This article traces the British relationship with Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the decade and a half after independence. The first part of this article shows how, within the context of the arrangements made at independence, the events of the years 1956-9 under the premiership of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike marked an important turning point in Britain's political and strategic relationship with the island. Then in the second part, British diplomatic records relating to Ceylonese politics are used to analyse the British response to Ceylon's ethno-political crisis during the early 1960s. Britain's reluctance to respond to this crisis was an outcome of the changed relations with Ceylon brought on during the Bandaranaike era.
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