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Sri Lanka to review national security strategy amidst growing international rivalries: President Wickremesinghe

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COLOMBO, Aug 19: President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday highlighted the need for a
comprehensive review of Sri Lanka’s national security strategy to chart a course devoid of
entanglement in the emerging international rivalries and maintain neutrality in the Indian Ocean
region.
The review will include a broad range of factors, emerging economic trends and the impacts of
climate change, Wickremesinghe said, addressing a Naval gathering in the southern district of Galle.
The President has already appointed a team led by a retired Major General to report to the National
Security Council for formulating contemporary security policies.
He said the dynamics of today’s landscape witness the encroachment of global power struggles into
the Indian Ocean’s realm.
“On one front, a contest for supremacy unfolds between the United States and China across the
expanses of the Pacific Ocean. Simultaneously, a power struggle emerges between the Western
nations and Russia in the context of Ukraine. This competition for influence extends even to remote
reaches such as Niger in Africa,” he said.
Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka should maintain neutrality in the Indian Ocean region.
“Undoubtedly, the Indian Ocean hosts the world’s pivotal trade routes, making Sri Lanka an integral
player at this stage. As we navigate these waters, it is imperative that we chart a course devoid of
entanglement in these international rivalries, maintaining an impartial stance. Our foremost concern
must be the safeguarding of our security within this sphere,” the president said.
He said the utilisation of submarines in the Indian Ocean has increased. In light of this, the island
nation’s maritime security strategy should be directed towards the development of a robust
programme tailored to submarine surveillance and control.
Upon the compilation of the review report, a blueprint for modernised security policies of the
National Security Council will be adopted.
Sri Lanka which is going through its worst economic crisis since independence has faced criticism
over larger budgetary allocations for defence spending while the healthcare and education budgets
remain lower.
Demands are to prune its security forces and reduce the level of presence in the former north and
eastern conflict zones to promote reconciliation with the Tamil minority. (PTI)

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