Friday, March 22, 2013

The India Factor

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Admit or not this is what India has been doing to us over the centuries. Since time immemorial India has been messing with the internal policies of Sri Lanka, but it seems that Sri Lanka has never been able to successfully retaliate against them.

Let’s take a look at the facts, India voted against Sri Lanka their so called close friend and ally on 2 occasions at the UNHRC when we needed them the most. The only action taken by our administration seems to be to sugar coat their decisions and justify them. However one needs to note that this policy of sugar coating all of India’s decisions did not begin recently.

Sri Lanka's history as we know it today has been written in a manner which shows that India and Sri Lanka are intricately linked. However we fail to remember that most of the invasions that the country had to face before the time of the Portugese originated from India. There have been only a handful of Sri Lankan kings who were able to stand up against the might of this nation was King Ravana was one of them. Unfortunately a majority of current generation only knows about his exploits through the eyes of Indians. To them Ravana was a tyrant and a villain and that is how a majority of the current generation knows him to be. However any critic can understand that there are 2 sides to any story, and the Sri Lankan angle of it is clearly not told.

In recent times India has strong armed us into many deals and pacts which benefit them more than us.  One may argue that they have invested heavily in this country, yes it is true but I believe that they too have ulterior motives behind these investments. As India continues to grow into a super power their rivalry against China grows too. They battle over commerce among many other things, I believe one reason why India continues to portray themselves as a friend of Sri Lanka because of this rivalry.Sri Lanka is very strategically positioned in the Indian ocean and because of this very reason it has attracted the attention of the international community.

Let’s be frank there have always been reports the rebel tigers that destroyed our beautiful motherland were trained in a foreign land, and funded by a foreign land which is close proximity to Sri lanka. As long as their sympathizers continue to rule in Tamil Nadu, India will always choose to look down on Sri Lanka after all they are all politicians and no one can rule such a large country by just disregarding the votes of such a large swathe of India.

So what can we do ? If you believe in aggressive retaliation, that is certainly not the path to follow. First our leaders need to realize India is a jealous neighbor. The only way to throw them off their game is to cut down on our ties with them. I'm not saying that we need to completely sever out ties with India what I’m saying is we should give prominence in our foreign policy towards other countries such as China, Pakistan, Russia and other Latin American countries. Why these specific countries? Because as I said India is a jealous neighbor which has a lot of rivalries, making our country seem (emphasis on SEEM) like a bastion of counties which are not fond of India will certainly irritate them.

In a country which is predominantly Buddhist I would be naive to call for Sri Lankans to stop traveling to India, however we can take a conscious effort to cut down on the money that we send back to India. How? Be selective when you purchase something, if it is an Indian product, pause and mull it over before going ahead and buying it. It’s stupid to call on people to completely stop buying Indian products because it will never happen in Sri Lanka. Indian investors are coming into Sri Lanka and we need it to keep our economy going but it doesn’t mean that we can’t indirectly impose higher taxes on them. I mean our governments are really smart at pulling off stuff like this. There have been rumors that the Sri Lankan government is looking at taking back the oil storage terminals in the Trincomallee harbor from an Indian company, I for one will be really glad if this goes through. Another thing we can do is, When hiring experts in various fields, try and steer clear from individuals originating India.

Bullies will always try to impose their ideas and agendas on others. So I am calling on, the people of Sri Lanka to passively retaliate against India and their hypocritical views on Sri Lanka.

- Aries