Foreign relations of Sri Lanka
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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.
- 1 History
- 2 Military
- 3 Bilateral relations
- 3.1 Africa
- 3.2 Asia
- 3.3 North America
- 3.4 South America
- 3.5 Europe
- 3.6 Oceania
- 4 Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth of Nations
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Diplomatic relations began in 1987.
- The ambassador of the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi is accredited to Bhutan.
- The ambassador of the Bhutanese Embassy in Dhaka is accredited to Sri Lanka.
- Bhutan has an honorary consulate in Colombo.
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.
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.
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.
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. Mahinda Rajapaksa also made ties with Iran a priority after he ascended to office.
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. Iran has also invested in Sri Lankan Oil refineries, and its investments have helped to double Sri Lankan Oil production capacity. as well as invested in rural electrification. These projects have made Iran Sri Lanka's largest aid donor.
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. Iran agreed covertly to issue the loan and also invited selected Sri Lankan officers to train in Iran for the war. Analysts have termed Iran's aggressive courting of Sri Lanka's military capacity as a geostragetic implication of Iran's "Look east" strategy. 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".
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.
- Indonesia has an embassy in Colombo
- Sri Lanka has an embassy in Jakarta.
During World War II, an air raid was carried out by Japan to bomb the city of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Later on, Japan and Sri Lanka became friendly and established a relation in 1952. Japan has an embassy in Colombo. Sri Lanka has an embassy in Tokyo.
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. Sri Lanka has a high commission in Malé. Both countries were founding members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in December 1985.
Nepal and Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations on 1 July 1957. Nepal opened an Honorary Consulate General in Colombo in 1975 and established its Embassy in 1995. Sri Lanka has a residential Embassy in Kathmandu since 1993. Around sixty thousand Sri Lankans visit Lumbini annually to pay homage to Gautam Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini, so Government of Sri Lanka has built a Rest House and constructed a Buddhist Monastery Complex in Lumbini.
Following the April 2015 Nepal earthquake, Sri Lanka was one of the first three countries to send medical and search-and-rescue teams to the country. The Air Force sent flights of C-130 Hercules aircraft, and SriLankan Airlines sent Airbus A330 aircraft, carrying Army emergency teams.
- Sri Lanka's ties with Pakistan have historically been very warm. During the Indo-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971 Sri Lanka served as a transit point for air travel between West Pakistan and East Pakistan, as Indian airspace was closed. Pakistan supplies 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.
- The diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Sri Lanka, established in July 1970, have been continuously developing in many fields.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Czech Republic has a consulate in Colombo.
- Sri Lanka recognised Estonia on 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.
- Formal relations Began in 1978.
- The Holy See has a nunciature in Colombo. Sri Lanka has an embassy in Rome.
- Sri Lanka has an embassy in Vienna, Austria that is accredited to Hungary and has a consul in Budapest
- Hungary maintains a consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- 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.
- 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. The President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga characterized relations between the two countries in 2003 as "close and friendly".
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.
Bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Romania was valued at US $8.87 million in 2007, up from US $7.9 million in 2006. Efforts have been made to expand trade in Ceylon tea to Romania. 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.
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
- TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF CEYLON AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE RUMANIAN PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC. SIGNED AT COLOMBO, ON 16 MARCH 1956
- Agreement to promote cultural cooperation (1974)
- Agreement on the promotion and protection of investment (1987)
- Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (1987)
- During the war between the Sri Lanka Armed Forces (Government of Sri Lanka) and Tamil Tigers, Russia helped Sri Lanka by providing education on battle field tactics to Sri Lanka Army.
- Sri Lanka also reacted in favor of Russia during the Ukrainian crisis,and acknowledged the concerns of Russia as justifiable.
- Russia has an embassy in Colombo.Sri Lanka has an embassy in Moscow.
- Australia has an embassy in Colombo.
- Sri Lanka has an (High Commission) in Canberra,Consulate-Generals in Sydney and Melbourne
- Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Murray McCully visited Sri Lanka for the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 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
Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth of Nations
Sri Lanka has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations since 1948, when it became independent as the Dominion of Ceylon.
In November 2013, Sri Lanka hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
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