Sri Lanka at the Crossroads: Geopolitical Challenges and National Interests

Smruti S. Pattanaik is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • September 2019
    Book Review

    Sri Lanka has always featured in any discussion on Indian Ocean geopolitics. However, its geopolitical significance has increased manifold after the end of the long-drawn war that saw the defeat of the LTTE. The manner in which the war concluded brought international focus on the country, as some of the Tamil leaders sought international indulgence to ensure justice is delivered, and peace brought through war results in a meaningful political solution for the Tamils. The other geopolitical development is China’s growing economic clout and its presence in the Indian Ocean, as Beijing strives to establish its maritime presence under the ambitious BRI. As Indian Ocean became the focus of China’s maritime attention—ostensibly also to protect the sea lanes of communication and overcome its Malacca dilemma—the US-piloted Indo-Pacific strategy drew a new alignment of interests to emphasize ‘freedom of navigation’ in the South China Sea. All these have had several impacts on Sri Lanka that finds itself in the middle of a geostrategic storm. In this context, this book is not just timely but an important contribution that explains Sri Lanka’s position in the geopolitical conundrum and the challenges it faces post the war against the LTTE. The book contains six chapters that comprehensively analyse the multiple challenges, including domestic and foreign policy.