September 23, 2017

China, India, and Sri Lanka’s Change of Guard

(Photo Nicolas Raymond, Creative Commons License)

Sri Lanka’s surprising election result will have complex effects on the India-China-Sri Lanka strategic triangle. Read More »

Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksa Defeated in Elections

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and NDF presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena cast their votes at the respective polling stations in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. (Photos by Pradeep Pathirana and Pradeep Dilrukshana, via Daily Mirror)

Maithripala Sirisena, the combined opposition parties candidate in Sri Lanka’s presidential elections, has defeated the two-term President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa. Read More »

Will Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksa Win a Third Term?

President Mahinda Rajapaksa (L) at a campaign rally in December last. (Photo via President Mahinda Rajapaksa's office, Creative Commons License)

As the poll draws close Sri Lankans look set to have their closest election in more than a decade. But President Rajapaksa is still favored to win. Read More »

Sri Lanka Tilts to Beijing, Dumps India?

During the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Sri Lanka and China commissioned the last phase of the Norochcholai power plant, initiated work on the much-awaited Colombo Port City project and signed more than 20 other bilateral agreements to enhance cooperation.

Sri Lanka’s strategic orientation is undergoing a sea change as it emerges as China’s new best friend and security partner in the eastern Indian Ocean. With a stable and cooperative authoritarian regime strategically located in the central Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka ticks many of China’s strategic boxes after increasing instability in Pakistan, its strongest ally in the region. Read More »

Sri Lanka: Shift in Priority from Ethno-nationalism

A soldier patrols Trincomalee in eastern Sri lanka. (Photo Felix Krohn, Creative Commons License)

Post-war reality in Sri Lanka is still connected deeply to the war period, with the large-scale presence of the security forces in the north and east and surveillance machinery continuing to have a negative impact on life in all parts of the country. Read More »

An Indian View on Sri Lanka: Dealing with Devolution

(Photo by Markus Spring, Creative Commons License)

After the defeat of the LTTE and the economic activism of China, the geostrategic reality has altered significantly in Colombo’s favor. With no usable leverages, India may have to live with 13A minus police powers, provided the devolved powers are actually implemented on the ground. Read More »

Remains of Hate in Sri Lanka

(Photo via Groundviews)

Many Sri Lankans do not recognize the extremist Bodu Bala Sena as embodying Buddhist values at all, but they are increasingly unwilling to speak out about their opposition to it. The only punitive action seems to have come from Facebook, which took the BBS page offline after a flood of complaints. Read More »

When a Dynasty Read the Future

Lankan leader

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the former President of Sri Lanka, has among her photographs a collector’s item taken when she was an 11-year-old girl. Crowded into the frame are no less than five South Asian Prime Ministers who served at different times over five decades in the 20th Century: her father S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike, herself (she was Prime Minister ... Read More »

Sri Lankan Democracy Winds Back in 2013

President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo via President Mahinda Rajapaksa's office)

In 2013 the Sri Lankan economy continued to recover slowly from its economic slump last year, which saw growth fall from several years of 8 per cent plus to 6.4 per cent. The IMF is now predicting growth of 6.5 per cent for 2013 and 2014. However, it was the island’s politics that was the main story this year.   While construction ... Read More »

Sri Lanka Besieged By Religious Conflict

A billboard in Nugegoda section of Colombo with a nationalist message. (Photo by Dennis S Hurd, Creative Commons License)

Notwithstanding all the glib assurances by Sri Lankan politicians, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on the cohesiveness of its people in this island nation, ground realities tell another story. The Tamil nation, whose struggle for a separate homeland began in 1983, were long targeted by government forces until the massive military maneuvres by the Sri Lankan armed forces came to a ... Read More »