Opportunity to untangle Indo-Lanka issues
Daily Mirror Editorial
Jan 16, 2011

When it comes to the bilateral affairs with Sri Lanka, the role played by India is a shade of grey rather than that of black or white. She has come to our rescue when the international pressure was attempting to sweep the island nation away from the map of sovereign nations. On the other hand, India is known to have bred the Tigers; for which they paid greatly with the life of a Prime Minister. She also has a history of trespassing the Sri Lanka’s maritime and territorial boundaries, thereby disrespecting Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.

With such a past record, the two neighbours have been in each other’s backyards both literally and metaphorically; regular flights from Delhi to Colombo and vice versa make one think that whatever friendship that exists between the giant and the dwarf, is mutual and genuine. Yet, looking deep one would realise that the two countries have a number of issues to address and their inability to reach an agreement in various matters that concern both of them, make these regular flights an eternal possibility.

It is in this backdrop, India’s External Affairs Minister, Krishna arrives in the country; the visit by no means a mere goodwill mission. At the outset of the post LLRC period, when the government is pressurised by various sections of the international community to act on the Committee’s recommendations and the echoes of war crime charges are still heard, Sri Lanka is compelled to patch up things with India, if it expects the South Asian giant’s further support to defend us on the international platforms.

On the other hand, Krishna’s visit will bring to discussion the GOVT.-TNA talks that failed to come to a consensus. With the TNA’S habit to fly to Delhi for every minute matter, which makes it look as if they are answerable to the Indian authorities more than to the people who elected them, it is imperative that the government explains its stance loud and clear without leaving loose-ends for misinterpretation or coaxing. The message should be conveyed that Sri Lanka does care for the war-ravaged lives of the people in the North, and their welfare and livelihood development is its top priority. In this endeavour however, the government needs to have a solid plan if not solid evidence to prove that the way to their hearts is not through highways and concrete bridges.

While the issue of maritime border is yet to be solved Sri Lanka should stand firm on its ground in the face of any possible impediment to its territorial waters, keeping in mind that, redefining or compromising what is rightfully ours, will inevitably place us in a disadvantageous position.

With China’s growing influence on Sri Lanka, India has lost its obduracy to be the demanding neighbour as she used to be. However, on this somewhat advantageous ground, not to end up on the losing side, it is crucial that Sri Lanka exhibits its professionalism in handling matters at the diplomatic level.

Finding a common ground, is no doubt, vital for the long run of the friendship of the two countries, however, it should not be a compromise, that costs us dearly.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka