Topics Covered: India and neighbourhood relations.
India reaffirms Lanka defence ties:
With the participation of the Indian Air Force Chief and 23 aircraft in the three-day event in Colombo to mark the 70th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), India sought to reaffirm its strong defence cooperation with Sri Lanka.
- The last time Indian aircraft took part in such an event was in 2001, on the occasion of the SLAF’s 50th year.
India Lanka Defence ties- a historical background:
- During Sri Lanka’s over three decade-civil war, India has played a crucial role, politically and at times, using its military.
- The controversial Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was present in Sri Lanka.
- India also launched ‘Operation Poomalai’ of 1987 — when the Indian Air Force dropped food supplies in Jaffna.
- In Sri Lanka’s post-war era, Indo-Lanka military partnership has focused mostly on training and capacity building. About 1,200 Sri Lankan military personnel are trained in India every year.
- In 2020, Indian Navy and Coast Guard personnel helped the Sri Lankan Navy in a crucial fire-fighting operation, when an oil tanker went up in flames, off the island’s east coast.
Geopolitical Significance of Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean region as an island State has been of strategic geopolitical relevance to several major powers.
- Some examples that highlight Western interests in Sri Lanka’s strategic location are the British Defence and External Affairs Agreement of 1948, and the Maritime Agreement with USSR of 1962.
Post 2015, Sri Lanka still relies heavily on China for Port city project and for continuation of Chinese funded infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka.
- China’s string of pearl’s strategy is aimed at encircling India to establish dominance in the Indian Ocean.
Sri Lanka’s location can serve both commercial and industrial purposes and be used as a military base.
- Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port is the 25th busiest container port in the world and the natural deep water harbor at Trincomalee is the fifth largest natural harbour in the world.
- Port city of Trincomalee was the main base for Eastern Fleet and British Royal Navy during the Second World War.
- Port city of Trincomalee.
- Colombo port.
- Chabahar port.
Comment on China’s String of pearl’s strategy.
Sources: the Hindu.