Visits by Chinese, Russian foreign ministers to coincide with the stopover of US top diplomat

[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 January 2020, 23:04 GMT]
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to arrive in Colombo on Monday, one day ahead of the already-announced visit by Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Russian FM is scheduled to visit Colombo on his way to attend a conference on geopolitics organised by the Indian External Affairs Ministry and Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. In the meantime, Alice Wells, the US principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, scheduled to attend the Indian conference, is also arriving in Colombo on Monday. The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers, as well as the US Deputy State Secretary, will be meeting Gotabaya Rajapaksa, media reports in Colombo said.

Separate top-level meetings will take place on Monday and Tuesday, and the schedule is tight in Colombo, the reports further said.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s “very first posting as a career diplomat in the 1970s was in the Soviet Embassy in Sri Lanka,” the Daily News observed.

The Raisina Dialogue, taking place for the fifth consecutive time this year is described as India’s multilateral flagship annual conference on geopolitics and geo-economics. The theme of the conference this year is “Navigating the Alpha Century”.

This Dialogue in New Delhi will have ministers, foreign diplomats including economic, intelligence and military experts from 17 countries.

The two-day conference, held on Tuesday and Wednesday, is jointly organised by the Indian foreign ministry and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), which is sponsored by Ambani conglomerate.

The ORF was vocal in supporting Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Colombo-centric State in the island in the aftermath of genocidal onslaught on Eezham Tamils in 2009.

The Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne are among the 12 foreign ministers expected to attend the conference, which is to be inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Several former heads of States from the West and in the region are scheduled to attend the New Delhi conference.

While Iranian Foreign Minister and US foreign diplomats and military officials take part in the conference, there is no Pakistan or Chinese presence in the Raisina Dialogue.

US Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger is attending the conference along with US Principal Deputy Secretary of State Ms Wells.

A special session on Indo-Pacific seems to be part of the conference. Military and naval commanders from the Quad countries (Australia, India, Japan and the United States) as well as from France, would be attending the session, according to initial reports from New Delhi.

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