President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena arrived in India on the 15th, started the state visit. The decision of choosing India as the first country to visit after his election was interpreted as “Indo-Siri Lanka relationship being one of a kind” by Indian officials. Some western media believed that Sirisena had the intention to rebuild friendly relationship with India. Because the close companionship formal president of Sri Lanka formed with Beijing had made New Delhi quite anxious. “The prosperity and stability of South Asian region agrees with the interest of China; China is pleasant to see a healthy development of relationship between Sri Lanka and India.” An expert of South Asia, professor Zhang Guihong of Fudan University spoke to reporter of Global Times on the 15th. In fact, the really challenge is achieving mutual trust between India Sri Lanka with their disagreement and their history as obstacles. Another element limiting the width of the development of the relationship between the two countries is that, being in the progress of economic revolution, India wouldn’t be able to provide Sri Lanka with great financial support readily.
According to the report of Indian Asian News Agency on the 15th, president Sirisena would receive grand welcoming in the office of Indian president on the 16th, later he would leave to pay tribute to the mausoleum of Mahatma Gandhi. Later that day, Sirisena would have a closed-door talk with Indian president Modi. On the 17th, Sirisena would visit Buddha Gaya, one of the four Buddhism Holy land. He would then visit Tirupati, and finished his state visit to India backing to Sir Lanka according to the plan.
“President Sirisena’s decision of choosing India as the first country he visit after election, reflected the uniqueness of Indo-Sri Lanka relationship.” The spokesman of Indian ministry of Foreign Affair, Seyd said that choosing the first state visit country was an opportunity to set the direction of development. India anticipated Sirisena to achieve fruitful results through this visit. Indian Deccan Herald stated on the 15th, Sirisena would discuss multiple key topics with Modi in the talks, including taking actions to expend the two countries’ economic cooperation, peace of Sri Lanka and progress of reconciliation and such. Sri Lankan online newspaper, ColomboPage, commented that Indian government expected to enhance the warm and friendly relationship between India and Sri Lanka via this visit. Colombo Gazette reported that to coordinate with Sirisena’s visit to India, the two countries expressed goodwill gesture to each other. Sri Lanka decided to release the 84 detained Indian fishing-boats, and India was about to release the 24 detained Sri Lankan fishing-boats and 6 fishermen. Before then, they had both been invading each other’s water area.
This visit has not only been widely reported by Indian and Sri Lankan media, it has also drawn attention from Western Medias. L’Agence France-Presse claimed on the 15th that the close companionship that the formal president of Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa formed with Beijing during his presidency caused anxiousness to New Delhi. India has long considered Sri Lanka within the sphere of strategic influence. Press Trust of India commented that India considered Rajapaksa’s lost in presidential campaign as a new opportunity for diplomacy. L’Agence France-Presse quoted a Sri Lankan official, Sirisena’s visit with Modi on the 16th would intend to ease India’s concern.
The expert of South Asia, professor Zhang Guihong said to Global Times’ reported on the 15th that China attached importance to her relation with Sri Lanka, hoped to expend local investment scale, encourage mutual commercial intercourse. Even though the existence of China in South Asia region, objectively, would make certain people in India concern; what more important is, both as newly-developing great country, China and India faced same missions and challenges, possessed wide common interest, and broad scope for collaboration.
South China Morning Post (SCMP) of Hong Kong posted on the 15th that Sirisena would endeavor for more Indian investment in Sri Lanka. Before there was report saying that Sri Lanka was looking for international assistance of 4 billion USD; however, a diplomatic politic expert warned that “India’s pocket is not deep enough”, unable to replace China to be primary investment country. That agency said that China supplied 141.9 million dollars’ loan in the first four months of 2014, which made it the target financing country for this island country. The loan India provided was 53.7 million dollars.
L’Agence France-Presse claimed, next month, Indian president Modi would pay a return visit to Sri Lanka. Modi clear stated that hoping to recover the dominant status within Sri Lankan friendly countries. SCMP reported that Sirisena expressed his hope in maintaining a neutral way in the domain of diplomatic relations. Sri Lankan formal representative in UN Geneva branch, Jayatiraca said to reporter from Global Times on the 15th, As India was the only neighbor country of Sri Lanka, there was no surprise, and totally normal in the new government’s action. Sri Lankan government wouldn’t be inclined to India entirely, but pursuing balance in diplomatic aspact.
There is still many unresolved issue between Sri Lanka and India that need to be taking care of. A personage familiar with South Asian situation analyzed to reporter of Global Times that there was no break through on the issues as illegal fishing in each other’s countries and return of Tamil refugees and such, and civil public opinion in Sri Lanka wouldn’t forget about India’s interference of its internal affairs, with the worry of India having a hand in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs again, it is hard for the two countries to achieve mutual trust.