Sri Lanka–United States relations

Sri Lanka – United States relations are bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the United States.

Sri Lanka – United States relations
Map indicating locations of Sri Lanka and USA

Sri Lanka

United States

In a 2005 BBC World Service Poll, 30% of Sri Lankans view American influence positively, with 20% expressing a negative view.[1] According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 14% of Sri Lankans approve of U.S. leadership, with 37% disapproving and 49% uncertain.[2]


President Jayewardene of Sri Lanka presents a baby elephant to President Reagan and the American people in 1984. President Jayawardane was known for his Pro-US policies.

In 2004 Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe was invited to the White House by President George W. Bush, this was the 1st time a Sri Lankan prime minister was officially invited to the White House.[3]

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signs the Condolence Book for Lakshman Kadirgamar who was assassinated by the LTTE.

U.S. assistance has totaled more than $2 billion since Sri Lanka's independence in 1948.[4] Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), it has contributed to Sri Lanka's economic growth with projects designed to reduce unemployment, improve housing, develop the Colombo Stock Exchange, modernize the judicial system, and improve competitiveness.[5] At the June 2003 Tokyo Donors' Conference on Sri Lanka, the United States pledged $54 million, including $40.4 million of USAID funding. Following the 2004 tsunami, the United States provided $135 million in relief and reconstruction assistance.[6] In addition, the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) operates a radio-transmitting station in Sri Lanka.[4]

Ratnasiri Wickremanayake with President of the United States Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

Under President Mahinda Rajapaksa, relations with the US were strained, but the ties improved after President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came to power in 2015. In May 2015, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Sri Lanka for an official tour. US Counsellor of the State Department Thomas Shannon visited Sri Lanka in December 2015 where the first US-Sri Lanka partnership dialogue to improve Governance, Development Cooperation and People-to-People ties; Economic Cooperation; Security Cooperation and International and Regional Affairs was announced. US offered assistance to help Sri Lanka become an economic and strategic hub in the Indian Ocean region.[7]

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials include:

The U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka is located in Colombo, as are U.S. Agency for International Development offices and Public Affairs offices. IBB offices are located near Chilaw, 75 km north of Colombo.

The U.S. State Department banned Sri Lanka's Army Chief Shavendra Silva from entering the United States for alleged human rights violations during the final phase of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The Sri Lankan government opposed the sanctions saying "“The Government of Sri Lanka takes strong objection to the imposition of travel restrictions on Lt. Gen. Silva and his immediate family members by the Government of the United States, based on independently unverified information,”.[9]

Defence relationsEdit

USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) and Sri Lankan Navy SLNS Sayura and SLNS Samudura ships operate together

The U.S. Armed Forces maintain a limited military-to-military relationship with the Sri Lanka defense establishment.[4] United States and Sri Lanka started to enhance defence relations beyond the sale of military equipment, and training facilities were extended when Sri Lanka was in an internal battle with a secessionist movement Tamil Tigers. During Ranil Wickremesinghe's time as Prime Minister in 2002, agreements were signed with the US which allowed Sri Lanka to get assistance in terms of military training, military technology, intelligence, special training in counter-terrorism, and direct monetary assistance for military development.[10] During the ceasefire period, United States Pacific Command assessment team conducted a study from 12 September 2002 to 24 October 2002, which made several recommendations to strengthen the capabilities of the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force in case of the peace process failing. After studying the weakness of the military, the study recommended the use of cluster bombs (which weren't banned until 2010 when Cluster Munitions Convention came into effect) to destroy unarmoured area targets and arming Kfir's and Mi-24 gunships with guided weapons in case of fighting close to enemy forces.[11][12] The US also donated the SLNS Samudura during this time.[10]

It was reported that the US Navy Pacific Command provided intelligence to the Sri Lankan government during the civil war to hunt down LTTE crews and four ships. This was later confirmed by the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa whose government was hostile to the United States.[13][14][15][16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1]BBC World Service Archived 18 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ U.S. Global Leadership Project Report - 2012 Gallup
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c "U.S. Relations With Sri Lanka". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Humanitarian Assistance". USAID. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  6. ^ Gamage, Daya. "US Tsunami aid to Sri Lanka for 2005 tops $135 million". Asian Tribune. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  7. ^ [2] Reuters
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ {[cite web|url = = reuters|title = US Blacklists Sri Lankan Army Commander Cites Killings and abuses|author = Psaledakis, Daphne|date = 14 February 2020|access-date = 14 February 2020}}
  10. ^ a b "Silence Breaks : Part Three - Ranil's Presidential Dream Crumbled Down - Natarajah Kuruparan". Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Use of cluster ammo not banned during war".
  12. ^ "US asked SL to use cluster bombs against Tigers".
  13. ^ "U.S. wants 'enhanced' military relations with Sri Lanka | Asian Tribune". Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  14. ^ "India, US gave navy intelligence to fight the LTTE | Colombo Gazette". 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  15. ^ "US helped destroy some LTTE 'floating arsenals'-President".
  16. ^ "US Navy's Pacific Command behind destruction of LTTE".

  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website

External linksEdit