Conscious of India’s concerns over China’s forays into the Indian Ocean region, Sri Lanka Tuesday assured New Delhi that it would not allow any country to use its soil to launch hostile action against any other country.
Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, who concluded his three-day visit to India Tuesday, told reporters here that there was no scope for any confrontation between its close friends on its soil and said both China and India were helping the island nation in its development.
“We would certainly not allow one country to use sri lanka as a launching pad for hostile action against any other country. That is the universal principle and we accept that. There is no way that we will allow any country to use Sri Lankan soil or waters to take hostile action against any other country,” Peiris said.
He noted that both China and India were carrying out port, airport and road construction for Sri Lanka, apart from being involved in the power and energy sector.
“So there is no hostility or competition. Both are our friends. There is no reason for fears or suspicions. These are commercial relations,” he said, adding that there was “no question of China encircling” India by developing the Hambantota port in southern Sri Lanka.
Peiris said during his “brief but productive” visit to India, he had met with the top Indian leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to discuss issues relating to the region and the international community.
“We have always had the support of India, consistently. The relation remains as strong as ever. It is a special, unique relationship. The discussions reflected the empathy of India for Sri Lanka’s challenges and there is reservoir of goodwill between the two countries,” he said.
Peiris also expressed appreciation of India’s humanitarian and other assistance including de-mining and livelihood support measures for early relief and resettlement of internally displaced persons and other infrastructure projects.
India is carry out reconstruction of the Kankesanthurai port, Palaly airport, repair of hospitals, schools, roads and railway lines. These apart, India is on the verge of concluding agreements for a joint venture power projects with Sri Lanka in Sampur, Tricomalee; a deal on reconstruction of a railway line between Palaly and Kankesanthurai; and a comprehensive economic partnership agreement.
Sri Lanka, apart from agreeing to the need for reform in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), also strongly supported India’s legitimate claim for permanent membership in an expanded UNSC.