Renowned American Scholar Professor Ganguly talks in Colombo 2012-07-27 Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo Renowned American Scholar Professor Ganguly talks in Colombo The Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS) Lecture on ‘Strategic Importance of South Asia to the United States’ was delivered by Professor Sumit Ganguly on July 26 at Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Professor Ganguly is the Professor of Political Science and holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University in Bloomington U.S. He was visiting Sri Lanka as a US Public Diplomacy Speaker sponsored by the US Department of State. Professor Ganguly started his speech by providing a historical background to US involvement in South Asia, and proceeded further on highlighting how the strategic orientation in Washington changed at the end of Cold War with India considered as the principal actor in South Asia, and flagged the contours of current American concerns in the region. He pointed out that during the Cold War, American presence in the region was minimum. This was because South Asia was not the theatre of war or engagement during the Cold War. However, in recent decades, India’s economic policies, including its potential markets, the rise of China, the development post 9/11, have all made South Asia a much more strategically significant region to the United States. He outlined American bilateral engagement in the region, and emphasised that US-India relationship was the greatest positive engagement of United States in South Asia. With specific reference to Sri Lanka, Prof Ganguly contextualised the relationship within Sri Lankan efforts and success in defeating terrorism. He pointed out that the US has never been sympathetic to the LTTE, and the latest developments with regard to the Human Rights vote need to be seen purely in the context of human rights and nothing further. His lecture was followed by a highly interactive Q&A session. Participants at the lecture included high commissioners and representatives of embassies in Colombo, diplomats, academics, senior government and military officers, media representatives, civil society leaders and other members of strategic community in Sri Lanka. The lecture was organized by RCSS in collaboration with the US Embassy, the American Centre and Taj Samudra Hotel.