Sri Lanka deserves the special attention of the United States as the island nation continues to consolidate democratic gains and put the country on a path to reconciliation, a top ranking US official said.
The US Deputy Assistant Secretary Angela Aggeler addressing the East-West Center International Media Conference in New Delhi on Friday said the United States was among the first to welcome Sri Lanka’s Unity Government’s moves and offer its support and assistance.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Aggeler noted that both Secretary John Kerry and Ambassador Samantha Power visited Sri Lanka last year but also earlier this year to hold the inaugural US-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue.
The US official, noted that the South and Central Asia present the U.S. with great opportunities, as well as some serious challenges.
“We have also seen more cooperation on counter-terrorism, climate change, global health, peacekeeping, and more, all of which contribute to greater regional stability. Our trade relationship has grown tremendously, as has US investment,” the official said.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Aggeler said the strategic significance of South and Central Asia region will be unparalleled in this century as each of the countries in the region has a unique set of challenges, but also presents tremendous opportunities.
The US Deputy Assistant Secretary said economically, the region offers some bright indicators, even in the midst of daunting challenges.
By 2030, India will be the globe’s most populous nation, with a rising middle class of a half a billion people and a reservoir of entrepreneurial ingenuity and talent, she said.
Deputy Assistant Secretary added that India, the world’s fastest-growing large economy, is and will continue to be the engine of South Asia’s growth while Bangladesh, with two decades of six percent growth per year, is on track to become a top-thirty economy by 2030.
Sri Lanka is rebalancing its own foreign and economic policies thanks to its strategic maritime location to some of the largest markets in Asia, the official said.
The top official said the US share a commitment to stability, security, and economic growth that it can work to strengthen and support.
“Above all, we share a commitment to stability, security, and economic growth that we can work to strengthen and support. We believe there’s great promise in Indo-Pacific cooperation, and will continue to work towards that,” she said.