Australia–Sri Lanka relations

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Australia–Sri Lanka relations
Map indicating locations of Sri Lanka and Australia

Sri Lanka


Australia–Sri Lanka relations are foreign relations between Australia and Sri Lanka. Australia has a high commission in Colombo, likewise, Sri Lanka has a high commission in Canberra


Monthly value of Australian merchandise exports to Sri Lanka (A$ millions) since 1988
Monthly value of Sri Lankan merchandise exports to Australia (A$ millions) since 1988

After gaining independence from the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka opened a High Commission in Canberra in 1949. In 1951 Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake was the first high profile diplomatic visitor to Australia, which was followed by Prime Minister Sir John Kotelawala in 1954. President Junius Richard Jayewardene visited Australia in 1978. In 2011 President Mahinda Rajapaksa participated in the CHOGM summit in Perth, Australia. However, Prime Ministers Sir Robert Menzies, Gough Whitlam and Tony Abbott are the only three Australian heads of government to have visited Sri Lanka.[1]

The Australian Government has expressed concern over the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers. In October 2008, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told his Sri Lankan counterpart that military action alone will not solve the dispute with the Tamil separatists.[2] In May 2009, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said that Sri Lanka should seek a political solution with the Tamils to stop another generation turning to terrorism.[3]

During Prime Minister Tony Abbott's visit to Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2013 meeting, he announced Australia would be donating two navy patrol boats to the Sri Lankan Navy to promote enhanced collaboration on people smuggling.[4]


In 2007 a two-way trade agreement was created between Australia and Sri Lanka valued at $232 million a year. The trade agreement includes exports from Australia such as vegetables and dairy products. Tea and other foods, textiles, clothing, rubber, iron and steel which are the main imports from Sri Lanka.


In 2008-09 the estimated budget for aid to Sri Lanka is $27 million.[5] In April 2009, the Australian Government announced a further A$4.5 million of humanitarian aid to assist the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka. $1.5 million will be given to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration.[6]

70 Years of relationship[edit]

2017 marked the 70 Years of relationships between Australia and Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe paid a state visit to Australia to mark the event. [7]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]