Feb 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka's national security think tank, Institute of National Security Studies of Sri Lanka (INSSSL) along with policy makers have examined the security implications of large scale foreign direct investment (FDI) projects and presence of foreign workers.
The INSSSL, in its first "Threat Lens" - a closed round table discussion held on Friday at the Ministry of Defense with the participation of a number of high level government officials, scholars and policy makers has discussed the "Large Scale Foreign Projects and Security Implications in South Asia".
Director General of INSSSL Asanga Abeyagoonasekera in his opening remarks said that so far there has been no study on the impact large scale strategic projects could have on national security and foresight analysis should be done as a nation thinking long term.
INSSSL Analyst Ranuk Mendis pointed out several models used in other nations such as China, when deciding on strategic foreign projects where national security clearance has to be obtained as a first step.
Presentations were made by INSSSL's Research Analyst with a video recording by international terrorism expert Dr. Rohan Gunaratna from Singapore.
Following the presentations a very productive discussion ensued with useful and informative perspectives and recommendations on the topic, both in favor of and against FDIs.
According to the think tank, the consensus was that the government should encourage FDIs whilst exercising caution when engaging with foreign investors.
The INSSSL said this is especially important as large scale foreign projects are becoming increasingly important and play a pivotal role in the Sri Lankan economy.
A senior government official explaining the importance of guidelines said input should be provided by INSSSL for such projects in future. Inter-agency cooperation on guidelines for approving FDI in the country was proposed at the closed-door policy discussion.
The event was very well received by all those present with feedback to ensure its continuity with similar discussions in the future.