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Strategic issues discussed at sino- Sri Lankan discussions with the visit of china’s defense chief

The two countries attach great importance to military-to-military ties and the Chinese military has expressed willingness to strengthen pragmatic cooperation in various fields with the Sri Lankan military. The two sides agreed to strengthen defense cooperation, and maintain the momentum of visits between the two defense authorities and military forces at all levels.Further, the two countries agreed to intensify cooperation in military training, training of personnel and to cooperate in the areas of defense-related science and technology, exchange of military academics, and provide logistic support.

Although, a section of Indian analysts expressed concern over the visit of Chinese Defense Minister to Sri Lanka, the majority of the views expressed through the Indian media was that India need not be concerned over Wei’s visit. They pointed out that Sri Lanka had assured India it would not allow any country to have a military base on its soil and it would not encourage activities that could jeopardize India’s security interests.

Former Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said there was nothing to suggest Wei was coming to clinch a significant military deal. The visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties at a time when Sri Lanka is saying it does not want to get drawn into military confrontation between great powers,” he said.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), a four-nation group comprising the United States, India, Japan and Australia that is aimed at countering Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific, has been increasing the pressure on Beijing in recent months by seeking a common front with other coastal states in the region

Sri Lanka’s relationship with China has therefore evolved through Buddhism, trade and aid, and in recent years it has been upgraded to a strategic cooperative partnership. Apart from being a major trading partner, China has also has become a major partner in Sri Lanka’s drive towards economic development with more strategic ties based on infrastructure development and global connectivity.

In addition, China had always supported Sri Lanka in global forums, especially at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), based on a shared understanding of certain basic norms of international relations, such as non-interference in the internal affairs of States. Hence, Defense Minister Wei’s visit is another important milestone in the close bilateral relationship with China, a nation Sri Lanka considers as a dependable friend on the global stage and an indispensable partner in Sri Lanka’s economic development.

SUGEESWARA SENADHIRA



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