Sri Lanka caught in Indian Ocean power struggle – scholar

July 31, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will inevitably be drawn in to power struggle for dominance in the Indian ocean as China increasingly seeks to extend its clout beyond its “traditional areas of operation into the Indian ocean,” a top US political scientist told a gathering in Colombo. Professor Sumit Ganguly, a renowned US scholar and expert on south Asian affairs said Sri Lanka will have to decide up to what extent they are willing to cooperate with the US to counter a growing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean.

“Inevitably, given Sri Lanka’s extraordinary geo-political location, there will be overtures to cooperate with the US especially if the Chinese navy chose to become more assertive and aggressive in its behaviour,” Gunguly said.

“If the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) challenges the freedom of navigation on high seas or in any way obstructs trade or oil flows from the Gulf, obviously there will be a ramping up of American capabilities,”

“This is a choice Sri Lankan policy makers will have to make about the extent to which they wish to be involved with the US or chose not to be,” he said.

Ganguly was speaking on ‘US foreign policy towards South Asia’ at public lecture held Monday at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations & Strat