Sirisena’s Pakistan Visit to Allay Fears of Foreign Policy Shift
Posted on April 6th, 2015

By P.K.Balachandran Courtesy The New Indian Express

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to Pakistan from April 5 to 7 is expected to allay any anxiety Islamabad may have of a significant shift in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy since the exit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who had been exceptionally friendly to Pakistan and China to the chagrin of India.

Pakistan’s anxiety arises from the Sirisena government’s efforts to recast Lanka’s relations with China and explicitly demonstrate closeness to India, though it has said that there will be no tilt, and that it will be truly non-aligned.

However, it is a fact that Lanka is no longer in need of China and Pakistan to counter the West in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), since the US and its allies have softened their stand on Lanka on the rights issue following the exit of the anti-West Rajapaksa.

Be that as it may, Lanka is unlikely to change its Pakistan policy. After all, Pakistan had stood by Lanka  when it was battling terrorism and Tamil separatism. While other countries refused to sell arms to Lanka, Pakistan sold, becoming the second largest arms supplier after China. According to Indian strategic analyst, B.Raman, 15 Pakistani military experts  were involved in Eelam War IV.

After the war, Pakistan continued its training program for Lankan soldiers  and offered intelligence cooperation. When Lanka was pilloried by the West at the UNHRC, and India was wavering, Pakistan took the cudgels on Colombo’s behalf.

In 2011, President Asif Zardari had offered an export credit line of US$ 250 million to help Lankans export to Pakistan and narrow the trade gap which had been heavily in favor of Pakistan. An average Lankan sees Pakistan as an unwavering friend, who provides assistance without meddling in Lanka’s internal affairs.

However, the Sirisena government is not oblivious to India’s concerns regarding Lanka’s relations with Pakistan. Pakistan has used a few Lankan Muslims for spying in South India. While the Rajapaksa government had denied any knowledge of this, the Sirisena regime is unlikely to adopt the same stance, given its friendlier relations with India. Pakistan is also targeting Lankan Muslims for development assistance and using some of them for anti-Indian propaganda on the Kashmir issue.

2 Responses to “Sirisena’s Pakistan Visit to Allay Fears of Foreign Policy Shift”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Foolish Endians can keep trusting My3!

    Back to back trips to China and Pakistan is no joke.

    One MOU signed between SL and Pakistan is about EDUCATION. Educating Muslims on regional stuff concerning Endia. Another is a NUCLEAR DEAL which MR refused to sign!

  2. SA Kumar Says:

    Foolish Endians can keep trusting My3 ? Indian Big Brother do not need to trust any one.
    India (Modi/RAW ) know when to kick out once they use eg: SWRDB,…VP&CO,… last one MR next MY3.

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