US government requests extra funds from its congress for security affairs in South Asia

US government requests extra funds from its congress for security affairs in South Asia

Written by Staff Writer

13 Jun, 2019 | 9:51 pm

Colombo (News 1st): The US state department has asked the US Senate to provide US$ 30 million in foreign military financing to support the department’s new security cooperation program in South Asia, the Bay of Bengal Initiative, that will build maritime and border security capacity for Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives.

The state department further requests US$ 64 million for regional activities to support raising infrastructure standards, supporting regional energy and digital connectivity, and bolstering cybersecurity in the South Asian region.

Alice G. Wells, Senior Bureau Official for South and Central Asian Affairs, is currently testifying before the subcommittees on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget request for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Asia.

Her statement has already been submitted to the U.S. Senate. The testimony lays out the goals of South Asia and Indo-Pacific Strategies.

As per the statement, the Indo-Pacific strategy is committed to ensuring rules-based order, with free and open commerce, freedom of navigation, democracy, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

“These principles have helped to improve living standards for half of the world’s population living in the Indo-Pacific region, and they remain critical for the region’s long-term future. 70% of global commerce passes through the oceans of the Indo-Pacific, and the United States will protect its seas and skies through our diplomatic engagement, development efforts, and security cooperation. At the same time, the United States, alongside India, Japan, Australia, and other trusted allies and partners, will support the political and economic autonomy of Indo-Pacific countries to ensure they can chart their own path to freedom and prosperity, as satellites to none. We cannot allow China, or any other country, to subvert our partners through unsustainable infrastructure projects that push economies into unsustainable debt, or by contributing to an erosion of transparency and democratic norms.”

Though we have seen progress in implementing this vision for the region, political and economic freedom are not the only concerns for South Asia. On Easter Sunday, ISIS-inspired terrorists targeted churches and hotels throughout Sri Lanka with a series of coordinated suicide attacks.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation quickly deployed at the request of the Sri Lankan government and helped dismantle the local terrorist organizations that carried out these attacks.

This confirms the US interest in the South Asian region. The agreements reached and the ones that are to be reached between Sri Lanka and the US on security, are being discussed heavily.

The views expressed by religious leaders regarding this particular subject brings out a strong message.

On the 28th of May, 2019 Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter Venerable Medagama Dhammananda Thero said that the US Ambassador said the agreement has not been finalised. He said that they will always be on the side of the people of this country.

He stated that it is true that the United States of America has helped Sri Lanka, but at this decisive time, they (Theros) will always represent this nation and her people. He noted that they have informed the US Ambassador that they disagree with this and although the Sri Lankan leaders are informed about it, these leaders have not paid attention to this.

On the 23rd of May, 2019 Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter Venerable Tibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero said America also has accusations against them and a majority of them point out that this is dangerous. He said that its how they also see it, therefore, he noted that it’s better if this is conducted transparently.

Archbishop of Colombo Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith noted that there is a dangerous global plan behind this, which they will not reveal to anyone. He said they know how massive ships of the US travel across the globe and they have placed them in a manner they can capture any country at any time they want.

“But nobody is speaking against it. They have to create chaos in countries. If they do not create conflicts, they cannot sell their weapons. So how do they do that? They recognize the change in treatment. They encourage problems by betting religions and communities against each other. I believe that ISIS is also a part of that system.”

On May 31, 2019, Deputy Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter Venerable Anamaduwe Dhammadassi Thero said they vehemently oppose any foreign force and any agreement which would pave the way for any foreign military to enter the country or create a base in Sri Lanka that would harm the sovereignty of our nation.

Meanwhile, during a press briefing Chairman of the Surakimu Sri Lanka National Movement Venerable Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thero said the rulers do not have the authority to destroy forest reserves or national resources. He noted that Basil Rajapaksa hands over a document to the Wilpattu forest reserve without even consulting anyone, Rishad Bathiudeen was asked to clear 4,600 acres.

“If you take the Central Expressway, what report has been done on that? Nothing has been done. Reports have been presented by environmentalists, scientists and Geoscientists. We are yet studying these reports. The central hills will face a massive environmental crisis in the near future. The main intention is to build a highway. The highway comes with a commission. So it will be used as an accessory to show that a highway was also built during this government, like Rajapaksa. They are doing this while risking the safety of the country. Minister Kiriella wants to auction lands on the top of the central hills to his daughters, sisters and relatives. More than 100,000 acres of forest lands from Thabbowa to Batticaloa have been destroyed. When Ranil Wickremesinghe sign the agreements with America to build a corridor from Trincomalee, more than 100,00 acres will be lost. They do not care about the national resources of the country. The environmental ministers who spoke about this, have built port cities. There is no point in us making complaints. When cases are filed, judges resign.”

Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation. And for thousands of years, our people have determined the destiny of this nation.

There are a few important matters that the people of Sri Lanka would like to remind our leaders, particularly the ones who are reducing themselves to selling parts of our nation to their own political survival.

Sri Lankan leaders and other global powers would do well to keep in mind that Sri Lanka is more than capable to ensure her own security. We are able to protect our own borders and if we require assistance, we will ask for it.

No other nation or organization should be too concerned about our security or our borders and while it is understood that we now live in a globalized world, it should also not be misunderstood that globalization means economic colonization.

Unfortunately for Sri Lanka and fortunately for these nations, Sri Lanka is being led by archaic politicians intent on salvaging and perpetuating their own diminishing political power.

Despite this, it must be kept in mind that all religious leaders together with the people have always stood strong and against such acts of betrayal.

The fate of our nation must be determined by the people and not by these so-called leaders who are nothing but desperate puppets in the hands of one global power or another.

We the people shall protect our nation from the vagaries of decrepit politicians. We the people shall protect our nation from becoming a door-mat to foreign powers intent on pursuing their own interests at the expense of our motherland.

Many have tried in history. All, have ultimately, failed.

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