Feb 16, Colombo: a Japanese security expert advised Sri Lanka to cultivate good relations with India and India-friendly countries like Japan, to counterbalance its relations with China which could cause tension in the South Asian region.
Dr. Satoru Nagao Lecturer in Security Studies at the Law Faculty of Gakushuin University in Japan, gave this advice delivering a public lecture titled 'Changing China-US power balance & role of Japan- Sri Lanka & India Cooperation' at the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
"As Sri Lanka is increasingly accepting Chinese support, it should also increasingly emphasize cooperation with India. Sri Lanka should also enhance cooperation with other countries that are friendly to India like Japan," New Indian Express quoted the speaker.
The lecture was organized in order to educate the audience of the current national and international political and security situations in the changing geo-political and social sphere.
During his lecture Dr. Nagao explained how Sri Lanka centered Indo - Japanese cooperation should stand and the role of these three countries in the current international geopolitical environment and change of balance of power between China and the United States.
"Japan has a strong will to support India's rise" and at the same time, "Japan has been a stable supporter of Sri Lanka for years," he said.
He suggested that Japan, India and Sri Lanka would be ideal partners to counterbalance China's aggressive strategic moves in the region disguised as economic development cooperation.
"If Japan and India collaborate to establish a maritime communication network system in Sri Lanka that would serve the entire Indian Ocean, it would be easy for the three countries to be aware of what occurs in the Indian Ocean. These collaborative projects are preferable to accepting China's support, which would create strategic difficulties. Under Japan-Sri Lanka-India cooperation, a win-win situation can be created." Dr. Nagao said.
Dr. Nagao, in a friendly warning to Sri Lanka, which might be believing that Chinese development activity in the island is innocent and benign with no security implications for it, said that China has always used development assistance as a point of entry and then used the influence gained to push its geo-political strategic-political agenda.
The Japanese scholar said that with the US presence in the Indian Ocean declining and China's power rising, Japan and India will have to shoulder the responsibility of seeing that there is no undue power imbalance or aggressive action by China to dominate the sea lanes violating the rules, as it does in South China Sea.
"India will be the most influential sea power to fill the power vacuum in the Indian Ocean region in the near future," Dr. Nagao told the Sri Lankan audience.
He said Japan can fill the huge financial gap which will arise in Sri Lanka if China is curbed and Japanese executed projects will be of better quality too.