Neighbouring Country Opposes Sri Lanka’s BRICS Membership Bid

The situation bears resemblance to the past, where the neighbouring nation's leadership vehemently opposed Sri Lanka's inclusion in ASEAN.

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The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) bloc met for its annual leader’s summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 22–24, 2023. [File Photo]

by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor

In a move that could potentially disrupt Sri Lanka’s diplomatic aspirations, a powerful neighbouring country, reportedly a founding member of BRICS, has voiced objections to Sri Lanka’s bid for membership in the influential economic bloc. Sources within the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs have disclosed that efforts to join BRICS have faced significant opposition from this neighbouring nation.

A reliable diplomatic source based in Colombo confirmed that the neighbouring country has been actively lobbying to thwart Sri Lanka’s entry into BRICS, drawing parallels with past attempts to block Sri Lanka’s accession to other regional alliances. The source recalled a similar scenario when a former Prime Minister of the neighbouring nation opposed Sri Lanka’s bid to join ASEAN, citing geographical and ethnic disparities.

“The situation bears resemblance to the past, where the neighbouring nation’s leadership vehemently opposed Sri Lanka’s inclusion in ASEAN. Despite a change in political leadership, the opposition remains steadfast, employing various justifications to prevent Sri Lanka’s integration into BRICS,” the diplomatic source stated.

Sri Lanka’s desire to become part of BRICS+ – an expanded partnership beyond the original BRICS members – was reiterated by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Russia, Janitha Abeywickrema Liyanage, during the XII International Meeting of High Representatives in Charge of Security Issues in St. Petersburg, Russia. Ambassador Liyanage highlighted potential benefits in terms of transport and food security that BRICS+ membership could bring to Sri Lanka.

The BRICS consortium, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, has expanded its membership in recent years, welcoming Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt, and the UAE earlier this year. Sri Lanka’s bid for membership reflects its ambition to align with emerging global powers and leverage new avenues for economic growth and development.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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