Two defence cooperation agreements between the United States and Sri Lanka, the acquisition and cross-service agreement already signed (ACSA) and the under-negotiated Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), are causing concern, criticism and controversy on the Indian Ocean island. The agreement is valid for 10 years and all transactions must be agreed before the transfer. However, as Samaranayake points out, proposed defence pacts with the United States tend to be controversial in the first place. That is what happened, for example, with India, when the United States followed logistics and communication pacts. “New Delhi has finally concluded these agreements,” she notes. Mr. Rajapaksa, who signed CASA on behalf of the Sri Lankan government in 2007, was confident that Sri Lanka had benefited from the agreement and not from the United States. Given that this agreement primarily benefits U.S. forces, we believe there is a strong case for further signing the agreement. (End of quote) Such a “routine and very modest” agreement was reached with 89 other countries, said Steven Mann, assistant secretary for Central and South Asia at the U.S. State Department, during his recent visit to Colombo. The United States has ACSA agreements with 89 other countries around the world. Before such agreements are signed, the agreement should be submitted to Parliament and the Attorney General`s approval should be obtained, he said.
“There are strong arguments for continuing to sign the agreement” that there is no Sri Lankan resistance, although Sri Lanka says that “this agreement benefits the US forces first and foremost.” Gotabaya Rajapaksa has positioned himself as a serious player in Sri Lanka`s political leadership in the november 16 presidential elections, it faces the enlarged CASA of 83″ signed in 2017 – the precursor to the 2007 agreement he signed at his first press conference on October 14 as a military pact for Sri Lanka – to facilitate Washington`s militarization in the Indo-Pacific region. As a key player in the upcoming Rajapaksa administration, he is expected to conclude the Status of Foreign Forces (SOFA) agreement, which many consider incompatible with Sri Lanka`s sovereignty. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Parliament that SOFA was still under discussion and that his government would not sign an agreement that would undermine Sri Lanka`s sovereignty. With acSA talking about mutual cooperation in peace operations, the JVP Politburo asked on Tuesday whether the agreement would facilitate the establishment of a U.S. peacekeeping force on the war-torn island. The government initially said the details of the agreement would be disclosed to the public, but has so far kept it a secret. The Secretary of Defense in Gotabaya Rajapaksa and U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake, the two signatories to the 2007 ACSA military agreement between Sri Lanka and the United States Since the one-hour 14-minute video of the press conference made available to the Asian Tribune, the question posed to the presidential candidate, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was the following “You mentioned that your foreign policy will be neutral and free. What will be your position on the ACSA agreement signed with the United States and the planned registration of SOFA. I have not seen how these agreements can remain in a non-aligned position,” Rajapaksa replied: “In fact, the agreement we signed was different. It was for ten years.
Nothing happened. The 2007 ACSA benefit was not for them. I am always in favour of a sovereign and independent nation, and I will not do anything about it. Logistics support authorized under this agreement cannot be transferred beyond the receiving party`s forces without the consent of the non-receiver.