In an outright display of thaw in ties between India and Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage has publically stated that the island nation will be pursuing an 'India First' policy on strategic and security matters, reports Times of India.
Speaking to a Sri Lankan TV channel on Monday (25 August), Colombage said, “President (Gotabaya Rajapaksa) has stated that in terms of strategic security, we will follow an ‘India first’ policy".
"We cannot afford to be a strategic security threat to India and we don't have to be. We need to benefit from India. The President has clearly said that you are our first priority as far as security is concerned but I have to deal with other players for economic prosperity," Colombage added.
Colombage stated that while pursuing a 'neutral' foreign policy, Sri Lanka will protect India's strategic interests.
Foreign Secretary also went on to call the past decision to give Sri Lanka's strategically located Hambantota deep-water port to China on a lease for 99-years a 'mistake'.
Colombage's comments come as a major positive, given the former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa has in the past seen to be closer to China than to India. The former president recently came back to power as the island nation's Prime Minister by registering a thumping majority in the just concluded parliamentary elections.
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