Pakistan and Sri Lanka have always been reliable allies with their historical relations regardless of geographic and religious constraints. This equation of trust and relationship progressed further during the recent visit of Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, to Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Imran has launched an Economic Corridor Initiative to Sri Lanka and said Pakistan will find ways and means to improve trade and connectivity with Sri Lanka.
Pakistan has also provided a $ 50 million line of credit for defense procurement in Sri Lanka, as well as an agreement to enhance cooperation in intelligence sharing, security issues, counterterrorism operations. anti-crime and reactivation of the Joint Working Group (JWG).
Read more: Visit of Imran Khans to Sri Lanka: a huge success in foreign policy?
During the Prime Minister’s visit, the two countries reiterated their willingness to improve trade and investment connections from the Sri Lankan Port of Hambantota to Gwadar while integrating the Central Asian markets.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a well-designed plan that provides the shortest trade route for global supply chains while providing Pakistani and Sri Lankan traders with equal prospects to connect to the world through of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be the main beneficiaries of the connected sea and land trade routes, which will help the beneficiary countries to distribute the dividends in terms of infrastructure, energy and telecommunications sectors.
Read more: China’s Belt and Road Initiative will change 32 million lives: World Bank
Reasons for Pakistan-Pakistan Ties
Pakistan is Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner after India in South Asia. While defense ties are a solid pillar of bilateral relations between Colombo and Islamabad.
Pakistan has offered Sri Lanka substantial military assistance in the past, especially during crucial times of the decades-long civil conflict against Tamil rebels.
Therefore, the driving force behind Pak-Lanka’s bonhomie is New Delhis’ hegemonic approach to its neighbors, particularly with Sri Lanka.
Read more: Prime Minister Narendra Modis Pangs of Terrorism
In the 1980s, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi facilitated the Sri Lankan ethnic civil war by funding, training and arming terrorists against the legitimate government.
Sri Lanka has always expressed apprehension about the negative role played by the Indian government in fueling terrorism.
New Delhi has shown no restraint in promoting political unrest in Colombo and undermining the international stature of the small island country, therefore, Sri Lanka has refused to play the role of Indian satellite and seek other alternatives. for its economic well-being.
Read more: Pakistan and Sri Lanka to rejuvenate bilateral relations
India’s nuclear threat to Sri Lanka
During Prime Minister Khan’s recent visit, Indian media launched a campaign of disinformation while ignoring the root causes that have forced Sri Lanka to lean more toward Pakistan.
For example, India’s nuclear threat is a hotly debated issue in present-day Sri Lanka, as scientists from the Department of Energy and Energy have previously expressed concerns about threats and security concerns posed by the two nuclear facilities in southern India Kalpakkam and Kudankulam.
Sri Lanka has repeatedly shown that it is concerned that the Kudankulam nuclear power project not only poses radiation risks to Tamil Nadu, but also to the coastal areas of Sri Lanka.
Read more: Indian nuclear capabilities – a nightmare for South Asia
Reportedly, India has installed an Agni missile system targeting Sri Lankan strategic institutions. Among these strategic institutions are the ports of Colombo and Hambanthota, the air ports of Ratmalana and Mattala, the military headquarters, the power plant in Puttalam and the oil-fired power plants of Kerawalapitiya-Kelanithissa, etc.
If these concrete perceptions of threats accumulate in Sri Lankan strategic thinking, a greater inclination towards Pakistan for legitimate economic and defense benefits should not be surprising.
Read more: Nuclear deterrence in South Asia at stake as India militarizes outer space: report
Pakistan: a true friend of Sri Lanka
Indian media creates a false perception that Pakistan-Pakistan relations are a recently developed phenomenon, contrary to this argument, the two countries have always enjoyed strong economic ties and defense collaboration.
The procurement of defense materiel for Sri Lanka from Pakistan began on a striking scale in 1999. India was reluctant to sign a defense cooperation agreement with Sri Lanka and was reluctant to supply small arms. which gradually brought Colombo to Pakistan.
Read more: No mediation offer between India and Pakistan: Sri Lankan President
Pakistan has also supplied high-tech weapons that have stopped the advance of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Shortly after the defeat of the LTTE, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein A. Bhaila said that the Sri Lankan government and people regard Pakistan as a true friend of Sri Lanka, who had always argued at the time. of need.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka have always seen close collaboration in regional and international forums on issues of mutual interest.
The two countries must realize the full potential of their economic relations by further expanding the free trade agreement between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The region could reap the economic benefits by connecting the port of Gwadar in Pakistan with Sri Lankan ports.
Read more: Pak and Sri Lanka resume trade talks
The two countries should work closely together to further strengthen their defense ties while strengthening cooperation in various fields.
The author can be contacted at [email protected] The opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.
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