There is no zero-sum game between India and China and Sri Lanka will not be reduced to a stage for the two rising Asian powers, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in India Prasad Kariyawasam said.
"We are not in the habit of looking at our relations with India and China as a zero-sum game," he told in an interview with IANS.
"We will not allow our land or sea to be used for any inimical purpose by one country against the other," the envoy said.
The High Commissioner was responding to a question on the recent visit of Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie to Sri Lanka.
The envoy rejected concerns raised by sections of the strategic community in India about Colombo's growing military and economic ties with Beijing, especially after the end of the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
"Why should there be rivalry? We want to use the best commercial opportunities that emanate from the growing economies of both India and China," the envoy said.
The High Commissioner underlined that Sri Lanka was just trying to leverage new opportunities thrown up by the rise of India and China and wanted to retain its historic role as a hub of trade in the Indian Ocean region.
"Sri Lanka wants to be a hub of trade in the Indian Ocean, like we always have been in history. The first country to benefit from this approach will be India," he said.
"India and China are today the most powerful and leading countries in Asia. They have managed their relationship without much difficulty.
"Our expectation is that these powers will have the capacity to manage their relations in such a way that the Indian Ocean will remain a zone of peace, a region of peace. That's how Sri Lanka views the Indian Ocean and our relations with our close friend and neighbour India and our friend China."
Underscoring the special relationship between India and Sri Lanka that is rooted in history and culture, the envoy said that the fates of the two neighbours were linked.
"If India is in trouble, we will be in trouble. If Sri Lanka is in trouble, India will be in trouble," he said.