The Indian Ocean Region is one of the most strategically important areas for trade, security and diplomacy. When it comes to the economic importance of the Indian Ocean, approximately 30% of world trade is handled in the ports of the Indian Ocean. And of the most strategically located nations in the Indian Ocean Region is Sri Lanka. Located at the focal points of the global sea and air routes, traversing the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a centre of attention. As a result of this, Sri Lanka has begun to increasingly feature in discussions on the Indo-Pacific geopolitical and geostrategic domain of major powers. As a nation, Sri Lanka occupies a strategic location across the Indian Ocean lines of communication.
Sri Lanka plays an essential role in the Indo-pacific region in terms of surveillance of maritime space due to its strategic location. The slightest disturbance in the shipping lanes which pass through the southern tip of Sri Lanka can cause a considerable impact on international maritime trade and regional stability. The changing nature of the Indo-Pacific maritime theatre inevitably promotes the importance of Sri Lanka as a critical player in ensuring maritime security in the region. Sri Lanka being India’s southern neighbour holds much prominence for India’s political, economic, social, cultural and security interests. Both countries share a long and historic relationship.
India and Sri Lanka are now led by ‘strong’ leaders from parties that have a very comfortable majority on their own. Sri Lanka and India play a vital role in the regional geostrategic framework in South Asia and most importantly in the stability of the Indian Ocean Region. With rising Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean Region in general and Sri Lanka in particular, India needs to reset its ties with its neighbour and should leverage on the historical ties between the two countries.
Click on to read the Policy Brief: India and Sri Lanka: Changing Dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region