Things look down in Sri Lanka

For some months now there has been good news (ie no bad news) from Sri Lanka. Tourism, trade and investment were beginning to look up after a pause in the violence. It also looked like the post 9/11 world had convinced the LTTE that terrorism’s time has passed.

So it is indeed disappointing to see tensions rise after President Kumaratunga’s clampdown. At the very minimum it could lead to a crisis in governance, but most likely cause a set back to the peace process there.

India should work in the background to ensure that partisan and personality politics does not end up destabilising the neighbour. It calls for a discreet behind the scenes action – by impressing upon Kumaratunga the need to let the peace process take its course. This does not mean that India should favour the Tigers (who are terrorists) but rather support the momentum that has led to Sri Lanka calming down since 2002.

I believe a healthy Sri Lanka competing healthily with South India economically will lead to a vibrant zone in the south of the subcontinent.