President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Taking a new direction in Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy


Former Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was declared victorious in Sri Lanka after a closely fought election, as his main opponent Sajith Premadasa of the ruling United National Party (UNP) conceded defeat. Rajapaksa’s victory, gaining 6,924,255 votes with 52.25% of total votes cast appears to bring new hope to the South Asian nation.At the outset, Sri Lanka was a founder member of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM). As part of this approach, the new Sri Lankan government had outlined in the manifesto how the presidency would implement the Foreign Policy over the next five years.

The manifesto mentions a key phrase “Friendly and Non-aligned Foreign Policy .We will not fall on our knees before any country in maintaining foreign and trade relations. We will always be mindful of our national sovereignty and maintain friendly relations with other countries from a standpoint of equality. Our government will restore Sri Lanka’s national pride and dignity”. (Gotabaya Rajapaksa manifesto, 2019. After assuming Presidency the new President appointed two-time former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is credited for ending Sri Lanka’s nearly 30-year civil war with the Tamil Tigers separatist group in 2009 as his Prime minister .He also appointed Dinesh Gunawardena as the Minister of Foreign Relations after his Presidential election in 2019.With the victory of Gotabaya Rajapaksa there is great confidence among Sri Lankans that the new leader will transform economic, welfare and foreign policies of the new government into effective action, while also addressing policy gaps to bring new hope to the South Asian nation.

Srimal Fernando
Srimal Fernando
Research scholar at Jindal School of International Affairs, India and an editor of Diplomatic Society for South Africa