The Sunday Leader

The Moment of Pivotal Change for Sri Lanka

By Trevor Jayetileke

“A moments insight they say is sometimes worth a  life time experience”.

The Logistics Fulcrum  of the Port of Hambantota  in the Southern  belt of Sri Lanka which is just about 10 miles away from the International  Sea  Lane now firmly in the hands of China since 9th of December 2017 for 99 years has given it the Keys  to dominate the Sea Power that the Indian Ocean offers.

This Sea Power was in the hands of Britain after  1815 when SL became  a Crown Colony and even after HK was returned to China in 1997 the Sea Power of the Indian Ocean did not seem  much of a concern to the UK which had granted Independence to about a dozen Colonies including Sri Lanka after the end of WW2 until China emerged as the dominant Economic Force in the  Asia Pacific in the 21st century and only second to the US which has been in decline with its Twin Deficits.

Though China  talks  of a New Maritime Sea Route no mention is still made of what is new  and the old maritime silk route is still the one that exists through the Straits of Malacca and services the Import/Export Economy of the Mainland China which accounts for 80% of Total  Sea Trade involved and the balance going via Road and Rail.   The true potential of the BRI will be achieved when ASEAN  also experience the Asia Pacific Boom and China locks in the others like Japan, South Korea , Australia and NZ who are still aghast  as to what happened to the Trans Pacific Partnership., and the 40 odd countries of the Asia Pacific becomes an Economic Force to be reckoned with.

It will be in the interest of World Shipping if the sailing times from China also could be reduced specially now that Sri Lanka has become its ‘Logistics Pivot’ in the Indian Ocean  and the only logical route will be the cutting of the” Kra Canal” which will be the articulate link to the Panama and Suez Canals., which reminds me of an Indian IT ‘Guru” who recently said that right now the World needs  a  “Moses”.

I don’t think Sri Lanka could imagine how its fortunes have changed to be claimed as a friend of countries  that have given us  such a hard time  through agencies they control  like the UNCHR and given our valiant soldiers  Brickbats instead of Bouquets while China remains our best LAST RESORT. It won’t be long (Probably March 2018)  when we receive the additional SEA BED from UNCLOS and our territorial waters  expand from the present 150,000 sq. miles to about 500,000 sq.miles and our natural resources like fish, mineral sands, and oil/gas potential become a Bonanza to exploit.

The “LOTUS TOWER” now taking shape will be a reminder to all ships that sail the International Waters of the Indian Ocean  that their Right to the Freedom of Navigation is assured without  any doubt.   Our task is not easy and we also need the support of the US Pacific Command that we have had in the Asia Pacific since the end of WW2  ensuring Peace and Stability  of the region  as we find ourselves navigating a strange new Seascape without a Re-calibrated Map or Vice-Roy like before.


Trevor Jayetileke is an Energy Consultant/Petroleum Analyst and Business Columnist

1 Comment for “The Moment of Pivotal Change for Sri Lanka”

  1. Gabriella

    Huh ? WTF ?

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