Vol 14, No. 1 --
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"India-Sri Lanka Relations: New Issues, New
Subsequent to the elections of 2015, a National
Unity Government was formed in Sri Lanka, under the leadership of President
Maithripala Sirisena of the SLFP and Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe of
the UNP. The formation of the bipartisan government was a positive
development, as it brought together two main Sinhala political parties on a
single platform. This was expected to create better conditions towards the
realisation of peace, reconciliation, economic development, and a new Sri
Lankan foreign policy orientation. With the establishment of the new unity
government, Sri Lanka-India relations were also expected to improve. The
visible ‘pro-China tilt’, seen under the previous regime, was also expected
to be substantially corrected. The new Sri Lankan Government did correct
some of the ‘tilt’ and, with frequent high level visits from both sides,
the Indo-Sri Lankan cooperative relations grew. Meanwhile, growing
differences between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremasinghe led to a major politico-constitutional crisis in 2018. In
October of that year, Sirisena dismissed Wickramasinghe and, in his place,
appointed former President Rajapaksa. This had to be soon reversed due to
massive popular protests and subsequent legal interventions from the Sri
Lankan Supreme Court. These developments were certainly received with
apprehensions in India, which always strives for a stable and prosperous
neighbourhood. India-Sri Lanka relations did take some beating as a result
of this domestic upheaval. The re-appointment of Wickramasinghe as Prime
Minister did bring the relations back to some semblance of normalcy; but
the continued distrust and differences between the President and the Prime
Minister are indeed affecting India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations.
Sri Lanka is due to undergo Presidential elections
shortly. Parliamentary elections are due next year.
Ethnic reconciliation, promised soon after the
termination of the conflict in 2009, did not take-off as expected. Previous
Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who orchestrated the defeat and
decimation of the LTTE, did not seriously advance the ethnic reconciliation
process, despite pressures from the international community. When the
regime changed in 2015, the new President, Maithripala Sirisena, did
attempt a long-term political solution to the ethnic issue; but it hit many
road-blocks due to lack of essential political will amongst all the stake
holders and the necessary socio-political consensus.
The influence of China in Sri Lanka has increased
in a major way in the past decade or so. This has implications for India’s
security. The deadly terror attacks in April 2019 during the Easter
celebrations have created a new complication. The involvement of radical
groups based in West Asia as well as the probable involvement of the ISI
and militant groups like Laskar-e- Taiba, impacts on India’s security and interests in the
India has contributed immensely to Sri Lanka’s
economic development, especially after the ethnic war. The two-decade-old
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries has helped in making
India the largest trading partner of Sri Lanka. India continues to be the
largest source of tourists.
In the light of new issues that have emerged due
to the October 2018 upheaval and the impending elections - both to the
Presidency and to the Parliament - it may now be an opportune moment to
look at and explore new perspectives on the state of India-Sri Lanka
Where do these relations - important to both sides
- stand? What is the state of various bilateral linkages in the economic,
trade, cultural, ethnic, security, and other spheres? What steps need to be
taken by both sides to repair, nurture, and improve these relations? What
are the challenges? Do these require an entirely new perspective on the new
and emerging issues?
These are some of the questions that were posed to
some experts/strategic analysts. The views of nine such analysts, who
responded to our invitation, are published, as such, as the ‘Debate’
section in this edition of the Journal.
The first seven analysts look at the subject
generally. The eighth analyst looks at the issue from a Sri Lankan point of
view - and express their opinion on the way forward.
expressed by the authors are their own, and do not reflect the views of the
Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, or that of the Association of Indian
R. Hariharan: Col. R. Hariharan: Retired MI specialist. Former Head of the
Intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka (1987–1990).
Lanka Relations: New Challenges
Dr. P. Sahadevan is a Professor of South Asian
Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New
Changing Relations with Sri Lanka
Samatha Mallempati: Dr. Samatha Mallempati
is a Research Fellow at the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi.
in Sri Lanka: Possible Implications
Nitin A. Gokhale: Shri Nitin A. Gokhale is the
Editor-in-Chief, Strategic News International, New Delhi.
Sri Lanka need to do ‘Much More’
N. Manoharan: Dr. N. Manoharan, is an
Associate Professor, Department of International Studies and History,
Christ College (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru.
Dilemma: The Ethnic Question and India-Sri Lanka Relations
D. Suba Chandran: Dr. D. Suba Chandran is Professor and Dean, School of Conflict and
Security Studies, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru.
Sri Lanka: Two Countries, Four Verticals
Gulbin Sultana: Dr. Gulbin
Sultana is a Research Analyst, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses,
Lanka Relations: New Issues, Novel Perspective
Jayanath Colombage: Adm. (Prof.) Jayanath Colombage is a former Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy,
and presently, Director, Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives and Centre for
Law of the Sea, Pathfinder Foundation, Sri Lanka.
Lanka Relations: A View from Sri Lanka; Need for More Confidence Building
Vivek Mishra: Assistant Professor
at the Netaji Institute for Asian Studies,
Looming US Retreat under Trump: Implications for
B. S. Prakash: former Ambassador of India to Brazil and to
Uganda and a former Consul General of India at San Francisco, USA.
Arvind Gupta, How India Manages its National
Delhi, Penguin Viking, 2018), Pages: 440, Price: 599.00:
Neelam D. Sabharwal:
Ambassador of India to the Netherlands and, to UNESCO, Former High
Commissioner of India to Cyprus
Dilip Sinha, Legitimacy of Power: The Permanence
of Five in the Security Council, (New Delhi,
VIJ Books (India) Pty Ltd, 2018), Pages: (HB) 332, (PB) 321, Price: (HB)
Rs. 1.250.00, (PB) Rs. 595.00
Teshu Singh: Research
Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi
T. V. Paul
(Ed.), The China-India Rivalry in the Globalization Era,
(Hyderabad, India, Orient Blackswan, 2019),
Pages: (HB) 368, Price: Rs. 1,195.00
Published in Volume 13,
Vol 14, No. 2 --
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V. S. Seshadri: Dr. V. S. Seshadri, is a former Ambassador of India to Slovenia and
former Ambassador of India to Myanmar. A former trade negotiator in the
Government of India, he was earlier Vice-Chairman, Research and Information
System for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi.
RCEP and India: What Next?
This article seeks to
understand why India may have decided to withdraw from the Regional
Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as was announced at the third
RCEP summit meeting held in Bangkok on 4 November 2019. It also examines
briefly the possible implications of this decision, particularly in the
present context of looming challenges on the international trade front. It
explores possible options for India and what its priorities could be.
Finally, in the event that there may be a re-consideration by India about
joining RCEP, what could be some of the guiding elements?
Dilip Sinha: Ambassador Dilip Sinha, is a former
Special Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi and former
Permanent Representative of India to UN Organisations in Geneva. He is the
author of Legitimacy of Power: The Permanence of Five in the Security
Council, published 2018 by the Indian Council of World Affairs/ VIJ Books
(India) Pty Ltd, New Delhi.
India and the United Nations
The United Nations will
celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2020. This is a good time to look back at
its performance, and examine how far it has met the aspirations of its
founders and how relevant it is in today’s world. India is a founder member
of the organisation. What has been India’s approach to the UN? How does
India view the organisation, and what expectations does it have of it?
The United Nations
has grown in the last seven decades from a general security organisation to
an omnibus international entity that brings numerous international
organisations dealing with every conceivable aspect of human life under one
umbrella. But maintaining international peace and security remains its
primary goal, and it is on this that its reputation has rested even though
its main achievements have been, and continue to be, in other fields.
Shreya Upadhyay: Dr. Shreya Upadhyay, is a
visiting faculty with Symbiosis University and a Senior Analyst with India
Bound. A former Nehru-Fulbright pre-doctoral scholar with American
University, Washington DC, she was also a researcher with the Institute of
Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi.
India-US Defence Partnership: Challenges and
Since 2005, when the
United States of America (USA) and India signed the new framework for the
India-US Defence relationship, the bilateral defence ties have grown to
become strong, and potential driven. With initiatives such as the Defence
Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), the India-US Declaration on Defence
Cooperation, the signing of agreements such as the Logistics Exchange
Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and the Communications Compatibility and
Security Agreement (COMCASA), the two countries have made bipartisan
efforts to move beyond the “hesitations of history”. They have been cooperating on defence
production, maritime security, disaster response, and counter terrorism. In
November 2019, India and the USA concluded the first land and sea exercise
in the history of their military exchanges. With security challenges
growing in the Indo-Pacific region, and growing Chinese influence, it
becomes imperative for India and the USA to strengthen ties, and defence is
one of the main drivers of the deepening relationship. This essay is an
attempt to look at defence ties between the two countries.
It looks at the
How the defence ties between the two countries
have grown in the last few years?
What is the importance of Major Defence
Partnership (MDP) for India and the US in the Indo-Pacific theatre?
What are the existing challenges to a greater
Recommendation for the future.
H. H. S. Viswanathan: Ambassador H. H. S. Viswanathan, is a former Ambassador of India to Cote
d'Ivoire, a former High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, and a former
Consul General of India in San Francisco. Currently, he is a Distinguished
Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi. The views expressed
here are personal.
India’s Soft Power Diplomacy: Capturing Hearts and
Any discourse on
International Relations (IR) today never fails to talk about the Soft Power
of countries. Ever since Joseph Nye coined the term, it has become rather
obligatory to use it. It is not as if the aspects of the so-called Soft
Power were never recognised before. Earlier, it was known by other terms,
one of which was cultural and civilisational diplomacy. Countries projected
their cultural and non-transactional sides to get the friendships of
others. This indirectly helped them to pursue their national interests
Netajee Abhinandan: Dr. Netajee Abhinandan, is
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Ravenshaw
Changing Security Environment in Indian Ocean:
Decoding the Indian Strategy
As a conflict zone for
power and supremacy, history cannot exclude the oceans. During the early
phases of modern history, oceans were the zones of intense contestation
where most of the conflicts among major and aspiring powers played out. The
contestations played the most significant role in shaping both history and
civilisation. It would not be farfetched to say that the modern history of
the world is also, in a way, the history of oceans. The tussles for power,
resources, land, and people were mostly fought over the seas and oceans, as
these were the only modes of communication and transportation linking
distant countries and continents. Though the Indian Ocean, covering the
expanse from East Africa to the Indian subcontinent and Australia, has
always been the theatre of human interactions, it caught global attention
only in 1498 when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da
Gama arrived at Calicut (now Kozhikode) after a successful sea voyage. This
opened the first all water trade route between Europe and Asia. Since then,
it became a part of the global trading system as more and more European
powers came forward to trade with India and other countries of Southeast
Asia using this route. Also, till then, under the complete control of
India, it turned into an active conflict zone, with established European
powers vying with each other for greater control over the ocean and the
littoral countries. The opening of the Indian Ocean as one of the most
lucrative trade routes in the 15th century made it the most contentious and
volatile of all the oceanic zones. This continues even today.
Asoke Kumar Mukerji: Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, was
Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in New York between
2013 and 2015.
The Centenary of India’s Membership of the League
The League of Nations
(LN) was conceptualized by the Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended the First World War
on 28 June 1919. The Treaty also created the International Labour
Organization (ILO), a unique multi-stakeholder multilateral structure in
which policies are decided by governments, employers and workers, without
any government exercising veto power.
India signed the
Treaty of Versailles as a distinct legal entity, although she was a colony
consisting of the territory of British India and Indian Princely States. In
international law, India’s signature was that of “an anomalous
international person”. However, this
did not prevent India from participating on the basis of “legal equality” in the activities of both the LN and ILO
with other sovereign states to reflect her evolving national interests and
perspectives. How did India acquire a seat at the Paris Peace Conference of
1919 which resulted in the Treaty of Versailles? Was India’s participation
in the LN and ILO of relevance for contemporary India’s multilateral
diplomacy? These are the questions that arise when reviewing India’s
membership of the LN a century later.
Balakrishnan, is a former Ambassador of India to
Cuba and to Greece, and is a Science Diplomacy Fellow, Research and
Information Systems for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi. The views
expressed herein are his personal views.
Science and Technology Dimensions of Indian Foreign Policy
Science is the basic knowledge of nature
and Technology is the practical application of that knowledge. This is
sometimes not so clear. For example, we knew that penicillin works against
bacteria, but not why. At each level of understanding, new science opens
up, and there is new technology to be applied. Another concept is
Governance. The goal of governance in any country is firstly national
security and, secondly, a better quality of life for its people. Science
and Technology have a very strong impact not only on society but also on the
international system. There are many examples of this, such as mobile
phones and smart phones. In the international system, countries which
discover and use new science and technology gain an advantage - both
economic and military. Because of this, all governments must deal with
science and technology in an appropriate manner, and respond to new
developments in both.