Delhi-Dhaka ties: India is doing well in the region

In a telling statement, Sri Lanka’s new foreign secretary Jayanath Colombage has said that Colombo will have an “India first” strategic policy outlook. Arguing that while the Rajapaksa government has adopted a posture of neutrality in its dealings with major regional and global powers, he was categorical in underlining that “the president [Gotabaya Rajapaksa] has stated that we have a strategic security-wise ‘India first’ policy because we cannot be, we should not be, we can’t afford to be a strategic security threat for India, period.”

These are powerful words indeed, and along with Colombage’s acknowledgement that the decision to give Hambantota port on a 99- year lease to China was a “mistake”, it underscored the pitfalls of a rather infantile debate in this country about India’s neighbourhood policy in recent months.

There has been a barrage of criticism that India is “losing” its neighbourhood as border tensions with Nepal have grown and China has continued to spread its tentacles in India’s vicinity.

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