Sri Lanka should boost relations with all major powers: Razeen Sally

Dec 22, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should be friendly all major powers and ensure that relations are strengthened with nations that matter to the core economic interests of the country, a top international economist said. “It strikes me that Sri Lankan foreign policy, which of course includes foreign economic policy – is completely lopsided,” Razeen Sally, a former London School of Economics professor who is now with Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy said.

“Because the picture we have is of China as first friend. But old friends had been alienated and some potential friends like India has been kept at arms length.

“Now it strikes me that that batting order comes directly counter to Sri Lanka’s core economic interests.”

Sally was speaking at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations in Colombo. He is a specialist in global trade, especially in relation to Asia.

He said simple arithmetic showed that about 60 percent of Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports went to the US and EU.

“So it is not rocket science, but simple common sense for Sri Lanka to have good relations with the Western powers because Sri Lanka needs them more than they need Sri Lanka,” Sally said.