Indian Ocean Region · International Relations · Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Strategic Relevance in the South Asian Region: An Analysis of India’s Indian Ocean Strategy and China’s Maritime Silk Route Initiative

Both China and India have shown an increasing interest towards the Indian Ocean and have engineered several key strategies and initiatives, i.e. the Maritime Silk Route initiative by the former and the Indian Ocean Strategy by the latter. Both these two nations have also identified Sri Lanka, with its strategic location in the Indian Ocean as an ideal focal point to implement their policies and objectives. China’s plans are underway to re-establish the ancient Maritime Silk Route, thereby reaping economic benefits by enhancing regional connectivity and securing its energy requirements. India is increasing her maritime and security ambitions via its strategic initiatives with smaller island nations in the greater Indian Ocean region. China is more inclined towards maritime security cooperation with lesser emphasis on economic partnerships towards which India is more predisposed. In this context, this study will focus on the political situation in the world with special emphasis on the Indian Ocean Region. It will also address the strategic importance Sri Lanka plays in the region and the diplomatic role it has to master in collaboration with these two regional giants. The region has emerged as a catalyst in strategic planning for most of the world’s dominant powers. Accordingly, Sri Lanka has been identified as a means for regional dominance. Further this will also address Sri Lanka’s need to take a more assertive role in promoting and projecting herself in the international arena.

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