Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

A ‘dependable friend and reliable partner’– US & India’s foreign secretary meet their Sri Lankan counterpart

India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, and US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, met with Sri Lanka’s recently appointed Foreign Minister, Ali Sabry, during the annual ASEAN regional forum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

On Twitter, the Indian minister tweeted:

The meeting follows a fiercely contested election in which the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Sri Lanka allegedly urged Tamil politicians to vote against the candidacy of Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka’s current president.

Read more here: EXCLUSIVE: A phone call with India and a signed agreement - An inside look at the TNA negotiations

In his first address to parliament, President Wickremesinghe looked past the maneuvering to praise India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming he has “given us a breath of life”.

Read more here: ‘I am constitutionally bound to give Buddhism the foremost place’ – Sri Lanka’s President lays out roadmap for the future

His address further slammed opposition to Indian investment projects on the island such as the oil tank complex in Trincomalee and the East Container Terminal. The projects were fiercely opposed by Sinhala Buddhist nationalists who warned of an Indian invasion and the concern that the country was being sold off.

(Photo credit: US Department of State)

During Secretary Blinken’s meeting with Sabry, he reaffirmed American support to the “most vulnerable” and highlighted that the US has provided over $179 million in aid. In addition, he emphasised the importance of Sri Lanka working with the IMF to put the country “back on the path to economic stability”. This involved “appropriate debt restructuring”.

Blinken maintained that despite the crisis “there’s an opportunity in this moment to create a more inclusive, representative, democratic, responsive government”. He reportedly emphasised the “need to act in accordance with the country’s constitutional processes and to protect the human rights of all Sri Lankans, including the right to peaceful assembly”.

Sabry reportedly responded to Blinken claiming that there have been no incidents and “the whole sort of revolution had taken place, but it had taken place very peacefully”. His statement follows a brutal crackdown on protesters with the arrest of student leaders. The abuse of emergency laws has been roundly criticised by human rights organisations.

Sabry further heaped praise on the US stating that “USAID has provided a lot of support during these very difficult times so I hope you will continue to provide that support”.

In meetings between the US and Indian diplomats, Sri Lanka was raised as one of several “hot spots” that the administrations would jointly tackle.

"We're both strong proponents of ASEAN centrality. We have a shared vision together for a free and open Indo-Pacific that we work on in so many different ways every single day," Blinken stated.

Blinken also discussed with Jaishankar the "implications of Russia's aggression against Ukraine and Sri Lanka’s economic and political situation".



Read more here, here and here


We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.