Elections in Sri Lanka

The recently concluded Sri-Lankan elections have opened new doors for transition peacefully from what was becoming a military state into the democratic norms of a civilised nation. How will it impact the interests of India and the mutual relations between the two nations? (200 Words)

Bilateral relations between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of India have been generally friendly, but were controversially affected by the Sri Lankan civil war and by the failure of Indian intervention during the war.
India and Sri Lanka are member nations of several regional and multilateral organisations e.g. SAARC, South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme, South Asian Economic Union and BIMSTEC, working to enhance cultural and commercial ties. Rajapaksa had allowed China to enlarge its strategic footprints in Sri Lanka like never before like docking of Chinese nuclear submarines and warships docking in Sri Lankan ports.
The new President wishes to implement 13th Amendment quickly. He has chosen India to be the first foreign visit destination provide more positive outlook towards India than his predecessor.
India’s National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) is also scheduled to build a 500 MW thermal power plant in Sampoor (Sampur). The NTPC claims that this plan will take the Indo-Sri Lankan relationship to new level.
Both countries agreed to re-engage on the issue of repatriation of refugees currently in India back to Sri Lanka in last week is vital.
India wants peace and tranquility to prevail in the island nation. The Tamils had been feeling suffocated, as Rajapaksa failed to honour his promise to bring them back to the national mainstream. India may not have deep pockets like China but it can make up for
it by its abiding concern for the well-being of the Sri Lankan people.
Assess how recent political developments in Sri Lanka can affect its economic cooperation with India. Do you think these developments are favourable to India? Explain why. (200 Words)
Sri Lanka is not only our closest nation separated by ocean but also share largest Indian Population of Tamil citizen, hence having cooperative relations is imminent. Recently, Maitripala Sirisena who was ex-party member of Mahinda Rajpaksha who got separated from party and formed party on secular, pro-minority and pro-India lines won election and became President of island nation.
India‘s economic cooperation with Sri Lanka will now improve definitely because of following reasons:
  1. India has NTPC coal based Thermal power plant project (2000 Crore), Underwater and overwater power transmission project (1000 MW, 3000 Crore) pending in Sri Lanka since 2005 is expected to get necessary push.
  2. Sirisena‘s view of pro-India is win-win for India as it will strengthen India‘s Look East Policy on the other hand it will lower the China‘s Expansionism threat in Indian Ocean. Sirisena said, that he will not take any step against India‘s territorial security. It is friendly gesture toward India‘s diplomacy. It will save defense expenditure and arm race in Indian Ocean.
  3. Now, India can push Sri Lanka for fair investigation on ethnic atrocities committed toward Tamilian people, which was stalled for long time. Also International (UNHRC) can pass more clear resolution and no threat for sanctions on Sri Lanka will be there. This will again win-win for India as well as Sri Lanka.
  4. India can broker now for fishermen releases and also come up with strict guideline on cooperative fishing on disputed water of Kachatheevu island. Rise in Sri Lanka trade (45% of SL trade is with India). Tourism boost.
  5. Good gesture toward India from Sri Lanka will also motivate Maldives to cooperate with India and not submit to China‘s demand of airbase construction.
Hence, New political party accession to power is beneficial for India and India must look Sirisena‘s visit to Delhi as an major opportunity to even out past differences and come up with comprehensive development plan.



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