Post-war Sri Lanka can’t do without strong bilateral ties with India
Western countries are considering blocking an US$1.9 billion IMF load to Sri Lanka, not least due to pressure from human rights groups and Tamil diaspora groups. The Sri Lankan government, whose public finances and balance of payments are under pressure both due to the war expenditure and the global economic crisis cannot hope to entirely rely on China, Pakistan, Iran and Libya—countries that have provided military and economic assistance in the last few years. Colombo knows that it needs a good bilateral relationship with India not only to drag its economy out away from the approaching rough weather, but for long-term prosperity.
Many analysts lament that New Delhi has lost its leverage over Colombo. Here’s the way to regain it: the new Indian government must calibrate its bilateral relationship with the manner to the extent it listens to India. That includes encouraging President Rajapakse to rapidly move towards reconciliation, face down triumphal Sinhala chauvinism and deliver on his manifesto promise of equal rights for all Sri Lankans.