The India-China military stand-off, understandably, has overshadowed other developments on the foreign front especially in the South Asian region. In these fraught times, while its northern neighbours, particularly Pakistan and Nepal, are a source of cold comfort to India when dealing with China, the signals from the south are somewhat different.
Thus, Sri Lanka’s “India First” strategic security policy, articulated by the new Foreign Secretary, Admiral Jayanath Colombage (retired) in the last week of August, came as a timely reiteration at a critical juncture. Admiral Colombage is the first from the armed forces to become the island republic’s top diplomat.
There is nothing new in what Colombage has said, as it is a reiteration of Sri Lanka’s long-standing policy. This was the position of Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was President from 2005 to 2015 and was explicitly communicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by his brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa soon after his election last year.