- Says SL’s national security extends beyond purely military focus and has political and economic dimensions
- Claims peaceful coexistence with regional neighbours devoid of military alliances is SL’s way forward
- Stresses foreign policy must be multi-aligned with nations which are currently yielding global power
Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Eran Wickramaratne asserted yesterday that Sri Lanka’s national security extends beyond a purely military focus, emphasising its significant political and economic dimensions.
Speaking in Parliament during the committee stage debate of the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, the MP said peaceful coexistence with immediate and regional neighbours, devoid of military alliances, taking the lead in promoting regional integration, is the strategic and realistic way forward for the country.
According to the MP, Sri Lanka’s passport is ranked 97th among global passports which brings to light the status of the country and its foreign policy as a whole.
“This being the real status of Sri Lanka among the global community, Foreign Policy is to be determined in terms of what needs to be done. We belong to the non-aligned movement, which is a platform only. Our Foreign Policy must be multi-aligned with nations and global agencies which are currently yielding global power,” he said.
The MP also said that such a policy approach must be both strategic in content for long-term benefit and tactical in application for short-term advantage but in line with the national interests and aspirations of all communities of the country.
He opined that the foreign policy strategy and engagement must have economic diplomacy at the core of its policy formulation. Sri Lanka must trade with all States for mutual benefit and maintain an open market economy.
The MP also noted that with over 10% of Sri Lankans now living overseas for economic reasons Sri Lanka’s foreign relations must consider their interests when actively engaging them in the country’s economic and development strategy, including skills transfer and trade.
The MP said Sri Lanka must re-establish credibility, both internally and externally and urged the Government to uphold its domestic responsibilities.
“Sri Lanka claims to be democratic, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and it stands for human rights – it has to mean what it says and build a reputation for actually being so. Values that Sri Lanka upholds and propagates are evident, enhancing the country’s standing in the world as a trusted and credible partner or interlocutor,” he added.