Rose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose Petal
Rose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose PetalRose Petal
brand logo
 SL’s quest for strategic equilibrium

SL’s quest for strategic equilibrium

28 Aug 2023 | BY Commander Amila Prasanga

Sri Lanka is the name given to the island of Ceylon, situated on the Southern-most extremity of the Indian Subcontinent. While at first glance it appears to be a landmass that has eroded and split off from India, resting in the Ocean within what would be Indian territorial waters, thereby seeming like an island belonging to India, however, there are factors that have created a space permitting it to be defined as an independent sovereign territory.

Geologically, models of continental movement based on the plate tectonics theory depict Ceylon forming as a piece of land separated from present day Indonesia. It moved towards the Indian Subcontinent until it reached its current position, just a few kilometres away from India. Historically, the island developed under the British empire, functioning as an entrepôt and a strategic outpost, which later became the headquarters of the British South East Asian command during World War II. Its financial sustenance came from global markets for products of the British built plantation industry, supported by ports, roads, and railways. For an entrepôt to function effectively, weak sovereignty, dependent on guarantees from patrons, is required. Thus, independence from India and other regional and global powers is essential for realising its potential.


The island is home to diverse groups with distinct histories, cultures, languages, ethnicities, and religions. These groups welcome tourists and are gearing up to showcase their lifestyles, culture, and heritage. Native villages, sustained by tank based irrigation networks, agricultural production, and artisan craftsmanship, are scattered throughout the island. Visitors can immerse themselves in these communities and experience the various prevailing cultures and lifestyles. The island's offerings include beaches along the coasts, historical sites, forests and wildlife, delectable cuisine, vibrant pageants, indigenous orchestras, captivating handicrafts, dancers, and exotic rituals. Exploring the island can take months without exhausting its repertoire of sights, sounds, climates, and scenery.

The British bestowed welfare measures upon the natives, promoted education and modernisation, and introduced liberal democratic values. Various ethnic groups were intricately mingled, with Burghers being prominent in railways, the Police and armed forces' officers, and the plantation industry's superintendents. Native Tamils were engaged in Government administration, agriculture, fisheries, and education. Indian workers were concentrated on plantations, while Indian immigrants took up various professions. Moors engaged in trade and livestock rearing, and the Sinhalese were involved in agriculture, transport, arrack production, fisheries, artisan craftsmanship, the media, and business.

Post-World War II, developmental dialogues between the Government and multilateral institutions culminated in the decision to develop organised, large-scale commercial tourism as a developmental pillar for the island's economy. This move aimed to generate employment and boost United States Dollar revenue flows. In 1966, supporting legislation was adopted, followed by the construction of the first five star tourist hotels in the early 1970s. Large tourist agencies began marketing the island as a prime tourist destination. Tourist revenue grew to 6.4% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, only to drop to 1.3% last year (in 2022) due to the post-pandemic and global economic climate.

In an era of post-civil war development, China extended a substantial offer to lend funds to the Sri Lankan Government for constructing infrastructure components that were already earmarked for the island's development by multilateral developmental institutions. These projects also encompassed significant elements of China's Belt and Road initiative. All these endeavours were financed through loans from China, with the Sri Lankan Government committing to repayment. This implies that Sri Lanka would essentially be funding critical aspects of China's Belt and Road initiative.

Notably, at the entrance to the Colombo Port, China utilised its technological expertise to establish a Port City on reclaimed land from the Ocean. The citizenry envisions this City becoming a vibrant regional stock market hub, complete with its own Securities and Exchange Commission and Company Registry. This ambitious vision aims to facilitate large scale regional operations for listing, capital raising, and the establishment of regional headquarters. 

The overarching dream involves transforming the island into an offshore banking service provider. This would be underpinned by stern legislative frameworks to prevent, detect, and penalise tax evasion and money laundering, coupled with enticing financial, geo-strategic, legislative, political, and cultural incentives. The aspiration includes attracting financiers and major investors, while the Port City is anticipated to become a source of employment and a hub for advanced human resources training worldwide. Envisaged also is the island drawing high net worth individuals, making it their recreational centre and retirement destination. Their presence is seen as bringing goodwill and accrued expertise.

Alongside the Port City, a strategic network of highways is currently under construction, aimed at connecting key ports and cities across the island. Furthermore, China has established an Airport at Mattala in proximity to the Hambantota Port and the Weerawila Air Force base. The Port of Hambantota has emerged as a site teeming with developmental potential. Sri Lankans hold aspirations for this location to host the second international humanitarian city, serving as a logistics centre and supplies base for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations across regions linked by the island. Moreover, it is poised to serve as a pivotal logistical support centre for China's Belt and Road initiative. This involved a complex at Hambantota, encompassing the Harbour's potential, forming the nucleus of concerns due to its strategic implications. While the undeniable strategic potential surpasses initial appearances, the reasons behind the concerns it generates warrant careful scrutiny and responses.

Thus, let us endeavour to identify the roots of this unease. The evolutionary processes within the human species have given rise to institutional structures ranging from individual to family, State, empire, and global levels. These structures operate at personal, local, territorial, regional, and planetary scales, essential to supporting and sustaining the species through resource extraction, agriculture, manufacturing, services, and distribution.

The inherently unequal global distribution of resources, coupled with the uneven progression and the cultivation of multiple identities tied to geographical locations and personal allegiances, inevitably leads to conflicts that necessitate containment and resolution. The movement of these identities and their influence on geographical locations is commonly perceived as colonisation.

Historically, these conflicts revolve around the persistent endeavour to secure global acceptance of an emerging set of core values, principles, processes, and their supporting institutional structures, sciences, and technologies. These elements are considered the bedrock of civilisation, within which the diverse activities of the species can be accommodated. This historical pattern reveals that attempts by various group identities to reject these elements and resist integration have frequently led to acts of genocide. The spectre of such events recurring invokes a sense of fear within the species.

China has opted to diverge from integrating the set of core values, processes, structures, and the dominant civilisation's system. Instead, China is embarked on constructing a global strategic network tailored to bolster the security of its distinct system. It can be argued that the prevailing global civilisation, often referred to as the "world capitalist system" now confronts the challenge of accommodating an alternative system and engaging in a competition for global dominance. This dynamic hinges on whether a single world civilisation, as opposed to multiple, is deemed necessary for the continued evolutionary progress and survival of the species within the framework of planet earth.

The possibility of opting for competition over accommodation has evoked widespread concern, particularly pronounced in Sri Lanka and the regions connected by this island. Consequently, the Non-Aligned Movement articulated in its Lusaka (Zambia) Declaration in September, 1970, that the Indian Ocean region (IOR) should be declared a zone of peace. Given Sri Lanka's potential, straddling vital maritime routes, boasting one of the world's largest natural harbours, and functioning as a hub linking regional organisations, the island is primed to house the strategic function of the global developmental process as it impacts these regions. This role necessitates Sri Lanka to play a pivotal part in balancing geo-strategic equations within the IOR.

To fulfill this role effectively, Sri Lanka requires firm assurances from all stakeholders that its sovereignty will remain intact, allowing engagement with both the core principles of the prevailing global civilisation and those of the resurgent Chinese system. This leverage is crucial for effectively addressing the interests of diverse stakeholders. Additionally, the establishment of a second international humanitarian city in the Southern sea Port of Hambantota, functioning as a logistics and supply base for HADR operations across the region, can contribute to structuring the island's potential function as a platform. This platform could foster a mechanism similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), involving maritime powers across the Indian Ocean, collaborating to establish an Indian Ocean Treaty Organisation (IOTO). Such an Organisation could facilitate vessel movement and security among member countries, ensuring the unimpeded flow of vital resources.


(The writer is a Military Research Officer at the Institute of National Security Studies. The opinions expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the said Institute or the Ministry of Defence)

–-----------------------------------------------------

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.



Kapruka

Discover Kapruka, the leading online shopping platform in Sri Lanka, where you can conveniently send Gifts and Flowers to your loved ones for any event. Explore a wide range of popular Shopping Categories on Kapruka, including Toys, Groceries, Electronics, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Automobile, Mother and Baby Products, Clothing, and Fashion. Additionally, Kapruka offers unique online services like Money Remittance, Astrology, Medicine Delivery, and access to over 700 Top Brands. Also If you’re interested in selling with Kapruka, Partner Central by Kapruka is the best solution to start with. Moreover, through Kapruka Global Shop, you can also enjoy the convenience of purchasing products from renowned platforms like Amazon and eBay and have them delivered to Sri Lanka.Send love straight to their heart this Valentine's with our thoughtful gifts!

Discover Kapruka, the leading online shopping platform in Sri Lanka, where you can conveniently send Gifts and Flowers to your loved ones for any event. Explore a wide range of popular Shopping Categories on Kapruka, including Toys, Groceries, Electronics, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Automobile, Mother and Baby Products, Clothing, and Fashion. Additionally, Kapruka offers unique online services like Money Remittance, Astrology, Medicine Delivery, and access to over 700 Top Brands. Also If you’re interested in selling with Kapruka, Partner Central by Kapruka is the best solution to start with. Moreover, through Kapruka Global Shop, you can also enjoy the convenience of purchasing products from renowned platforms like Amazon and eBay and have them delivered to Sri Lanka.Send love straight to their heart this Valentine's with our thoughtful gifts!


More News..