The General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, hosted an event to launch a publication entitled “A Shared Vision for the Indo-Pacific: Implications for South Asia” and discuss the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy on its one-year anniversary, including how the Strategy supports regional visions for prosperity, democracy, and security. The publication includes articles and remarks offering a variety of perspectives on the Strategy from regional analysts and U.S. experts.
Vice Chancellor of General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University Major General Milinda Peiris welcomed participants to the event, noting that “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations. It is a great pleasure that the U.S. embassy and the KDU could launch this valuable publication on such a memorable juncture.”
Ambassador Julie J. Chung also highlighted in her opening remarks that 2023 is the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U.S, and Sri Lanka, and noted that “the relationship between our two countries is broad and deep, and at its’ very heart is our shared commitment to People, Progress, and Partnership.” The Ambassador said that the core elements of the Indo-Pacific Strategy encompass a “shared vision for an Indo-Pacific that is Free and Open, Prosperous, Connected, Resilient, and Secure.” The Ambassador emphasized that “we can all agree that working together to build a prosperous Indo-Pacific is more critical now than ever when we consider the economic challenges Sri Lanka is currently facing. So let me be clear: the United States is Sri Lanka’s partner and stands with Sri Lanka as it navigates through this difficult time.”
In his keynote address, Peter A. Gumataotao, Rear Admiral (Rtd) U.S. Navy, Director of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, said that “What is at stake is our ability to respond to activities that undermine the values and principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific. Competition is good, but when rules are changed, the process should be transparent and agreed on. [The U.S. and our Allies and Partners] should all work collectively as a group of like-minded countries to ensure the preservation of the existing framework that has provided all of us these many decades of peace, prosperity, and opportunities for development.”
Held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, the conference was attended by over 100 in-person and virtual participants.