Sri Lanka: Foreign Trade Agreements should not end up another form of invasion
Posted on June 7th, 2010

Shenali Waduge

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or CEPA had been negotiated over two years ago. If India is now seen pressing for its activation we need to not only question why but more importantly ask whether our Government is likely to blindly sign & activate these documents without safeguarding the interests of the country.

 One of the most discerning of arguments in Sri Lanka is that following the terrorist element that has had adverse effects on Sri Lanka for over thirty years, the country needs more than a little space to recoup, regroup & re-unite amongst each other. Thus, our own society needs to have some breathing space & we do not need to be tornadoed into trade agreements without giving time & room for the people to enjoy the peace & start their lives“¦ Without this time given to the people of Sri Lanka to engage in economic activity, develop their skills, continue their education”¦it would be unfair of our political leadership to allow room for others to not only engage in business ventures in Sri Lanka, but allow their families to live & also work in our country. It is not that Sri Lankans are not competent to engage in employment with our fellow neighbors but Sri Lankans presently need to rise on their own feet & not only India but our own political leaderships need to understand this & cater to this need.

 Most of us are unaware exactly what the agreement holds. Most of us hope that this agreement would not be similar to the controversial agreement signed by Ranil Wickremasinghe & the LTTE in 2002 facilitated by western interests. Given the nature of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord & the amendments that resulted from that agreement to the advantage of the Indians & disadvantage of Sri Lanka, there are plenty of reasons to doubt how far the Government emissaries & the supposed advisors of the Government have studied & advised the Government with regard to the CEPA & other such agreements & pacts & how far the Government has been prepared to accept these “wise” counsels. The fact that the document is kept secret raises more suspicion as to why it should be kept away from the public. It is the onus of both India & Sri Lankan Governments to make these bilateral agreements public to quell any thoughts of “invasion” that the Sri Lankan people are presently harboring.  

 If IIFA event saw Indian film fraternity praising Sri Lanka’s warmth, kindness & hospitality”¦.it is nothing that none of us are unaware of & one wonders by the safety of Sri Lanka is questioned at all when the IIFA could have easily being held in India “”…” of course, India is not a safe place anymore so much so that most Indian films are being screened overseas! But, while Sri Lankan fans may have thronged the SSC to watch their celluloid fans in action, when it comes to the Indian Government & Indian officials including Indian businessmen”¦.Sri Lankans have a totally different opinion. That view certainly hinges on doubt, uncertainty & the awareness that Indians have been a key player & instigator in much of the troubles that has prevailed in Sri Lanka. Until India attempts to show the people of Sri Lanka it is not upto another one of its tricks then those doubts are unlikely to fade away & the more India attempts to pressurize the Sri Lankan Government, the more backing the Sri Lankan politicians are likely to receive from the Sri Lankan polity which would suit the Sri Lankan politicians perfectly.

 We can but caution the present Government & officials that whatever actions they take & the results that eschews from it will certainly be a deciding factor for their future in government. Now that most of Sri Lanka’s ills are behind us whatever mistakes & follies made in the present context will certainly lie at the footsteps of the President of Sri Lanka & its Government, especially when it is a Government that boasts its actions totally in the interest of the integrity of its country & its people.

 It is claimed that the CEPA is advantageous to Sri Lanka in terms of the investments Indians need to make to enter the country & bring in Indian employees. Why would any country be doing Sri Lanka any favors if it is not likely to get any returns. This obviously must have been weighed in when the clause was included & Sri Lanka may see first sight advantage but that is likely to fade away when rest of the systems fall into place.

 The most important point we need to remember is that all our lives at least for the past 30 years we have been troubleshooting problems created by predecessors. We have now entered a golden period where Sri Lanka does not have to be indebted to any nation”¦all those countries that helped us through the conflict ensured their interests were first met. including India. India has no reason to fear Sri Lanka, we have never harmed India in any way & certain not returned the eye of an eye India rights deserves.

 Presently, it is a clash of egos that are in action. The western community, UN & other NGO/INGO lobbies are frankly annoyed & more than a little peeved at the manner Sri Lanka chose to ignore their repeated diplomacies, advice & then even threats during the last days of the LTTE battle. Naturally, that annoyance is now been shown through UN chief demanding an expert panel to be appointed, the EU threatening to withdraw GSP plus & so many other threats to add to the list. So, expert panel is appoint, GSP is withdrawn, sanctions are imposed on Sri Lanka”¦who is going to suffer? It will be the common people of Sri Lanka, the average persons who want to make a decent living, work & live in peace “”…” just to chastise the few who dealt a blow to western egos the majority of Sri Lanka would be made to suffer “”…” the same prevailed in Iraq, where to supposedly punish Saddam Hussein sanctions were imposed & millions of Iraqi’s went in hunger, became malnutritioned & thousands more died, those that were born were disabled or had some type of malfunction”¦..this is eventually the punishment the UN & western lobbyists will have in mind to punish those that went against their norm of “human rights””¦.!!!

 Today the world is dictated by economic hit men who strategize on how to overturn governments, flush out every resource available in countries fooled enough to agreeing to false trade pacts. Corruption is what enables the manipulators to mislead the leaders but Sri Lanka sincerely hopes that we can look forward to better times. Let us not dig our grave knowingly but not be in a hurry to accept Santa Claus prematurely.

9 Responses to “Sri Lanka: Foreign Trade Agreements should not end up another form of invasion”

  1. M.S.MUdali Says:

    Shenali:
    How did Norway brokered agreement benefit India? You hate India. That is proven and now you try to hide the UNP and others who got the profit of the same agreement!

    From the agreements Sri lankans will loose nothing except the HATE minded people!

  2. mjaya Says:

    Well well well M.S.Mudall

    Why do you get so hurt when someone criticizes India? Wonder if you will comment on Dilook’s latest article!

    Again you display your UPFA die hard loyalist sentiment by trying to imply that criticizing means you are a UNP supporter. You are a classic example of “the Emperors New Cloths”!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Tissa Says:

    We know, from his past records, Mahinda is a genuine patriot and he never will sign any document which would harm our national interests. Mahinda’s political guru was most honest, most honourable, most admired Dr. SA Wickramasinghe. The student will never let down his teacher. Other fact is Mahinda is son of DA Rajapaksa and cousin of Lakshman and George Rajapaksas who were illustrious politicians without any blemish

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    To be CAUTIOUS in signing up ventures with ANY foreign sources should be our watchword. “Indian enterprise will bring in Indian labor” is not to my liking at all ! Lanka has enough unemployed people without bringing in labor from India (translate to labor from Tamil Nadu ? Do not be too surprised if all that India signs up for ends up as benefits for Tamil Nadu folk). Generally speaking, if an American enterprise like General Motors signs up to put a plant in, say, in Tamil Nadu, American labor will not be taken to Tamil Nadu – it will be Tamil Nadu people who will work in the GM plant in TN ! It should be the same rule for Lanka too – only Lankan labour to work in Lanka. This is very important. Be strong, Lanka. Be firm. Same rules for all countries.

  5. helaya Says:

    Hey Mudaly, I do not know that where you are coming from. Senali is trying to point out the disadvantage to Sri Lanka from this stupid agreement. Recently I had a chance to talk to new external affairs minister when he was in DC. I asked the question about CEPA and he said nothing is finalized and if the bussiness comunity is against it government is not going to sign it. But that answer was not very convincing. It is good to express the patriotic concern over this matter.

  6. M.S.MUdali Says:

    Tissa:
    Thank you for remembering the great Dr.S.A.Wickramasinghe. Prez Mahinda is not going to sign everything as some people fear. His anlytical mind will decide which is better for whole Sri Lanka.

  7. M.S.MUdali Says:

    Criticizing is good but it should be on good faith.

    I agree with Fran Diaz on the foreign ventures and the labor.

    I still question how India benifitted from the UNP-LTTE agreement! UNP-LTTE combine opposed 13th amendment and LTTE was given an autonomous region for terrorist rule. LTTE was allowed to carry arms. LTTE was allowed to TAX people. Sri lankan law enforcement was barred from LTTE areas.

    13th Amendment never give such powers to any one under the Sri lankan constitution!

  8. jana Says:

    Their are two ways to subjugate and dominate a country. one is might and the other is debt and economics. India and some other countries are pursuing the latter as it is the easier option and is more subtle. I only hope the government understands what implications signing this document implies. unfortunately our leaders upto now has not shown any vission . India has successfuly converted them into her poodles. we see politicians like RW /TNA etc running to India to pay pooja very often. lets hope MR is different. I have my doubts.

  9. cassandra Says:

    Sri Lanka needs to proceed with CEPA with due caution. Given the record of the past, even India will expect Sri Lanka to look at the small print with extra care!

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