vienna, Austria that is accredited to Hungary[26] and has a consul in Budapest[27]
  • Hungary maintains a consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka.[28]
  • The relationship is low-keyed, but there are no outstanding issues. Hungary contributed to relief after the 2004 Tsunami, and has since stepped up aid to Sri Lanka.[29]

Romania[edit]

Romania-Sri Lankan relations are foreign relations between the Romania and Sri Lanka. The Romanian Ambassador in New Delhi is concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka, while the Sri Lanka Mission in Warsaw is concurrently accredited to Romania.[30] The President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga characterized relations between the two countries in 2003 as "close and friendly".[31]

History

Diplomatic relation between Sri Lanka and Romania were established on 15 September 1957. Initially maintained at Legation level, the relations were later raised to Ambassadorial level in 1967. In 1963 Romania opened a Commercial Office in Colombo, this was upgraded to as Embassy in 1976 with a chargé d'affaires. The Romanian Mission in Colombo was closed in 1995 but reopened as a Commercial Office in 1998.

In 1978 the Sri Lankan minister of Foreign Affairs visited Romania.[30]

Romania provided 32,000 euros worth of humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami devastated the country in December 2004.[32]

The ambassador designate of Sri Lanka in Bucharest was Clarence Felician Chinniah[32] until his death in January 2009.[33][34]

In December 2009, Valerica Epure presented her credentials to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to become Ambassador-Designate of Romania to Sri Lanka.[35][36][37][38]

Sri Lankans in Romania

In December 2009 with the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka 46 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees were sent to Romania to be processed for resettlement from Indonesia on their way to Australia.[39]

Trade

Bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Romania was valued at US $ 8.87 million in 2007, up from US $ 7.9 million in 2006.[40] Efforts have been made to expand trade in Ceylon tea to Romania.[41] In 2009, Chairman and CEO of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board Anil Koswatte has singled out Romania as country for which exports could be increased.[42]

Bilateral agreements

Romania and Sri Lanka have the following bilateral agreements in place:

  • PAYMENTS AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF CEYLON AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE RUMANIAN PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC. SIGNED AT COLOMBO, ON 16 MARCH 1956[43]
  • TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF CEYLON AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE RUMANIAN PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC. SIGNED AT COLOMBO, ON 16 MARCH 1956[44]
  • Agreement to promote cultural cooperation (1974)
  • Agreement on the promotion and protection of investment (1987)[45]
  • Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (1987)[46]

Russia[edit]

Switzerland[edit]

In the 1980s political relations between Switzerland and Sri Lanka intensified with many Sri Lankan Tamils fleeing from the ethnic conflict to find asylum in Switzerland.

Oceania[edit]

Australia[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand and Sri Lanka has a strong relationship since 1800s.New Zealand has longstanding Commonwealth, migrant and sporting ties with Sri Lanka.

Visits

  • Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Murray McCully visited Sri Lanka for the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2013.
  • Hon Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs, June,August 2013
  • Sri Lankan Parliamentary Delegation attending the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference, October 1998
  • Agriculture, Lands & Forestry Minister Jayaratne, May 1996

[47]

Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth of Nations[edit]

Sri Lanka has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations since 1948, when it became independent as the Dominion of Ceylon.

In 1972, Ceylon became a Commonwealth republic under the name of Sri Lanka.

William Gopallawa, the last Governor-General of Ceylon became the first President of Sri Lanka.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=10116
  2. ^ India's Sri Lankan scars. BBC News (4 May 2000). Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  3. ^ Brief on India-Sri Lanka Relations, Ministry of External Affairs (BSM Division: Sri Lanka)
  4. ^ Sri Lanka – Iran Bilateral Relations Embassy of Sri Lanka in Iran
  5. ^ The Group of 15 (G- 15) Government of Sri Lanka - May 14, 2010
  6. ^ a b Sri Lanka, Iran mutual friends - Minister Daily News.lk - February 20, 2010
  7. ^ Uma Oya Multipurpose Project International Rivers
  8. ^ Iran boosts Sri Lankan refinery BBC - April 29, 2008
  9. ^ Sri Lanka’s post-war scenario DAWN - November 11, 2009
  10. ^ Sri Lanka’s Shifting Foreign Relations Montage - August 2008
  11. ^ Iran becomes Sri Lanka's top lender Times of India - July 14, 2008
  12. ^ Iran to Fund Sri Lankan Arms Purchases - International Terrorism Monitor---Paper No. 303 South Asia Analysis Group - November 13, 2007
  13. ^ Iran To Train Sri Lankan Intelligence & Army Officers South Asia Analysis Group - April 24, 2008
  14. ^ Iran steps into enemy's territory Asia Times - April 29, 2008
  15. ^ ‘UNO, a paper tiger’ - Iranian Minister DailyNews.lk - June 27, 2010
  16. ^ Israeli agriculture minister visits Sri Lanka
  17. ^ "Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka". Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  18. ^ "Embassy of Sri Lanka in Japan". Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  19. ^ "Official Website of High Commission of Malaysia, Colombo". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "Sri Lanka High Commission, Kuala Lumpur". High Commission of Sri Lanka in Malaysia. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "High Commission of Maldives". High Commission of Maldives in Sri Lanka. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  22. ^ "Embassies of Sri Lanka". SAARC Tourism. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  23. ^ "South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation". SAARC. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  24. ^ http://www.dailynews.lk/2011/06/03/news22.asp
  25. ^ http://czech-republic.visahq.com/embassy/Sri-Lanka/
  26. ^ "Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka". Sri Lankan Embassy in Vienna. Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  27. ^ "List of honorary consuls in Hungary" (in Hungarian). Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  28. ^ "Consulate of the Republic of Hungary". Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  29. ^ "Bilateral Relations (Sri Lanka)". Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  30. ^ a b http://www.srilankaembassy.com.pl/index.php/bilateral
  31. ^ Felicitations to Romania
  32. ^ a b Romanian Foreign Affairs - Sri Lanka
  33. ^ Lankan Envoy to Poland passes away
  34. ^ Foreign Minister condoles the death of Sri Lankan envoy in Poland
  35. ^ Six new Ambassadors and a High Commissioner presents credentials
  36. ^ Envoys present credentials to President Patil
  37. ^ New Ambassadors and High Commissioner hand over credentials to President
  38. ^ New ambassadors and high commissioner present credentials to Sri Lanka President
  39. ^ http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2009/12/30/sri-lankan-refugees-leave-indonesia-official
  40. ^ Romanian market still untapped
  41. ^ Tea Board taps Romanian and Serbian tea markets
  42. ^ Golden opportunity to expand exports
  43. ^ UN Text of the Payments Agreement
  44. ^ UN Text of the Trade Agreement
  45. ^ UN Text of the Investment Agreement
  46. ^ Romanian Foreign Affairs - Sri Lanka
  47. ^ [1], Ministry of Foreign Affairs,New Zealand

External links[edit]