Sri Lanka’s Strategic Importance
Winston Churchill Quote
(former British Prime Minister during WW2)
“The most dangerous moment of the War, and the one which caused me the greatest alarm, was when the Japanese Fleet was heading for Ceylon (Commonwealth name for Sri Lanka) and the naval base there. The capture of Ceylon, the consequent control of the Indian Ocean, and the possibility at the same time of a German conquest of Egypt would have closed the ring and the future would have been black”.
— From a conversation at the British Embassy, Washington, D.C.
If this doesn’t show the strategic importance of Sri Lanka, then what will. Here, the great war time leader Winston Churchill blatantly emphasized that the course of history may have been altered had Ceylon (Sri Lanka) fallen under Japanese occupation. Sri Lanka was used as a front line British naval base and a control center for the Eastern Fleet.
Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee Harbour is the worlds second largest natural harbour. During the WW2, it was said that Trinco Harbour had the capacity to hold the entire Allied Fleet with plenty of room to spare.
Of course, the British weren’t the first to identify Sri Lanka’s strategic importance. For centuries, Sri Lanka and China have shared cordial trade relations from the formation of the Silk Route which traded spices and garments. The island’s location was also mapped by Ancient Greek explorers (290 B.C.) who named it “Taprobane” in recognition for King Vjiaya’s Kingdom of Tambapanni (the first Kingdom of Sri Lanka).