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Strengthening Myanmar-Sri Lanka Bilateral Relations: A Primer by Nathasha Fernando February 21,2020   |  Source: The Diplomat

Sri Lanka-Myanmar relations date back to the 4th century through religious ties in the form of Buddhist monks visiting each other’s countries to explore Buddhist orthodox traditions. In the modern era, diplomatic relations have extended to trade, diplomatic visits, and cultural tourism. Myanmar is becoming increasingly important to Sri Lanka as both countries face common security issues and share membership in various regional and international organizations such as Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). Sri Lanka-Myanmar relations under new President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa can be extended to security cooperation and enhanced military ties to tackle a wide range of issues, including nontraditional security threats.

Myanmar, situated along the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean, shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand. As a result, the country is engulfed in a geopolitical dilemma owing to regional power rivalries and international instability, requiring its leaders to work toward national interests with shrewd pragmatism. Sri Lanka is no stranger to this dilemma.

Sri Lanka-Myanmar relations are underpinned through culture and tradition. Religious ties date back to the 4th century, and in the 11th

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