Linking more closely with South
South East Asia
is one of those regions which are proving to be notable for
their economic robustness and it only stands to reason that Sri
Lanka should boost its links with this region of great material
promise. Over the past few days President Mahinda Rajapaksa has
been underscoring the importance of Thailand, for instance, by
interacting closely with Thai leaders.
Around the same time the Singaporean Foreign Minister was
here and his talks with his Lankan counterpart Professor G.L.
Peiris proved most productive. Sri Lanka's business, investment
and commercial links with these countries were further
consolidated and the stage set for mutually-beneficial relations
in the future too.
The ASEAN region was not so long ago characterized as
containing 'Miracle Economies' and Thailand and Singapore are
part of this dynamic grouping which has helped in refashioning
the global economic balance in Asia's favour. Thus, it would be
very far-seeing of a country in the Asian region to forge close
economic links in particular with these robust economies of
South East Asia which are seen as 'Miracles' of economic
Along with China, the world's second most powerful economy,
ASEAN has helped craft a new world order where the voices of
Asia and the developing world would be heard more distinctly.
This shift in power could be expected to be only more pronounced
with the Eurozone crisis sounding the death knell of Western
economic power. Thus, it is only advisable that Sri Lanka
integrates itself more closely with the dynamically growing
economies of East and South East Asia.
The Asian region is yet to evolve a single, overarching
organization which could help in projecting its collective
economic and political power, but there is a great need for the
countries of the more productive regions of Asia to come
together for the purpose of more concertedly counter-balancing
the general political clout of the West. The need for a
restructured world political order on these lines was brought
home to us when Sri Lanka was unconscionably victimized by the
major powers of the West in the March UNHRC sessions.
Some notable powers of Asia stood by Sri Lanka in that crisis
and it is quite apparent that the victimization of the
developing world would continue if the global power balance is
not shifted decisively in favour of the developing world and
Asia. A projection of collective Asian power could bring about
this badly needed restructuring of the global power system.
A drastic revival of the Non-aligned Movement could help
greatly in this connection. The rationale underlying NAM helped
in winning on to the side of the developing world the support of
those countries which were yearning for a just international
political order, decades ago, and we believe that the
aforementioned cry for justice is still being raised by the
world's oppressed but is continuing to go largely unanswered.
Accordingly, there needs to be a coming together of hearts and
minds among the countries of the developing world and the time
is now to ensure the projection of such a collective political
will when the world economic balance has shifted in East Asia's
It is for these reasons that Sri Lanka is doing right by
interacting more closely with those major economic powers of
Asia. Besides strengthening bonds of friendship with these
countries, Sri Lanka stands to gain economically and materially
by doing so. China is one of those robust investors who are
being welcomed to our shores and very rightly too. Besides
China's major investments in the infrastructure field, it should
not be forgotten that she is a number one electronics giant.
Therefore, forging business and investment ties with China is
perfectly in order.
Besides these considerations, Asia's vibrant economies need
to stand together because they are home to some of the world's
most sought-after resources, many of them of a strategic nature.
This resource base must be protected and it is only a
mustering of collective power which could ensure it.