WeChat QR Code

Home>News Center

NISCSS Held Workshop on Belt and Road Initiative and Indo-Pacific Strategy in Colombo

2020-01-16 15:04:32       source:NISCSS

On 13 January 2020, NISCSS held a workshop on “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS): Opportunities and Challenges” in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Pathfinder Foundation of Sri Lanka. The workshop brought together more than 30 participants from renowned think tanks, research institutes, and relevant government departments including the NISCSS, Sichuan University, Jinan University, Shenzhen University, Sichuan University of Science & Engineering, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Institute for China-America Studies, McLarty Associates, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Indian Vivekananda International Foundation, India Foundation, University of Western Australia, Centre for Strategic and International Studies of Indonesia, Dawei SEZ Management Committee of Myanmar, ThayNinGa Institute for Strategic Studies of Myanmar, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, East West University of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Institute of Maritime Research and Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Pathfinder Foundation, and Tribhuvan University of Nepal. In-depth discussions were held focusing on topics such as the implementation and challenges of the BRI, the IPS and its implications, and maritime disputes and cooperation in the Indian Ocean.



Ravinatha Aryasinha, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman of Pathfinder Foundation and former Sri Lankan Ambassador to China, and NISCSS President Wu Shicun delivered remarks respectively at the opening session.


Ravinatha Aryasinha, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka


In his remarks, Secretary Aryasinha pointed out that Sri Lanka is an important trade and transport hub in the Indian Ocean. And it faces traditional security threats from major power competition as well as non-traditional security threats such as illegal immigration, smuggling, piracy and climate change. Therefore, Sri Lanka hopes to work with countries bordering the Indian Ocean to resolve these issues. The "Indo-Pacific Strategy" proposed by the United States targets the "Belt and Road Initiative" of China. The latter aims to consolidate economic development, and to promote infrastructure construction and trade cooperation, bringing opportunities and challenges to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka should make good use of these competitive strategies. Meanwhile, it should not be swayed by great power competition. Chairman Goonetilleke reviewed China-Sri Lanka economic cooperation under the BRI, and spoke highly the constructive role of the BRI in the region, especially its specific objectives of pursuing development and growth through connectivity. He also discussed the opportunities and challenges in the BRI and IPS, noting the necessity to come up with ways to avoid confrontation that serves nobody, and focus on working cooperatively, aiming at people-centered economic development, while preventing environmental degradation.


Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman of Pathfinder Foundation and former Sri Lankan Ambassador to China


Dr. Wu Shicun emphasized in his opening speech that China-Sri Lanka cooperation on the BRI has yielded fruitful achievements with great potentials. In the future, the two sides should make effective planning for infrastructure projects in various fields such as transport, water conservancy and hydropower. The two sides should also explore a standardized and operational project screening process, improve transparency, and seek ways to establish a cooperation council, so as to facilitate the development of BRI jointly. Meanwhile, as Hainan is building itself to be a pilot free trade zone and a free trade port, Sri Lanka and Hainan can promote practical cooperation in fields of mutual benefits, such as port construction, tourism development, as well as educational and cultural exchanges.


NISCSS President Wu Shicun


Dr. Wu also pointed out that the IPS of the US aims to establish an exclusive regional group, which will intensify strategic competition between the US and China. It poses challenges to China's implementation of the BRI, management of the South China Sea situation and protection of China’s maritime rights and interests. As a rising maritime power and a major participant in global maritime governance, China stands ready to work together with all maritime countries, including Sri Lanka, to build an Indian Ocean of win-win cooperation, prosperity and stability. To this end, he proposes an institutionalized exchange platform for the Indo-Pacific ocean governance, while regular dialogues on ocean affairs between NISCSS and think tanks from Indian Ocean coastal states should be further enhanced.



The Pathfinder Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy think tank which has played a direct and catalytic role in promoting economic policy reforms in Sri Lanka. Registered in 2008, the Institution focuses on promoting market oriented economic reforms and public private partnerships together with building foreign partnerships to promote people-to-people relations. It has an extensive network of think tanks and academic institutions in China, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Norway, Singapore, the Russian Federation and the US.