Attention of the intelligence communities of several countries has been drawn to the US embassy’s having purchased a six-acre plot of land next to the British high commission at Kollupitiya.
This property is to be used by the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to establish an operations centre for their respective intelligence services. If high-tech radar and communication equipment are installed there as planned, that will have a serious impact on the Asian countries, intelligence services of several countries in the region are concerned. It was ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa who had approved this, as a government-to-government deal.
Both India and China have taken serious note of the US establishing a regional observation centre in the heart of Sri Lanka’s nerve-centre where the Colombo port, Galle Face green, Colombo Fort and commercial establishments are located. If the US installs a radar system, India and China are to follow suit.
This plot of land is heavily guarded and the buildings constructed there by Britain have been demolished to prepare the land for a new construction. Intelligence services of several countries have told government politicians that such a centre would severely compromise Sri Lanka’s security in the future.
When asked if the US can make a direct purchase of the said land, defence secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said as far as he knew, there was nothing to prevent it, noting that the land where a diplomatic mission is located is owned by the respective country. He said he was unaware if the US is going to build a regional observation centre there.