Sri Lanka’s Maritime Ambitions: Stranded in High Sea
Author : Nur Ahmed, Research Officer, BIMRAD
18 May 2022

The crisis-ridden Sri Lankan economy has exposed the cost of realizing the maritime ambition of the island-nation of South Asia. The ambition was well-justified because of its geostrategic importance throughout history. The island was positioned at the heart of the ancient Silk Road, harbouring seafarers from different parts of the world like the Indian subcontinent, Europe, China and the Arabian Peninsula. The narratives regarding the rich profile of Sri Lanka as a potential maritime hub also point to the history of colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch and British empires lasting almost four centuries. The potential was later realized by some visionary leaders of Asia like Lee Kuan Yew – the father of Singapore, who expressed a desire to model the maritime development of Singapore City after the Sri Lankan model. Singapore went on to top the maritime hub index for the eighth year in 2021. In contrast, Sri Lanka has become irreversibly indebted in the process of becoming a maritime hub, and consequently, its economy is crumbling down.....