U.S. Naval Basing in Sri Lanka?

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by Ray, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    ******************************

    Dr. David A. Anderson is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer. He is now a professor of Strategic Studies and Odom Chair of Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Operations at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he teaches strategic and operational studies, as well as economics. He is also an adjunct professor for Webster University, where he teaches various international relations courses including, International Political Economy and Globalization. He has published numerous articles on military, economics, and international relations related topics.

    Major Anton Wijeyesekera is a serving Armor officer in the Sri Lanka Army. During his 18 years in the Army he has held various command and staff and instructional appointments. He served as S2 in 55 and 53 Infantry Divisions in the year 2008. He graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 2009. Presently he is serving as a senior Instructor at the Sri Lanka Military Academy.

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    The issue of the US having a base keeps surfacing now and then.

    Before the LTTE crisis, there was the talk of the US setting up a base at Trincomalee and it raised hackles in India.

    Here is an interesting analysis from the Small Wars Journal (an excellent repository of matter military worldwide and worth a look).

    What is important to note is that the sealanes in the Indian Ocean is one where the traffic is very high and the economy of the world practically passes by.

    Indian Oceans economic importance has been very succinctly highlighted in this analysis and it requires no elaboration.

    Sri Lanka is the fulcrum to the activities that happens in the Indian Ocean from either side of the Indian peninsula. Therefore, its strategic importance requires no amplification.

    In so far as the Chinese interest in the Indian Ocean is concerned, it is well established and most of us know of the Strategy of the String of Pearls and why it is being done. In addition, it is missed out that Sri Lanka is half way home to the Chinese foothold that they are hard at in Africa. There is no doubt that China requires a safe port of call half way home and Sri Lanka provides it.

    Pakistan too has great interest in Sri Lanka and has been cozying around for a long time.in consort with China and even without.

    It is obviously not in the interest of India to have inimical powers burrowing in in Sri Lanka to prove a threat to Indian interests.

    Therefore, what is your opinion?

    Should the US have a base in Sri Lanka or not?

    What if the US turns against India at a future date?
     
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  3. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    We supported Sri Lankan army to eliminate LTTE. US base was also one reason at that time. We kept SL on our side so that she won't run towards U.S./China. Now, U.S. is not interested in base there in changing geo-political scenario. India-U.S. mild negative relation has changed into mild positive relation.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Why do you feel that the US has no interest in SL?
     
  5. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    Should put a check on the chini's. Good for India I hope.
     
  6. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    1> Geography. They already have base in Diego Garcia. It won't make any difference to them. Whatever they want to do, they can still do in IOR without having military base in SL.

    2> Relation. We maintained mild positive relation with SL for national interest by sacrificing Tamil issue. SL won't indulge in any anti-India activity. They don't want to see fume above Colombo in war. It's in their interest to have normal relation with India. SL needs India more than we need them.

    3> Indo-U.S. - U.S. still might be on Pak side but in long run they want to maintain good relation with India. They already indicated by taking various steps. They choose Pak over India few decades back but it didn't helped them. Today, India is moving upward to become 3rd largest economy, Biggest defence importer and only country in Asia who can counter China. It's U.S. national interest to make good relation with India.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  7. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    I don’t see how and why India would ever let that happen.

    It is interesting to see US whip up our fears and then push their interests projecting them in our best interest.

    Since it is collaboration being insisted up on, it best be in ways where there remain certain sea lanes directly under India’s control and no bases be erected by the US, as such the men in white have always been the most suspicious of the US of the 3 services, though a few joint war games, and military exercises might have help address those concerns and trust deficit but no way would anyone of them have forgotten the past, the way it was.

    Then there remains the question of what would the future have in store and while addressing that, it is extremely important to know, US and our world view don’t converge, which is explicitly shown in the way the two vote in the UN, when a meager 15-20% times have the two voted for the same cause, otherwise both have sailed in opposite directions.

    Adding to that, at a political level I am yet to see where India is in a frame of mind of any sort of military alliance with the US cornering china, we moving to SE asia has primarily to do with trade, since a significant proportion of our trade flows through those sea lanes.

    The other thing to look at is, you let the americans in, then you will give that many more reasons to the dragon to also build naval ports in adjoining countries and then we will cry “string of pearls” being put to practice and now in military terms.

    It is our backyard and we better keep it like that, no need to do any jee hazori for anyone here.
     
  8. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    We should let them know our displeasure.
     
  9. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    SL is our "friend" right?
    Sometimes I wish the US sets up a base their to make GoI realise its strategic mistake in 2008 -2009. But then the the thought comes to my mind that TN because of its proximity to SL would face the greatest potential threat from such a base.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    How about SL allowing the same facilities as they are allowing the Chinese?

    Which is a better option?

    The Chinese having a free run or the US acting as a counter balance with India sitting in the North?
     
  11. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    India is one of the major trading partner for Sri Lanka and is also amongst the five major investor country in the field of Manufacturing, Telecommunication, IT/ITES, Hospitality , Petroleum. Defense relations between the two are sound except for Tamil issue. India has entered into many agreements with Sri Lanka such as Indo Lanka Free Trade Agreements (ILFTA) - since 2000, Investment Promotion & Protection Treaty - since 1997, Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty - since 1983, Exim Bank of India (2000), Confederation of Indian Industry (2005) agreement, etc.
    The importance of Sri Lanka for India lies in the geographical facts of it being an extension of Indian peninsula. It is a wedge between Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal effectively dividing sea communication between the two water bodies. It means the Indian Eastern Navel Command and Southern Naval command is not linked coastally to each other they both have common point only south of Sri Lanka. Any hostile foreign base in Sri Lanka would thus be a very bad threat for the India Navel commands. Indian Navy will have to eliminate such a threat by effective sea control and sea denials necessitating deployment of large forces for this purpose and Sri Lanka will get sucked into such a conflict. Hence, Sri Lanka resorting into taking such extreme measures is not common sense. It is sandwiched then.
    So far as Indian bases in Sri Lanka are concerned, no additional advantages would accrue. It would add to their logistic problems but bases to any foreign powers like China would be of great advantage to them specially Trincomalee which is a natural submarine harbor of great capacity and nearer to Indian landmass. USA has its chain of bases and may not have additional one in Srilanka but a Chinese base there would certainly be problematic.
    Habantota is located in the extreme South but not out of Indian Missile ranges. So is India’s South vulnerable to missile ranges of shorter distance. India definitely would be sensitive to it. But if Chinese develop dependence there, it would be easier for Indian Navy to deny those shipping lanes to the Chinese.
     
  12. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    It is a shame that the aspiring super power needs the US to counter Chinese presence in a small island nation situated a few kilometres away.

    And what's the guarantee that the current relationships between India , China and the US will continue a decade from now.What if China and the US come together?
    Looks like the Lankans are being pampered by all.It wont have a direct effect on Chinese or US pride but we are bending over backwards to appease SL.

    If GoI had preferred to keep the fire burning in SL, both the warring parties could have been check mated by India, hence keeping outside powers out where they belong.
    Yeah but now we have a better option. We can depend on the dependable US to keep our Interests in the region secure instead of doing that ourselves.That's just brilliant.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
    KS likes this.
  13. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Well Sri Lanka is a new swing state of South Asia whose skeleton is in USA's /UNO closet for the time being. They will bend backward to please every player interested and rightly so.

    India's own capabilities for very own security concerns are just mediocre, how one wouldn't access the same when considering India in their own security calculus as a support or salvation but then opting other better option available. I fear the Vietnam's plea would go unheard because of benign Indian foreign policy and flaccid posturing.
     
  14. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    Yeah..they give a flying fuck to it.


    India can do jack my friend. We dont have any leverage to exercise on them.

    We have lost the only leverage we had.
     
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  15. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    GoI and MEA think goodwill gestures would be a better leverage.:doh:
     
  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    How would the strategic situation in the Indian Ocean change if the US should have a naval base in Sri Lanka?

    What would it mean to India?
     
  17. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Nothing. It would only mean that India and US will have frequent joint military exercises due to proximity of US military bases. Of course that is until until India sees the US as an enemy...
     
  18. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    i am not so sure about that mate. here are two gentlemen who tend not to agree, one happens to be a retd. U.S. Marine Corps officer, other happens to be a serving Armor officer in the Sri Lanka Army, both put across the point that no way are the americans stepping in till the time US gets a nod in yes from india.

    would they be exaggerating? if so, why?

    about the authors:

    my assumption is based on what the two authors have to say.
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The last time the US showed interest in having a base at Trinco, the LTTE took off!

    Therefore, to feel that India cannot influence the situation may not be a truism.
     
  20. debasree

    debasree Regular Member

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    base china and us side bu side so they can look each other all the time he he he .he
     
  21. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    When i saw the title of the thread. I thougth both ways, one oh oh bad news, then i thought may be not as well.

    Bad news because we will have the US breathing down our throats. Now we may be friends these days but then such closeness is also not preferred.

    the other thing is that China has all but pocketed SL and if the US comes into the picture then it means China goes or there is competition there.
    a) it will mess up SL (good news india),
    b) US is likely to win against China (good news for India as china is gone).

    The outlook of China winning the battle is not there as India will not let that happen.

    But i dont know why the US would love to have a base in SL when they have one in Diego Garcia about a 1000 miles off SL?
     

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