The United State’s establishment of a base in the Maldives could change the complexion of the sub-continent region as there is likelihood of its growing interest in the region by aligning more with India; thus causing a factor which may affect Sri Lanka, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday.
He said this while delivering a lecture for students following the National Interest Module of the inaugural MPhil/PhD Programme of the Kotelawala Defence University.
The Defence Secretary pointed out that it was essential to further strengthen the existing cordial relationships with powerful nations such as China and Russia, which have permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council and could influence any international action on Sri Lanka more significantly than other nations.
“Issues between India and Pakistan, and the issues between India and China are particularly sensitive in this regard. With the rise of China as a world economic leader, there is a widespread belief that India feels insecure and is seeking to align itself with the other powers that seem similarly threatened by China’s ascendancy,” he added.
The Defence Secretary said this while delivering a lecture for students following the National Interest Module of the inaugural MPhil/PhD Programme of the Kotelawala Defence University. The speech was on the topic, ‘Sri Lanka’s National Security Concerns’.
Mr.Rajapaksa said although the likelihood of events such as the Arab Spring transpiring in Sri Lanka is minimal as a result of it being a democratic nation with an extremely popular political leadership that enjoys a very large electoral majority, the possible trend needs to be monitored.
“With the emergence of technology driven new media including social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other websites on the Internet, we have seen the potential of this new media to destabilize nations and affect serious change in the case of countries like Tunisia, Libya and Egypt,” he said.
“Many of our youth are familiar with social media and use it as a tool to gather information as well as propagate ideas. Those with vested interests can exploit social media to cause problems in Sri Lanka by propagating certain ideologies online and mobilising and organising people,” he said.
He noted that this can be done with a minimal physical presence and therefore forms a threat that is difficult to contain through the traditional tools of national defence. (Supun Dias)