Multilateral diplomacy war in the indian ocean

6b05a96163c76ab53b3e6e5b06b85815_xlIn January this year, Prime Minister Abe made official visits to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives with the aim of expanding its operations in the region and held key talks with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena in Rohingy last March: discussed in detail on the economy, maritime cooperation, security and regional order. An agreement was signed between Japan and Sri Lankan state leaders to grant a $ 100.4 million loan for Sri Lanka’s health care services in an effort to expand its independent and open Indian-Pacific strategy under the leadership of the US and Japan. Japan is one of Sri Lanka’s largest bilateral lenders and its main development partner. These two countries had established diplomatic relations between them officially in 1952. Looking at the strategic location of the island of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka is governed by China and other countries and these countries use Sri Lanka to ensure their security in the Indian Ocean.

Benefit to Sri Lanka

Because Sri Lanka is located at the center of the radius connecting the Persian Gulf with the Malacca Strait, the site plays an important role in the Indian Ocean. Each year, more than 60,000 ships pass through the sea at 10 sea level from sea-owned sea. One-third of the world’s oil supply ships and semi-freight ships travel through Sri Lanka’s Indian Ocean Sea. Japan imports 90 percent of its petroleum resources. In this case, China’s influence is growing in the Indian Ocean and Japan feels it will threaten Japan’s petroleum resource. As the emerging China’s influence and its military modernization, the growing Chinese in the South China Sea, the security situation in Asia is deteriorating. In the post-Cold War period, Japan has paid much attention to expanding relations with the United States. Nevertheless, Japan focuses on building multilateral relationships. Japan focuses specifically on the elaboration of intensive security cooperation and solving common regional issues. As a result, Japan is engaged in small and medium contracts with its neighbors to ensure regional order. The first of its kind was a tripartite discussion between Australia, India and Japan in June 2015. Sri Lanka is used as a strategic and favorable security partner for Japan’s movements. This has deepened the deep understanding between allies.

Security Cooperation

Japan’s maritime defense forces have joined the Malabar Navy of the US and Indian Navy, and Japan became the permanent member of Malabar training operations in 2015, as Japanese operations in the Indian Ocean region are further expanded. Shinzo Abe had suggested in 2015 that Sri Lanka Navy may attend as a spectator during Malabar Joint Vending. On July 20, 2017, after the completion of the Malabar Coast, two Japanese vessels visited the port of Colombo reflected Abe’s view of Sri Lanka. Japanese Prime Minister Abe reiterated that during the Japan-Sri Lanka summit in April 2017, Sri Lanka should be a part of Sri Lanka’s visit during the joint exercise between Japanese and Indian coastal security forces. Sri Lanka and Maldives, Japan’s maritime joint training, which took place in January 2018, was attended by Japan’s expectations. Japan is aimed at strengthening maritime security through providing technical programs and equipment. For example, the Sri Lankan coastal boats were provided with patrol boats for the Sri Lankan coastal security forces in accordance with the June 30, 2016 agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Japan International Cooperation Organization. Japan can use P-3C surveillance aircraft to Sri Lanka. These aircraft are used by Japanese allies such as the United States, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, and can sponsor the communications.

Development of the Construction

In April 2017, Japan announced its decision to invest 9.46 million rupees for Trincomalee port development. Apart from China, regional rivals like Japan and India are keen to invest in Sri Lanka’s Colombo and Trincomalee ports. After 2010, Sri Lanka asked India to develop Hambantota harbor. But India has refused to accept the project schedule for the cost. Sri Lanka has requested China to invest in Hambantota harbor. China has also invested billions of dollars in investment. Faced with the financial burden of debt burden, Sri Lanka could not repay the loan from China. Sri Lanka handed over Hambantota port to China for a 99-year lease. China’s control of this port is fearing that it will use China to build its military base. Despite Colombo’s pledge, China fears that “permission to build such a military base in Sri Lanka will never be given”.

Challenges

China was trying to bring Sri Lanka into its power during a road project. However, Japan has deepened its relationship with countries such as India and the United States that it wants more foreign investment in its country. In February 2016, Sri Lanka and the United States made their first partnership, based on democracy, legal rule and prosperity. These countries are also the major beneficiaries of the United States, Japan, Australia and India coalition, with the aim of breaking China’s influence. Japan and Sri Lanka are now maintaining deep friendships. It also helps to build a permanent contribution to Japan in the Indian Ocean region. However, with the intention of sharing the values or interests, many partnerships in the Indian Ocean region can be created within Sri Lanka. With elections in Sri Lanka and India next year, the ruptures between China and India-Japan can be further deepened Finally, Abe’s efforts to transform Japanese security forces into a regular army may also cause turmoil in the region. Even if such developments help to build a future Japanese-Sri Lanka relationship, the interim bilateral relationship between Japan and Sri Lanka will also cause the division of the Indian-Pacific future.

 

By Leo Nirosha Darshan, News Manager

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