Mag­ni­fy­ing Pak­istan-Sri Lanka Re­la­tions

The Diplomatic Insight - - Front Page -

Pak­istan and Sri Lanka en­joy deep rooted re­la­tions and are based on mu­tual in­ter­est and co­op­er­a­tion since the es­tab­lish­ment of the diplo­matic con­nec­tions since the in­de­pen­dence of Pak­istan in 1948. Pak­istan and Sri Lanka has deep rooted his­tor­i­cal links that traced back to the time of in­cep­tion of re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries. Pak­istan will never for­get the sup­port that Sri Lanka pro­vided dur­ing the 1971 war when Sri Lanka helped Pak­istan and per­mit­ted Pak­istan’s Air Force to be re­fu­eled at the Ban­daranaike air­port while on the way to East Pak­istan. Later that the coun­try is help­ing its friendly coun­try in South Asia to help curb the civil war. Sri Lanka has also helped Pak­istan dur­ing the 1979 Afghanistan in­ter­ven­tion and sup­ported Pak­istan in its re-en­try in Com­mon­wealth in 2008. Sri Lanka also sup­ported Pak­istan un­con­di­tion­ally to Pak­istan’s can­di­da­tures to the Govern­ment Board of Asian Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Supreme Au­dit In­sti­tu­tions (ASOSAI) and ECOSOC, a UN body for the term 2015-18. Sri Lanka has never for­got the sup­port that Pak­istan has pro­vided through all means, dur­ing the civil war since 1983. Pak­istan pro­vided de­fence re­lated equip­ment and am­mu­ni­tion along with tech­ni­cal and op­er­a­tional sup­port to the coun­try. As a re­sult, Sri Lanka re­mained suc­cess­ful in up­root­ing the LTTE de­feat in 2009. The two gov­ern­ments have main­tained high­level bi­lat­eral in­ter­ac­tions, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Sirisena’s visit to Pak­istan from April 5-7 last year. PM Nawaz and Pres­i­dent Sirisena also met on the side­lines of the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly ses­sion in New York in Septem­ber and the Com­mon­wealth Heads of Govern­ment meet­ing in Malta in Novem­ber last year. Re­cently, Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan Mr. Nawaz Sharif was on a three –day strengthen the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions in sev­eral ar­eas of col­lab­o­ra­tion. Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan termed his pres­ence in the Cap­i­tal of Sri Lanka as “a tes­ti­mony to strong bonds of friend­ship be­tween our two coun­tries.” Dur­ing the visit of Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan, eight im­por­tant agree­ments of co­op­er­a­tion have been signed. The ar­eas cov­ered by th­ese MoUs in­clude, health, education, trade, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, tourism, gems and jew­elry. Both coun­tries also signed agree­ment of co­op­er­a­tion to deal with the is­sue of money laun­der­ing and ter­ror­ist to in­clude the ex­change of ser­vices un­der the free trade agree­ment signed in 2005. The MoUs for co­op­er­a­tion in in Ship­ping Busi­ness be­tween Pak­istan Na­tional Ship­ping Cor­po­ra­tion (PNSC) and the Cey­lon Ship­ping Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd (CSCL) were also signed. It was also agreed to strength the bi­lat­eral trade fur­ther which is merely 325 bil­lion dol­lars, even af­ter hav­ing the free trade agree­ment since 2005. This also makes Pak­istan as se­cond largest trad­ing part­ner of Sri Lanka. Prime Min­is­ter’s del­e­ga­tion to Sri Lanka was com­prised of Spe­cial As­sis­tant to PM on For­eign Affairs Mr.Tariq Fatemi, Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor Lieu­tenant Gen­eral (r) Nasir Jan­jua, Min­is­ter for Trade Khur­ram Dasta­gir Khan, Min­is­ter for De­fence Pro­duc­tion Rana Tan­veer Hus­sain. Dur­ing the visit, Prime Min­is­ter Sharif pre­sented a book, ‘Ma­jes­tic Pak­istan’ while a Pak­istan-Sri Lanka friend­ship an­them pre­pared by the Pak­istan High Com­mis­sion in Colombo was also launched on the oc­ca­sion. The book `Ma­jes­tic Pak­istan’ is a col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs de­pict­ing the beau­ti­ful scenery of the dif­fer­ent ar­eas of Pak­istan and is aimed at pro­mot­ing the coun­try’s tourism abroad. The book also high­lights Pak­istan as be­ing home to old Bud­dhist civ­i­liza­tion, which is held in high es­teem in Sri Lanka’s so­cio-religious cul­ture. It is im­por­tant to note here that the book is in English, Sin­halese and in Tamil Lan­guage. Pak­istan and Sri Lanka are two strate­gi­cally lo­cated coun­tries, with hav­ing no com­mon bor­ders but In­dia as one com­mon fac­tor in their for­eign and do­mes­tic dis­pen­sa­tion. Both coun­tries con­sider them­selves as “Long Dis­tant Friends”, which co­op­er­ate on lev­els since the in­cep­tion of re­la­tions. Both states came to­gether to sup­port each other in sev­eral im­por­tant fac­tors es­pe­cially ter­ror­ism and do­mes­tic in­sta­bil­ity. Pak­istan and Sri Lanka has also sup­ported each other at the re­gional and in­ter­na­tional fo­rums on the sub­jects of mu­tual in­ter­ests. Sri Lanka, which is con­sider as “‹Pearl of the In­dian Ocean’ is hav­ing a very im­por­tant strate­gic lo­ca­tion with hav­ing sev­eral im­por­tant sea routes/lanes pass­ing near the coun­try in the In­dian Ocean Re­gion. This is­land coun­try Sri Lanka, mean­ing “re­splen­dent is­land” in San­skrit mar­itime se­cu­rity and trade. This can also be gauged from the fact that China is cur­rently in­vest­ing in the sea port near Colombo and con­sider as a vi­tal coun­try in its am­bi­tious and fas­ci­nat­ing Mar­itime Silk Road, also known as the “21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road” pro­ject. Sri Lanka, pre­vi­ously known as Cey­lon, has es­tab­lished links with Pak­istan right af­ter the in­de­pen­dence. Pak­istan and Sri Lanka co­op­er­ated mainly in de­fence sec­tor re­gard­ing the de­feat of Lib­er­a­tion of Tigers of Tamil Ee­lam(LTTE) or Tamil Tigers, as pop­u­larly known and spon­sored by In­dian agen­cies. Pak­istan and Sri Lankan armed forces were in close co­op­er­a­tion with each other re­gard­ing the ter­ror­ism and up­root­ing ex­trem­ism. . Over the pe­riod of the last two

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