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'Sri Lanka-China relationship not a threat to India'

Sri Lanka's ruling party, the UPFA, have said that the country's close ties with China should not be seen as a threat to India.

According to Rohitha Bogollagama, member of the UPFA, Sri Lanka's relationship with India is unique and cannot be replaced.

"China's relationship with us is special because they were with us and supported us in countering terrorism. They also supported us in the international arena. The Chinese also assisted the economic drive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa without placing conditions during and after the war," Bogollagama told Xinhua.

"We couldn't just take traditional support to meet all our economic expectations so we depend on China. This should not be seen as a threat to South Asia coming out of Sri Lanka.

"Our relationship with India is unique and cannot be replaced. India also supported us during the fight against terrorism. We are also benefiting from the economic partnerships with India. There are thousands of tourist visiting Sri Lanka from India as well," Bogollagama said.

"We must have a transparent relationship with India and China," the former Sri Lankan foreign minister said.

Bogollagama denied that Sri Lanka's foreign policy sought favour with countries in the East. He pointed out that the West was supportive of their war against the LTTE and aided Sri Lanka greatly in banning the movement in several countries.

Asked about the relationship with the Gaddafi regime and Iran, Bogollagama said this was merely for economic benefit, such as receiving oil and energy.

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