This is the concluding pat of our series. If you have mastered the blogs posted here, you should be able to answer any question in both the IR paper as well as in General studies: Current Affairs International.
We shall next take up in the next series India’s relations with Pakistan, West Asia and Central Asia.
The Chinese have made rapid strides and are consolidating in the south, too, in Sri Lanka. But it is another aspect here that shows the hollowness of India’s influence. Says a source: “Our 1987 accord with Sri Lanka is in a shambles.The country’s north and east have been divided, whereas they ought to have been united. The war ended three years ago, but where have the Tamils reached?”
Tamils in Sri Lanka live in abysmal conditions, in bombed out places. Livelihood issues remain significantly unaddressed, the area formerly occupied by the LTTE in deep downturn, housing projects moving at less than a snail’s pace. The only rapid construction activity in these areas is the sound of the Chinese busy building army cantonments. While Chinese projects, from Hambantota Port to Colombo South Harbour Project race ahead, Indian projects languish. Is there a pattern? Or is it just India’s inability to push the agenda significantly? Commentators note that even the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which was supposed to be the cornerstone of India’s economic policy with Sri Lanka, has been successfully stymied, even as New Delhi watched helplessly.
A very high level source once summed up Sri Lanka policy to this reporter. He said, “New Delhi is sensitive to the fact that minus the LTTE the Sinhalas will walk all over the place. Complete victory of one side is not in our interests.” As New Delhi keeps bailing out Sri Lanka in various fora, large Sri Lankan footprints are visible all over India’s Lanka policy for all to see. The footprints are very clearly visible from Chennai, although Delhi is another matter altogether.