By Shenali Waduge
The extent to which the leaders handling India-Sri Lanka affairs have mishandled the situation is evident by the fact that whilst the entire country is in agreement that India should have no piece of the peace dividend, opening too many doors to India has left India demanding more than it deserves and projecting itself as an aggrieved party for not been given what it should not deserve in the first place. That damage needs to be fixed by those responsible for creating the situation. Having brought Sri Lanka down to the present scenario we have the only option of now looking East and those who disagree may well like to reason out why India should be given any key economic zones when it has been destabilizing Sri Lanka.
China’s supremacy over Asia and perhaps the world is an undeniable fact. From this reality stems two scenarios – those that view China as a threat and those that are ready to partner with China. The US who has been regarded the sole influencer globally feels threatened and naturally so. China’s approach has been laid back and hardly the bully approach that the US has come to adapt. The dividends to China are inroads in both Asia and Africa.
China borders 13 countries – 3 with whom they went to war. China is aware that despite the West’s open promotion of “democratic” norms its actions have proven quite the opposite. China is well aware that there are over 100,000 US troops stationed in North East Asia. If China had to contend with a US-Japanese alliance (despite the US bombing Japan and the Japanese continuing to suffer as a result of the 2 nuclear bombs), China is now having to deal with a new US-India partnership against China. The distrust has forced China to increase its military and economic capability making them more assertive and less likely to cave in to western norms. The US has managed to wriggle through India’s nationalist defenses and promote India against China. India may easily bow its head to US dictates but it has little pluck to go head on with China. The US is however doing its best to spur India towards this objective. India’s reluctance to chide China for its role in and around India’s borders is a clear example of India’s immaturity at playing the role of any super power present or future. Compliance does not have any hallmarks of an aspiring future leader.
Nevertheless, the US never puts its eggs in one basket and with India’s borders all at conflict with the central government, the US is likely to be considering the future of broken Indian independent states similar to that of Russia and how best to use these states for its own geographical advantage. These maneuvers obviously are been carried out by British intelligence knowing exactly how to divide and rule. In the current scenario however, India’s central government and Brahmin mentality remains not only a threat to Asia but more of a threat to India itself. The Maino family factor has done little to help nurture India’s Asian connection either.
Whatever the US-India may plan, China’s objectives are clear – it will continue to expand its own military and economic capabilities, it will align with strategic partners that influence its sphere of influence, it will ensure the nations that it partners have sufficient development in return for the allegiance given – these options are far better than the manner the pretentious partnership projected by the West where public pats of approval are followed by underground covert operations to destabilize these very friends!
China has 200 nuclear warheads located on the Tibetan plateau north of India. India has around 60 nuclear warheads but has not fully weaponized them. Besides, unknown to India, China has managed to swiftly encircle India and it is obvious that China will use these nations as China’s proxies against India if India attempts to push the Western agenda beyond the level of tolerance. India’s multidirectional foreign policy will soon result in its undoing.
In South Asia, China has the perfect alliance. All South Asian nations share a common dislike for India’s bullying tactics and domineering attitude forcing these nations to automatically seek redress in a new found friend – China and China is ready to deliver. The chemistry works well. With South Asian states aligning to China, India’s objectives in the region are being shrunk. It is to Sri Lanka’s leaders to view the stakes against the trend and we have nothing to really have any confidence in India to remotely consider partnering with India when it is clear where our eggs should go. It is pointless referring to human rights, democracy and what not because no country follows any of these meaningless fancy notions anyway especially the nations that coined them! Doesn’t terrorism exist because the very countries that publicly bring laws to curb terrorism supply arms to these very terrorists and uses these clichés to militarily intervene in nations for economic and geographical advantage?
China’s circle of friends are expanding – it is a give and take scenario. China has constructed Gwadar Port in Baluchistan which is in close proximity to the Strait of Hormuz from which 40% of worlds oil supplies pass. China has upgraded Myanmar’s ports (Mergui, Yangon, Bassein and Sittwei). India is irked by China’s inroads into Irrawaddy Corridor. Myanmar has a large coastal beltline along the Bay of Bengal which China is using as a forward basing strategy. The Great Coco Islands are a communication facility to China and just 45km away from India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
India is attempting to counter China by adopting a “look east” policy. Launching the BIMSTEC Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a start to bridging South Asia and South East Asia. India has also excluded China to start the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Forum with 5 countries placed along the Mekong River, with a highway that runs through North East India, Myanmar to Thailand. China countered the Mekong initiative by creating the Agreement on Commercial Navigation on Lancang Mekong River with Myanmar, Thailand and Laos.
India is also attempting to usurp Sri Lanka’s role in unifying Buddhist nations together. It is undeniably to Sri Lanka’s credit that it has kept ties with Buddhist nations and it has done much to continue to forge ties with these nations. India has no right to be using Buddhism which it abandoned and forgot.
A country that was once a proud non-aligned nation has come to the present scenario externally due to India and internally due to the lapses in decision making of our own leaders. We are only too well aware how the West did their utmost to continue terrorism in Sri Lanka, how late in the day India discovered how Sri Lanka’s terrorism was really meant to destabilize India though it was to India’s advantage to manipulate this knowledge to cut out a stake for itself in Sri Lanka – it was the military assistance given by China, Pakistan and Russia that helped Sri Lanka to create history. We cannot forget this over shrewdly selective assistance by India and the West. Ideally, China, Russia and Pakistan should be recipients of our gratitude far more than India or the West and it is time our leaders draw a clear line in doling out key economic stakes to India though it has managed well to infiltrate into the Colombians who manipulate the news we receive and the business stakes that has fallen to tatters leaving Sri Lanka’s economy to be handed out to India through selfish local tycoons who have no regard for the nation or its people except themselves.
The views expressed are the author’s own.