Sri Lanka: political developments in the aftermath of Presidential election

No. 58 – November 201558.Berloffa_cover
Author: Danila Berloffa
Language: English
Indian Ocean
String of Pearls
Sri Lankan Presidential election
Sino-Indian rivalry

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This essay deals with the role of Sri Lanka on global scene, particularly as long as Sino-Indian rivalry over the Indian Ocean is concerned. Indeed, the location of the island on the main maritime commercial route between East and West has made Sri Lanka a key geostrategic and trade node within the region. The essay analyzes how the change of regime, occurred in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of 2015 Presidential election, influenced the political evolution of the country both on the domestic and foreign level. Such political developments have in fact caused a perceivable change in Sri Lankan foreign relations, bringing the country to adopt a new version of non-alignment, not hostile to the West, closer to India and not so dependent on China. The political transition occurred in Sri Lanka with the election of Maithripala Sirisena was very welcomed by Western countries, especially the United States, and India. However, the political evolution of Sri Lanka, under Sirisena’s rule, will not depend on domestic factors only, but it will be closely bounded to the wider global game among China, India and United States, in which the island represents an important piece. Undoubtedly, Sirisena’s initiative to rebalancing Sri Lanka’s foreign policy could partially influenced power relationship in the region, taking into account the strategic location of the island in the Indian Ocean. The report considers especially how the evolution of China-India relationship will play a major role in addressing future deal of Sri Lankan politics both on domestic and foreign level.