Sri Lanka and the Middle East

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3 Scopus citations


Sri Lanka is a small country with limited resources. Historically, its politics have been dominated by a Sinhalese/Buddhist majority. Non-alignment has been viewed as a matter of principle in foreign policy and as a means to provide for Sri Lanka’s political and economic security. Sri Lanka has had to balance its relations with the major powers and its immediate neighbours as well as Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbours. The last relationship has been the most difficult to navigate and, at times, has had the appearance of expediency rather than consistency. Somehow, Sri Lanka has been able to navigate its way quite effectively in foreign relations, while domestic affairs have been another matter. While there are numerous studies on India’s and Pakistan’s relations with countries in the Middle East, Sri Lanka’s ties to the region have received little or no attention by scholars. This article intends to remedy the situation with a comprehensive historical examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-130
Number of pages15
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Sri Lanka
  • ethnic relations
  • military assistance
  • non-alignment
  • political and economic security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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