US stresses the need of SLs support to ensure free and open Indo-Pacific
The United States (US) noted the importance of Sri Lanka’s support to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, tweeted saying Sri Lanka’s leadership is essential to supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Chung said that she met with the Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Anura Ekanayake yesterday , to review shared priorities and opportunities for collaboration, including maritime security, environmental protection and combating smuggling.
The Ambassador also made her first official visit to the Southern Province yesterday .
Sri Lanka, holding strategic importance in its geolocation, needs to move beyond the binary choice between the US and China, for example through strategic alliances with ‘middle powers’, an expert in foreign affairs said.
.With the US pivot to Asia policy and China’s maritime silk route ambition, India’s maritime activities has also heated up in the maritime domain of Indian Ocean in particular.
The Indo-Pacific is now at the forefront of the global geopolitical discourse as an important regional strategy involving the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions.
The protection of the Sea Lines of Communication and the chokepoints are an essential prerequisite to maintaining regional peace and stability, he opined.
Sri Lanka maintains close ties with all the major powers of the Indo-Pacific region. This includes cooperation in infrastructure development, trade, security, and people-to-people contact.
While Sri Lanka cannot play a defining role in the overarching Indo-Pacific strategy and may perhaps even not have a strategy of its own, Sri Lanka sees it in their best interest to engage with these major powers through continued cooperation in areas that could beneficial for Sri Lanka.
This is further supplemented by Sri Lanka’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean Region, astride busy sea lines of communication, coupled together with its vision to become an international financial center and a regional maritime hub, he claimed. .
The strategies of the major players of the Indo-Pacific namely the United States, India, Australia, and Japan has some fundamental differences insofar as the territory and the overarching objectives are concerned.
The United States sees the Indo-Pacific as a geographic entity strengthening economic and security in the region. The US government has adopted a whole-of-government approach to further cooperation with the Indo-Pacific region.