Gotabaya Rajapaksa (L), Sri Lanka's presidential candidate of the main opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), speaks to the press in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Oct. 15, 2019. Gotabaya Rajapaksa vowed on Tuesday to maintain a neutral foreign policy and friendly ties with all nations, if he wins the presidential election on Nov. 16. (Photo by A.Hapuarchchi/Xinhua)
COLOMBO, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's presidential candidate of the main opposition Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Gotabaya Rajapaksa vowed on Tuesday to maintain a neutral foreign policy and friendly ties with all nations, if he wins the presidential election on Nov. 16.
In his first media interaction since filing his candidacy, Rajapaksa, who is the brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, said he would ensure that Sri Lanka does not fall prey to the power struggles by some countries in the region, and he would maintain a non-aligned policy.
"Sri Lanka has been a friendly nation and we have to be a neutral country. We have to be realistic so I propose we will maintain a friendly attitude towards all nations," he told reporters in Colombo.
Rajapaksa also promised to launch a mega development drive and attract foreign direct investments if elected, adding that his economic plan would be based on technical development.
"We all know that Asia is becoming the center of economic development. That is why I have always said we have to invest more on education targeting more on technical development. And I will do this if I win the polls next month," the former defense secretary said.
Rajapaksa will be contesting the presidential polls along with 34 other candidates which include Sajith Premadasa who is the candidate from the ruling United National Front.
Sri Lanka's presidential poll, which will be held next month, is set nearly two months before incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena's term ends.
Nearly 16 million out of Sri Lanka's total population of 21 million will be eligible to vote in the election.