Chinese ships are welcome ; SL won’t hurt India’s security – President



Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the country’s relationship with India does not depend on New Delhi’s ties with China, adding that the island nation won’t do anything to hurt India’s security.

In an exclusive interview with ‘Firstpost’, President Wickremesinghe said, “India worried about its own security. Sri Lanka won’t do anything to hurt its security.”

When talking about the two Chinese ships that visited Sri Lanka within a year that sparked concerns from India, the President said, ” First we asked evidence whether they were spy ships… there was no evidence. Second one, we had allowed the ship to come and they were in this area. It was not an issue at all. What is a spy ship is a big question mark. These are civilian ships. But if there is any issue, if they are spy ships we will not allow them to come in. But as far as exploration is concerned, we allow not only Chinese ships but other ships… But no one highlights the fact that other ships also come to Sri Lanka… Each time a Chinese ship comes, we get a lot of publicity. But if a research ship comes from another country, we are ignored, the President said, adding that Sri Lanka is developing its own hydrography unit.

When asked whether Sri Lanka would welcome more such ‘research ships’ from China, the President said, “We will welcome any research ship. We have no problems at all as long as it’s for research. “

When asked whether China would also be allowed to dock a military ship in Sri Lanka, he said, “We have always allowed. All ships, military ships from any country, they are all docking in Colombo… Indians, Chinese , Russians, Americans… everyone comes to Colombo.

All parties are split

Mr. Wickremesinghe also denied allegations that he is a ‘surrogate’ for the Rajapaksas’ party. Noting that the Rajapaksas’ party is split, the President had said, “One half is working with the SJB… the other half is working with me.” He also said that the whole of the SJB is not supporting Sajith Premadasa as well.

“All parties are split… So I just ask people to get together to pull the country out.”

Speaking about the economy and country’s creditors, the President said that Sri Lanka’s largest creditor is the International Sovereign Bonds while the largest bilateral creditor is China.

He also highlighted India’s help when the country underwent an economic crisis last year. In May, India extended a $1bn credit line for Sri Lanka by a year. The credit line is part of the $4bn in emergency assistance extended by India.

When asked about plans to contest the Presidential election next year, the President said that his first job is to put the economy into shape and will decide what he wants to do afterwards.

I knew SLC was going to get suspended

Speaking on the issue of the suspension of Sri Lanka Cricket, President Wickramasinghe added he knew the country’s board was going to get suspended.

“The opposition has said that the Board of Control has written to the ICC and has said to suspend Sri Lanka. The leader of the opposition gave me a set of letters, I haven’t looked at it. But ICC was anyway going to suspend Sri Lanka, I knew that.”

“We were trying to save the U-19 matches, we were going to have tourism, but that didn’t work out so we lost on all that. I am waiting to see the outcome or the decision of the courts in regard to the interim committee. Once that is done, we’ll have to start talking with the ICC to ensure that Sri Lanka can host matches again.”

“As far as the cricket board is concerned, there is a committee of ministers that are going to it, which will recommend legislation. They’ve spoken to the board members as well as to the interim committee members, but I want to bring legislation which will take away the power of the minister to intervene and interfere in politics,” Mr. Wickramasinghe added.

President Wickremesinghe has also revealed that he has since had a conversation with Shah on the matter.

“No, Jay Shah doesn’t run Sri Lankan cricket. They think that Jay Shah is supporting the cricket board. But I spoke to Jay Shah and felt sorry that his name had been dragged in and apologized. “He said, ‘My position is, whoever is the legal body, I will back. If this lot is the legal body I will back them. If the other lot is the legal body, I will back them. If there’s a third group that’s the legal body, I will back them. That’s not decided by me, that’s decided by ICC,” Wickremesinghe said.

Watch the interview of First post :


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