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Sri Lanka will adopt ‘India first policy’, says Jayanath Colombage

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Sri Lanka will adopt an “India first approach” as its new foreign policy plank and protect New Delhi’s strategic security interests, the country’s Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage has said as he sought to allay concerns amid China’s growing presence in the island nation.

Admiral Colombage became the first-ever foreign secretary from a military background when he was appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to head the Foreign Ministry on August 14.

In an interview published by Daily Mirror on Wednesday, Colombage said Sri Lanka is to adopt an ‘India first approach’ as its new regional foreign policy plank.

Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage

Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage

“That means Sri Lanka will not do anything harmful to India’s strategic security interests,” said Colombage, who was the chief of the Sri Lanka Navy between 2012-14 and later became a foreign policy analyst mostly on the Chinese initiatives in Sri Lanka and the immediate region.

Colombage said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would have an India first approach as the key to strategic security.

”China is the second-largest economy and India is considered the sixth-largest. In 2018 India was the world’s fastest-growing economy. That means we are between two economic giants,” he said.

“Sri Lanka cannot afford, should not afford and will not afford any particular country to use it as a staging area to do anything against another country, especially so India,” he said.

Commenting on the Chinese investment in the southern port of Hambantota, Colombage says that Sri Lanka had offered India Hambantota first.

India did not undertake it for whatever reason, then it went to a Chinese company, he said.

Now we have given 85 per cent stake of Hambantota port to China Merchant Holding Company. That should be limited to commercial activities. It is zero for military purposes,” he said.

Colombage said that despite opposition from port worker trade unions, President Rajapaksa would go ahead with the memorandum of cooperation signed with India on the Colombo Port’s Eastern terminal.

Colombo Port is the largest and busiest port in Sri Lanka. Located on the southwestern shores on the Kelani River, it serves as an important terminal in Asia due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean.

The previous Sirisena government had signed a “memorandum of cooperation” (MOC) with India and Japan for a tripartite effort to develop the terminal which is located just next to the USD 500 million Chinese-run Colombo International Container Terminal.

”The President has said that he is ready to honour the agreement. As per the new guidance of the President, no national asset is given with total control to any country,” he said.

Colombage said that the Rajapaksa foreign policy shift would mean that Sri Lanka would not be anymore reliant on a West-oriented policy.

The most dynamic foreign office officials would be posted in Sri Lanka’s neighbourhood, in the Middle East, Bangladesh, Africa and ASEAN in line with the new foreign policy shift where the emphasis would be on the neighbourhood.

China has been making significant forays into Sri Lanka, especially in the defence field. Beijing’s activities have caused regional concerns, especially in India.

Sri Lankan in 2017 handed over the Hambantota port to China on a 99-year lease. There are regional concerns, mostly from India, that China may make a military presence at Hambantota, located on a key sea international shipping route.

Aman currently works as a blogger and also as a travel and lifestyle Vlogger. He is always interested in new challenges.

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Famous Football Player Cristiano Ronaldo Tested Positive for COVID-19

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo has been tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. He will miss Portugal’s Nations League sport against Sweden on Wednesday.

Due to Cristiano been found positive, the remaining players of the Portugal squad also underwent tests this Tuesday morning. But all of the negative and would be available for the upcoming match against Sweden.

We pray for his speedy recovery.

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Thousands of people protesting over Kyrgyzstan election result

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Kyrgyzstan Protest

Thousands of people are protesting in Kyrgyzstan over allegations of vote-buying and intimidation in Sunday’s parliamentary election. The capital Bishkek saw the largest protest while rallies were also held elsewhere in the ex-Soviet republic.

Only four parties out of 16 passed the 7% threshold for entry into parliament, three of which have close ties to President Sooronbai Jeenbekov. International monitors have said the claims of vote-buying are “credible”.

None of the established opposition parties got a seat in parliament. Now all of these parties have declared that they will not recognize the results of the election. Opposition candidates are calling on the Central Electoral Commission in Kyrgyzstan to cancel the results of the vote. One candidate, Ryskeldi Mombekov, told a crowd of more than 5,000 protesters: “The president promised to oversee honest elections. He didn’t keep his word.”

Mr. Mombekov’s party, Ata Meken, had been confident of entering parliament, but in the end, it was one of the eight parties that missed the threshold. Protesters are also calling on President Jeenbekov to resign. Thomas Boserup, head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s election observation mission, said in a briefing that although the vote had been “generally well organized”, allegations of vote-buying were a “serious concern”.

The two leading parties, which got a quarter of the vote each, were Birimdik and Mekenim Kyrgyzstan. President Jeenbekov’s younger brother, Asylbek Jeenbekov, is in Birimdik.

Mekenim Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, is seen as being closely connected to the powerful Matraimov family. The family’s figurehead, Rayimbek Matraimov, is believed to have helped finance Mr. Jeenbekov’s successful presidential campaign in 2017.

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White House press secretary tests positive for COVID-19

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Kayleigh McEnany

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. She has become the highest-ranking White House official to have contracted the virus after US President Donald Trump and the first lady tested positive.

The coronavirus has so far killed more than 200,000 Americans this year.

“After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,” McEnany said in a statement posted on Twitter.

No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit, she said.

“Moreover, I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday,” she said, referring to her press meet in the White House while not wearing a mask.

“As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time. With my recent positive test I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American People remotely,” McEnany said.

A close aide of the president and the first lady, Hicks was the first senior White House official last week to have tested positive. Soon thereafter Trump and his wife Melania tested positive.

To this end, the White House issued a statement to wish its president and all others struggling with the disease a speedy recovery.

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