“REFDIFINING AND REDEMICATING FOREIGN POLICY IN SRI LANKA BASED ON MAHINDA CHINTANA AND MAHINDA VISION”
Posted on February 12th, 2010
Sarath Wijeisnghe – -Senior Solicitor and Senior Attorney at law – LL.M London (International Law) Former Chairman Consumer Affairs Authority
Foreign policy of a country is not a static scenario. It varies from leader to leader and political changes of a Nation in the world family. It decides and directs the economy, development and all aspects of the citizen as the behaviour of the state is interconnected to the government machinery. It is the study of foreign affairs and global issues within the international system including the role of states, NGO’s, INGO’s and multinational corporations. It is a set of goals outlining how the country will interact with other countries and international institutions and bodies. In the United States it comes under the president which he has delegated to the foreign secretary.
Today foreign policy is playing a major role in Sri Lankan polity due to the scrutiny of the international brotherhood on Sri Lankan affairs before and after the defeat of terrorism, which has engulfed Sri Lanka, the SAARC region and the world community over 30 years which Rajapaksa government was able to eradicate to the relief of the giant neighbour and the world community. In the world family the portfolio of the Foreign Minister in state is generally in the hands of the Executive leader of the country or the Prime Minister except on exceptional circumstances.
President Rajapaksa has entrusted this responsibility to the Able Foreign Minister whose task is to implement the vision and directions in the maize of pitfalls and in the midst fields of bombs of distrust laid underground world over remotely controlled. We had to go through the dreadful war and destruction of thousands of lives and lost three decades of life of the Nation and citizens due to the mismanagement of foreign policy during the cold war, by antagonizing our loved giant neighbour with whom President Rajapaksa has now developed excellent and warm relations.
LTTE went through training and planning to be the most ruthless terrorist outfit using the Indian soil when Indian and USSR as a regional and a world poser has entered into a treaty against the common enemy then. This is the biggest mistake we made resulting which period we lived in he the loss of lives and 30 years was robbed from us during which period we lived in hell with small of blood death and destruction. We believe nothing is permanent and what is permanent is sheer impermanence.
USA is now wounded Isolated and seeks friendship with India against Chins both emerging economic and world powers! President Rajapaksa has been extremely cautious and diplomatic in dealing with the power blocks interested primarily in their interest especially in the volatile and uncertain world politics and economy which crumbled with no notice facing them with the most distractions recession ever. South Asia and Sri Lanka was less affected due to their simplicity and management of their own affairs based on Home Grown solutions.
The response from the USA Senate is wonderful- that they can not afford to loose Sri Lanka- and it is time they realise we should not be drifted toward a political block out of sheer necessity. It is time the diplomatic community of the West and USA in Sri Lanka should play a safe game to maintain and enhance good relations with Sri Lanka without being interested in local politics however interesting it is.
Award of Honorius Causa Doctorate from the People’s Friendship University of Russia on president Rajapaks is the zenith of his conduct of international affairs from the assumption of the office as the President of Sri Lanka four years ago. It is to his credit and respect to the nation that the sixth and the most rare honour of awarding the prestigious academic excellence on peace was awarded for the services rendered to the mankind by eliminating the terror outfit with the disbelief and surprise of the Global Community.
Wall Street Journal of USA dated 3/4/2010 reported in the speech of the President “I know as well as anyone that our future success relies on lasting peace. The revival of terrorism was an important milestone in that process, but the nation needs to be bound by a common purpose. My new government will address the genuine grievances of all communities and bluster the enforcement of equal rights for all.” Last few days of the end of terror regime is the maximum pressure exerted to President Rajapaksa from the Western leaders, EU, USA, UN, and number of powerful NGO’s to stop the war on terror and enter into same old peace process that failed after 30 years of agony and “Hell” in Sri Lanka at the cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives and destruction of trillions of rupees of national wealth.
India, China, USSR, Middle East, Africa, most orbital countries of USA and the Sri Lanka Expatriate community stood firm for President Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka isolating USA, UK and EU with NGOs and Inter Governmental organisations depending on public and UN funds, which is proof of the successful conduct of international affairs based on Mahinda Chintanaya and his own style on the process of dealing with the international community, which is reiterated in Mahinda Cintanaya two as “ I will continue Sri Lanka’s non- aligned foreign policy.
During the last four years we witnessed the benefit of maintaining friendly relations with India Japan China, Pakistan, and other Asian countries. I am committed to continue these friendly relations in the political economies defence trade and cultural arena. I will ensure that Sri Lanka abides by the global treatises and agreements on environmental and climatic changes and will strengthen Sri Lanka’s ties with UN agencies. I will maintain the dignity of my country in foreign relations and will initiate a new programme to forge relations with countries”
President’s conduct as a leader of a country with unstable and volatile political and war situation during the war on terror has been exemplarily cautious well planned and well though of. It is difficult to satisfy the political agenda’s of the complicated world political groupings, UN and Non governmental organisations and the Sri Lankan polity while maintaining the vision identity and the interest of the Nation with a minority government representing different political and ethnic groups with difficult different and unattainable demands. Every mission to meet world leaders was with a purpose and foreseen vision.
Leading a trade mission to China the leading political and economic power in the near future, Meeting the President of Iran when we had fuel shortages, meeting President Gadaffie when he was about to be appointed to Chair the Human Rights Committee when UN and INGO’s were trailing us to deal with internationally, Hosting of SAARC which has enhanced and strengthened close ties with India and the SAARC countries just before the last lap of the end of terror where we were blessed with the group of SAARC and other regional organisations attended the summit as observers, Address the UN and taking part in international forums such as the address to the Oxford students union in the United Kingdom strengthened presidents international stature as an emerging world leader leading a fair cross section of the human community in the Globe.
International relations of a Nation depends on the vision, conduct, international personality and the conduct of diplomacy of the Chief Executive in the world family representing the Nation region and the world in international forums and dealing with world leaders and international organisations. Successful world leaders had their own style of conducting International Affairs in the international arena. Narue, Chau En Lai, Indira, Gandi, Tony Blair, Putin, Bush Obama and other leading and charismatic world leaders on assuming power changed the foreign policy of the country according to the current needs of the day.
In India the foreign policy is streamlined as it is very slowly and rarely the policy deviates from the mainstream due to their discipline and rigidity in foreign affairs administration o and governance. In Sri Lanka foreign policy deviations are marked and effective. Hon SWRD Bndaranike brought about a complete change in foreign policy after Sir John Kotalawela’s policy which was modified to non alignment by Madam Sirimove Bandaranaike until Hon J.R. Jayawardena again changed the policy to a mixture of pro West non – alignment.
Rajapaksa government is emerging victories with a unique foreign policy unique to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “International Personality” which is basically non- alignment with modifications based on the realities on international economic and world order in the fast changing new world of Information Technology which has changed and our globe to a borderless modern and wonderful world. Uniqueness of President Rajapaksa is the non negotiability in main issues such as Unitarians of the undivided Nation, Sovereign Equality among Nations, Sovereignty of the Nation and the peoples, Love and respect to Motherland, Equality and impartiality towards all the citizens sans differences, and service to the brethrens based on equality and with respect to all modes and norms of individual and collective Human Rights.
Despite the excellent relations with the world family the worrying factor is the misunderstanding of some western countries and INGO’s due to vigorous campaign by powerful pro LTTE elements which are fast disintegrating. President Rajapaksa has reiterated the intention of mending the patches and fences with the West with his charm and diplomatic manoeuvrings which has been proved successful. He has conquered the Eastern block including the Central Asia Middle East with Iran and other Oil rich, Africa, small orbital nations around USA, and of course the two emerging world powers China and USSR which were instrumental in bailing us out when we were in danger of being interrogated by the UN on false and malicious LTTE related propaganda. Nation is confident and prays his next mission towards West will be another success story as has been proved before.
President Rajapaksa’s initiation to ensure to abide by global treatises and agreements on climate changes is encouraging when the world is facing grave danger of slow destruction of the planet due to unplanned industrialization and developments. We are unable to live in isolation in the current world trend and it is time for our president to lead the Asia as the leader of three powerful regional organisations representing a fair section of the world population.
It is also time for us to review the position with the Charter of the United Nations established in place of League of Nations anticipating a more effective world organisation which at the end of six decades has proved to be an ailing old and ineffective organisation. It is time for us to be active as Asians promoting the emerging power India or SAARC as a region as a member of the Security Council. Sri Lanka India relations run back to thousands of years. King Asoka sent his most precious son Mahinda and daughter Sangamitta as Emissaries to propagate Buddshsm to King Devanmapitissa though they have not met yet close friends which indicate the diplomatist Sri Lanka with the world leaders.
Diplomacy and diplomatic relations is not something alien to us and we have been maintaining relationships with the rest of the world from time immemorial. Arab merchants came to “Serandib” as traders and ancient Kings gave them freedom to engage in business, observe religion and settle down with our women, which indicates how magnanimous our previous rulers were. It is now time to regain the same close relationships we have been marinating previously especially in 1970’s.
President Rajapaksa’s next task and mission would be to restore and re demarcate and re define his unique foreign policy based on Mahinda Chintanaya and his International Personality in order to raise our Nation on the top of the International Arena.( Please read Sunday Observer 27/1/2008,10/5/2009,16/3/2008/1/6/2008,22/8/2008 the articles by this author on this subject by browsing the Internet for further reading on the subject of International Law and International Relations. Sarath8@hotmail.com)