Since independenc e, Sri Lanka has maintained a balanced foreign policy. So much so that in 1976 the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government had the privilege of hosting the Non-Aligned-Movement summit attended by leaders of more than 75 countries. The best years were when Lakshman Kadirgamar was Foreign Minister in the Chandrika Kumaratunge government. With diplomacy of the highest professional standards, Mr. Kadirgamar and top career diplomats used facts and figures rather than rhetoric to internationally isolate the LTTE.
After 2005, the ceasefire and the talks with the LTTE ended in shambles and the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration launched a full-scale war to militarily defeat the LTTE in 2009, though the manner in which the victory was achieved is being probed by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
As serious as the allegations of war crimes is the diplomatic crisis that Sri Lanka has plunged into. In the latest development, a week-end newspaper in its lead story reported an Indo-Chinese battle over the allocation of 287 perches of prime land in Colombo to the Chinese aircraft manufacturing company CATIC. According to this report, the Indian government has strongly protested to Sri Lanka on the basis that an understanding was reached to give this land to India but for some reason the land has now been given to a Chinese military company.
International analysts say the United States and China are involved in a political battle for strategic control of the Indian Ocean region with India apparently having a strategic partnership with the US.
An American foreign policy expert warned in Colombo recently that Sri Lanka would have to take a decision on its policy in the strategic battle among the international and regional super-powers for control of the Indian Ocean region. Local and international foreign policy analysts believe the Rajapaksa Government has allowed itself to become more and more dependent on China and this is causing serious concern to India and the United Sates.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an interview with the Times of India over the week-end denied any strategic alliance with China and pledged Sri Lanka would maintain its non-aligned policy. He also criticised India, saying that as a regional superpower, it must be more mindful of the grievances and aspirations of small neighbours.
The core of the crisis, however, appears to be the lack of a clear-cut foreign policy. Though G.L. Peiris is the External Affairs Minister, it is well-known that the relationship with India is being handled by President Rajapaksa, Super Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. India is known to be deeply concerned that despite repeated assurances the Rajapaksa regime is not moving urgently and effectively to give a just and fair political solution to the grievances of the Tamil-speaking people. With the China factor also reaching crisis proportions, there are dangerous signs that what happened in 1986 might happen again.
Mr. B Wijeyasingha Friday, 17 August 2012 06:40 PM
Sri Lanka has to continue to play the role of non alliance while looking out for her national security. During the war India supported the Tamil Tigers and refused for the most part to support the Sri Lankan government. After the war ended India was the only nation in the region to support the US human rights motion against Sri Lanka. Now in India TESO has been resurrected and the Indian Tamil political parties are putting pressure on New Delhi to further penalize Sri Lanka. China does not share any of these acts and as a Security Council member has the veto power India lacks. Sri Lanka cannot fight the new attempts for Eelam by herself. She needs an alliance with China to counter India's Tamil population in their bid for the creation of Eelam.
Manik Saturday, 18 August 2012 06:08 AM
Foreign policy formulation has to be done by professional diplomats and not by friends and relations of rulers.
Eddy Saturday, 18 August 2012 09:41 AM
The President with senior, experianced Diplomats should handle India, not Gota & Basil, on the the other hand I see nothing wrong in Sri Lanka choosing China over USA & India, as these Countries were not very helpful or sincere in our war with LTTE, it was China,Russia & Pakistan who were our real friends in the hour of need. Whom to give the land in our Country is our business, why is these Indians think that they can act like our rulers? It's high time we show them the door!
Nalaka Saturday, 18 August 2012 04:54 PM
No government has any authority to sell our land to any country. All the land should be represented by Sri Lankan citizens. Please don't make Sri Lanka a battle ground for super powers.
Samantha Saturday, 18 August 2012 07:18 PM
Unqualified relatives of Ministers in responsible places have already messed up education, health, power, agriculture, finance... you-name-it. But these damages will be nothing compared to what will happen through Foreign Ministry.
loki Saturday, 18 August 2012 09:03 PM
guys .. as human ..all like to work for what you get paid .. westerners think they are super and worlld shoudl be labour for them .. and they will understand soon that they were in a dream..
P.L.J.B.Palipana Saturday, 18 August 2012 11:44 PM
THANKS! THE EDITORIAL.
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