Getting Colombo to listen

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.

3 thoughts on “Getting Colombo to listen”

  1. Hi,
    The Indian policy on SriLanka is driven by a small coterie of Tamil Brahmins who a re in power in both UPA and BJP like Mr.MKNarayanan,N ram of the Hindu, Subramania swamy of Janatha party.The sri Lankan government has ensured the Colombo port is saved by these gentelemen who raise the bogey of ramsethu and to LTTE which is equated with Tamil’s genuine rights.

  2. Well, doing all those things is also in colombo’s interest. They might have defeated LTTE for now, but it would be silly for them to believe that its permanently finished. Given the support they have from outside lanka, its wont be too hard for LTTE or some mutant of it, to restart a terror campaign in SL. And an LTTE without territory to defend could well be even more dangerous and brazen then one with territory. I am not sure why there is a perception that the Tamil-Sinhala war is over with the end of LTTE. Personally, i feel its likely to get worse in the medium term once they regroup, unless india (with indian Tamil leaders) consciouisly engage in hashing out a political settlement. India’s best of point of leverage would prob be in making lanka realize the danger of an invisible, stike-at-will LTTE, and necessity of indian (mainly Tamil) involvement in creating a new political deal for SL tamils.

  3. It is silly to assume that Srilanka would be on India’s side if India supports them financially. There was no LTTE in 1971, still Srilanka supported Pakistan during the Indo-Pak war. Similarly whatever you do they will be always against India.

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