Israel’s balancing act with China ‘inspires’ Colombo

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 February 2020, 22:00 GMT]
Dr Ron Malka, the ambassador of Israel to India and Sri Lanka, paid a courtesy call on SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday morning. Israel is ready to strengthen bilateral relationships with Colombo, reported SL State-owned newspaper Daily News. Mr Rajapaksa was seeking Israeli assistance to modernize agriculture, the paper said. However, there is more to the re-emerging nexus between Tel Aviv and Colombo. In January, a “think-tanker” of the SL Ministry of Defence was comparing Israel permitting China to operate its Haifa port with SL State’s leasing of Hambantota port to China. In the meantime, China and Israel, after having secret talks for several years, are set to conclude a trade pact in 2020 despite repeated warnings from US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, the Foreign Policy reported earlier this month.

Director-General of “National Security Think Tank of Sri Lanka” (INSSSL) Asanga Abeyagoonasekera was addressing the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi. The INSSSL comes under the SL Ministry of Defence.

The Chinese will be operating the Haifa port, where the US Sixth Fleet is docked, Abeyagoonasekera observed.

“The US trade war with China has escalated, and since, ripple effects have spilt towards many nations, especially those with Chinese large-scale infrastructure projects. This includes USA’s ally Israel and the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka, seen as a strong partner of China,” he wrote in a piece in January.

“ It appears Israel is moving ahead strengthening the Chinese relations. In the same manner, Sri Lanka has increased its trade with China despite the external security concerns and fear, especially from its neighbour India,” he observed further.

Colombo seems to find comfort in citing Israeli precedent to defend its case on Hambantota.

During the times of the war, the SL State was committing genocidal massacres against Eezham Tamils deploying Israeli built Kfir bombers and Dvora fast attack crafts as well as obtaining ‘counter-insurgency’ and intelligence training from Israel.

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24.12.19   After Hambantota ‘clean-up’, US-India alliance expects Gotab..

External Links:
ORF: Strategic stability in the new decade: Ports of Asia in a period of escalation
The Times of Israel: US Senate warns Israel against letting China run Haifa port
Foreign Policy: Can China Replace the United States in Israel?
Daily News: Israel keen to develop bilateral relations with SL



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