Freedom First
Freedom First

Home » Archive

Issue No.: 573 | March 2015
 

Political Transition in Sri Lanka and Its Impact on Asia Balance Of Power

B. N. Mehrish
back
The newly elected Sri Lanka President Sirisena is known for his anti-China stance.

There is regime change in Sri Lanka. The January 8, 2015 presidential election in Sri Lanka – one of the most crucial election in its history – in which Rajapaksa’s attempt to continue in power for third term was challenged by the opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena. When Rajapaksa amended the constitution, aiming for a third term, it was a turning point in how Sri Lankans saw him. Interestingly during his 10-year rule Rajapaksa has remained "the darling” of Sri Lankans and enjoyed widespread support. He succeeded in brutally ending the ethnic war by killing Prabhakaran, the leader of Tamil Tigers.

The newly elected Sri Lanka President Sirisena is known for his anti-China stance. David Brewster, a visiting fellow at the Strategic and Defense Studies Center at the Australian National University observed that Mahinda Rajapaksa paid the price for being friendly with China. Sri Lanka’s alliance with China during Rajapaksa’s autocratic rule prompted fears in India. Rajapaksa allowed Sri Lankan territory to be used for Chinese military activity in the Indian Ocean. In September 2014, President of China, Xi Jinping announced Chinese investments estimated at $ 4 billion in loans for construction of malls, hotels and marinas. The building projects were largely carried out by Chinese workers. Chinese analysts have denied that China wants Sri Lanka to be a colony. (New York Times)

Tough Job Ahead

Maithripala Sirisena has to face tough issues according to macroeconomic indicators. Overdependence on private and international capital markets, crony capitalism and borrowing to fund public investment by the previous regime have caused huge external debt, according to development economist Dr. Muttukrishna Saravanathan.

China has offered love, loans aplenty to South East Asian countries and expressed the desire to become a partner with ASEAN countries at an East Asian summit in Myanmar. China has offered ASEAN countries $20 billion in preferential and special loans to develop infrastructures. China reiterated its resolve to safe guard its sovereignty and its position that maritime disputes should be settled bilaterally rather than collectively or through arbitration. ASEAN leaders hope to persuade their giant neighbour to take a less bellicose approach to the overlapping claims. ASEAN as a group has been reluctant to antagonize China.
Challenges for India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken several foreign policy initiatives to counter China’s competition and rivalry with India’s Asian neighbours. Under the leadership of Modi, India has reciprocated high level dialogue with Vietnam, not withstanding China’s reservations are crucial for Asia’s balance of power.

Prime Minister Modi signalled his effortless transition by pulling off a diplomatic coup by inviting leaders of SAARC at his oath ceremony. The western perception of Modi changed rapidly. World leaders have lauded Modi’s charismatic leadership. Among the many challenges that Modi’s government will face in the near future one will definitely be foreign policy. West Asia is in turmoil and the world economy is still in the doldrums. India’s neighbourhood holds the key to its emergence as a regional and global power. To improve relations with India’s neighbours will be the biggest challenge to Modi’s foreign policy agenda. Modi’s diplomacy has been aptly described as "destiny diplomacy.” 

India and Sri Lanka must script a fresh understanding on bilateral ties and Tamil issue. With the ouster of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the island nation has got a crucial opportunity to heal the wounds of the past. It is significant that Sirisena’s victory was made possible through the support of Tamil and Muslims in addition to a sizeable chunk of the Sinhalese vote. This gives him vital elbow room on the Tamil issue. Creating greater space for Tamils in Sri Lanka’s polity will be Sirsena’s biggest challenge. As far as India is concerned, Prime Minister Modi should promote economic and strategic relations with Sri Lanka to serve as an important pillar of development in the Indian Ocean.

B. N. MEHRISH
Former Professor of Politics
University of Mumbai
 
back

Share

 
 
 

Archive

 
 

Other Articles in this Issue

Between Ourselves...

Between Ourselves

 

The Magna Carta

800th Anniversary of the Signing of the Magna Carta

R. Srinivasan
 

A Tribute to Jamsetji Tata on his 175 Birth Anniversary

Jamshetji Tata Commemorative Coins – A Gesture of the Country’s Gratitude

Dattatraya R. Pendse
 

Honouring Jamsetji Tata on his 175th Birth Anniversary

 

Thank God for the TATA’s – A Tribute

Lakshmi Mittal
 

Narendra Modi and Governance

Thoughts on Recent Political Developments

B. Satyanarayana
 

BJP and Narendra Modi

S. Arunajatesan
 

Obama Visit: An Era of Modi Doctrine

Nitin G. Raut
 

The Delhi Elections

What We Are Worried About

Dharmendra Nagda
 

Muffler Man Muffles Modi's Roar

Dharmendra Nagda
 

The AAP Victory

N R Bala
 

The Spectacular Victory of AAP

Vappala Balachandran
 

Political Paralysis of BJP and Congress

B. N. Mehrish
 

The Anti-Renaissance of Kiran Bedi

Firoze Hirjikaka
 

Delhi Election Result

Phiroze Jhaveri
 

Campaign Financing

 

Point Counter Point : Every issue has at least two side

The Obama Visit

Ashok Karnik
 

The Delhi Jolt

Ashok Karnik
 

Freedom versus Licence

Ashok Karnik
 

The Rural Perspective (1)

Union Budget 2015-16 : Taking Care of Farmers’ Interests

Yalamanchili Sivaji
 

The Rural Perspective (2)

Union Budget 2015-16 Exploitation of Agriculture

Sharad Joshi
 

Foreign Relations in the 21st Century

Global Power Structure in Transition: A New Bipolar World Underway? Part Two

B. Ramesh Babu
 

Will Merkel and Hollande Succeed in De-escalating Conflict in Ukraine?

R. G. Gidadhubli
 

People to People Contact – Cant’ Resolve the Indo-Pakistan Conflict

Suresh C. Sharma
 

Political Transition in Sri Lanka and Its Impact on Asia Balance Of Power

B. N. Mehrish
 

On the Eve of the Union Budget 2015-16

Distortion, Damned Distortion and National Accounts Statistics

Sunil S. Bhandare
 

Educating Adults

‘Nehruvian Ideology and the Indian Celluloid’ Report on a Film Festival in a Mumbai College

Mithilaa Naik-Satam
 

IndianLiberals.in - A Repository for All Indian Liberal Works

 

Sone Ki Chidiya

Supratim Basu
 

Sone Ki Chidiya’s Total Reform Agenda : An Executive Summary

 

Book Review

THE INDIAN FEDERALIST – THE ORIGINAL WILL OF INDIA’S FOUNDING FATHERS

Sanjiv Agarwal
 

Not Just An Accountant : A comment by V.Krishna Moorthy

 

From Our Readers

Freedom First and Always

R C Saxena
 

In defence of Jawaharlal Nehru’s Foreign Policy

B. P. Rastogi
 

Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar Reservoirs

T. H. Chowdary
 

One Airport – Two Names

T. H. Chowdary
 

Miscellany

Traffic Offenders are not Felons

 

How to Stop Worrying

Minoo Masani
 

A Definition of “Political Correctness”

 

India’s Greatest Ironies

 

Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

Thomas L. Friedman
 

Greenpeace Vandalism in Peru

 
 
The journal of the Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom
© Copyright Freedom First. All rights reserved.
Freedom First
3rd Floor, Army and Navy Building,
148, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Mumbai - 400001. INDIA
Tel: +91-22-2284 3416, 6639 6366
Email: freedomfirst1952@gmail.com
Home
Freedom First Archives
Quest Archives
Contact Us
About Us
About ICCF
About Freedom First
About Quest
Publications
Swatantra Party
Introduction
Swatantra Party Documents
Sitemap