Lanka worries about Indian ‘Trojan horse’
Posted on February 9th, 2017

By P K Balachandran  Courtesy The New Indian Express

For decades before and after Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948, India’s relations with the island nation were political and adversarial. But since the second half of the 1990s, there has been a gradual shift to trade, development assistance and investment, in that order. While India has been wanting to build bridges with Lanka, veering from two decades of exclusive involvement with the intractable Tamil question, the latter has been exploring government-to-government economic tie-ups with India.

The ice was broken in the mid 1990s when an India-friendly Chandrika Kumaratunga became president on the promise of a rapprochement with Tamils (including the LTTE), and also friendship with India which had backed the Tamil demand for autonomy and imposed the India-Sri Lanka Accord in 1987 to bring it about. Quick negotiations led to the India–Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISLFTA) in 1999. What followed was a remarkable increase in bilateral trade, set to reach $5 billion now.

Though the balance of trade is heavily in India’s favour, Lanka’s exports to India grew from a minuscule $58 million in 2000 to over $600 million in 2015-16, thanks to the agreement. India’s exports to Lanka are much higher at $4 billion, but 70 per cent of it lies outside the FTA. India’s assistance portfolio in Lanka is now nearly $2.6 billion, out of which $436 million is in the form of grants. Even its loans are cheap coming at an interest of 1.75 per cent. Taking the money spent and pledged together, India has extended to Lanka $1 billion for rebuilding its decrepit railways. The 50,000 houses for war-affected Tamils and poor Indian-origin Tamils cost India $270 million. Recently, India gave $20 million for rainwater harvesting in the dry Northern Province; $7.5 million was given for a free ambulance service.

Indian FDI in Lanka totals over $500 million. India has pledged to set up a 500 MW LNG-powered plant at Kerawalapitiya. Indian companies want to invest in the East Container Terminal at Colombo port and the Trincomalee port hinterland development. Indian trans-shipment accounts for 70 per cent of the earnings of the Colombo port which is sustaining the loss-making Chinese- built Hambantota port. However, India’s economic engagement with Lanka has not been an unmixed blessing.

Fear of economic domination by the ‘Big Brother’ has replaced the earlier fear of political and military dominance. Sri Lankans argue that India’s Non-Tariff Barriers have greatly restricted their exports under the FTA. Fears of an influx of Indian professionals stopped the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement at the last minute. Agitators are now threatening to scuttle talks on Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) though India ruled out movement of natural persons”.

Despite an assurance that almost all employees of the $7.5 million Indian ambulance service would be Lankans, it was seen as a Trojan Horse of RAW”. India was disappointed when the 500 MW coal-fired power plant project at Sampur was called off after six years of talks. As a compensation for its ouster from Sampur, Colombo said India could set up an LNGbased 500 MW power plant  in Kerawalapitya, but it is not known if the offer would stand in the months to come. In violation of an India-Sri Lanka 2003 agreement, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has been trying to take over three of the 99 oil tanks in Trincomalee given to the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) for 35 years.

The CPC says it needs the tanks to store diesel for use in power plants. The LIOC is ready to provide the facilities as a joint project, but that is not acceptable to the CPC. Late last month, the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises threw a bombshell by saying that since the LIOC had not signed the lease agreement” relating to the tanks within the stipulated six months, Lanka should take over all the 99 tanks. But LIOC’s case is that the 2003 pact does not mention the need for a lease agreement”, that the LIOC has been paying the stipulated annual leasing fee of $100,000 to the government regularly, and that the local land records show that the owner of the land is the LIOC. Two Indian firms which were to lead an international consortium to build the Colombo port’s East Terminal (as per the wishes of the Lankan government), are now out in the cold because Lanka suddenly said the criteria would be revised.

Given past experience with agreements, volatility of local politics and an underlying anti- India sentiment, India is reluctant to rush into the ETCA. Meanwhile, rumours that Lanka is going to ask India to develop the Trincomalee port to balance its deal with China visa- vis the Hambantota port led to spasms of anti-India barbs from the Opposition and the media. This, despite Indian officials denying any interest in the port as it could be a nonperforming asset like the $1.4 billion Hambantota port. Animosity towards Indian government projects and aid programs, with nary a word of thanks, vexed Indian diplomats to such an extent that ex-Indian High Commissioner Y K Sinha publicly expressed his displeasure.

Lankan nationalists however justified their stand saying that India should consider its aid to Lanka not as charity but just reparations for the harm it did by promoting Tamil terror in the 1980s and then trying to divide” the country by promoting the Tamil demand for devolution of powers. However, there is a silver lining. Lankan hostility to India is restricted to Indian government projects, not the business ventures of India’s private sector which are welcomed with open arms. Indian companies dominate the vehicles and pharmaceutical markets, and Indians are the single largest contributors to tourism.

14 Responses to “Lanka worries about Indian ‘Trojan horse’”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    The problem is racism in Indian investments. Look at the projects India in involved in – 50,000 houses for war-affected Tamils and poor Indian-origin Tamils and $20 million for rainwater harvesting in the dry Tamil-only Northern Province.

    Indian help is targeted only to Tamils.

    If India wants good relations, it must shed this racism and start helping other Sri Lankans as well.

    The author is wrong on tourists. Although most tourists are Indians, they are a drain on the Lankan economy as most of them illegally work, engage in gold smuggling and drug dealings.

    China and Iran have enormous potential in Sri Lanka in vehicles and pharmaceutical markets.

  2. Kumari Says:

    Indians are always for themselves. Before giving a penny to a begger they will check on the identity of the man to ensure that there is a use of the penny afterwards.

    Our Buddhist attitude to Dana is “Giving with respect and without expectation of a return”.

    It goes without saying that the two countries can’t work together. Always keep them at arm’s length.

  3. Christie Says:

    Indian Empire only looks after the Indian Colonial Parasites wherever they are; may be in Fiji to Guyana.

    Since the Indian colonial parasites arrived on the back of the British they have taken a lot from us back to India.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Was INDIA afraid of Lanka going ultra-West during the Cold War times ?
    INDIA was running with the then Sov Bloc during Cold War times.

    That would explain a lot of INDIA’s past actions.
    INDIA too was a colonised country.
    INDIA can be very aggressive when they need to defend themselves.
    INDIA could be used by any of the Big Powers, if they choose to do so.
    Lankans : please be aware !

    But INDIA (Tamil Nadu) must stop off loading their Tamil Dalits and others into Lanka.
    Tamil Nadu fishermen must stop illegal fishing in Lanka waters. Where is terroritorial respect here ?
    Tamil Nadu must handle their own problems of Caste, Droughts, Floods, Poverty etc.
    They have the able people and the funds to do so.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Kumari is right.

    Endians (including Tamils) first check for the ETHNICITY of their charity recipient. Ethnicity must be same. They NEVER help anyone outside their ethnicity. Then CASTE.

    Endians will only help Endians. Only a fool trusts Endia.

  6. Christie Says:

    Fran: “INDIA too was a colonised country.”.

    Who colonized India? How many of those colonists or their dependents are left in India?

    Ceylon was colonized by Indian like in Fiji. Those Indian Colonial Parasites and their descendants are the problem.

    It is time for us to with our own eyes and minds.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    Hi Christie,

    I am NOT for Colonisation of Lanka or INDIA by foreign countries.
    Colonisation brings slavery, death & despair to the colonised.

    Colonisation of INDIA & then Ceylon, was always due to TRADE.
    TRADE should happen, without Colonisation.
    However, whether we like it or not, external pressures will always be with us, destabilising various countries, including Lanka. How to deal with such rocky times is the question. How do we bring Stabilisation to unbalanced world systems ?

    But History is History, and must be acknowledged.
    There is plenty of documentation on the Colonisation of INDIA, all done due to “Trade”.
    There are some gains through colonisation, but losses are many too. It is up to us to put things in a sort of Socio-Economic Balance Sheet and see for ourselves what is good and what is bad and eliminate/mitigate what is not good for the country and keep the good stuff only.

    As for Colonisation of Lanka by INDIA, genetically Lankans are mostly INDIAN.
    Lanka has to keep out the CASTE system of INDIA.
    Lanka has to stop illegal migration into Lanka.

  8. Christie Says:

    Thanks Frank.
    We are lead to believe that British colonized India and other tropical British Dominions by the British. But in fact the tropical dominions; eg. Guyana, Mauritius, Fiji, Uganda, Kenya etc. were colonized by Indians ad the colder dominions. eg. Falklands, Australia , Canada etc. were colonized by the British.

    I don’t know where you get the idea that Sinhalese are Indians. We Sinhalese are different to people of India and Indians are not the same and they are different from type of Indian to anther type.

    As for colonization of the land of the Sinhalese by Indians happened after they came on the back of the British as they have done in other tropical British Dominions.

  9. Christie Says:

    Hi Fran

    “Colonisation brings slavery, death & despair to the colonised.”

    You are spot on. We Sinhalese are the colonized by the Indian colonists.

    We are the economic slaves of Indian colonists.

    We are murdered by Indian terrorists arms the LTTE and the JVP.

    It is the Sinhalese who have no hope like the Fijians, Creoles of Mauritius and Guyana.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    Hi Christie,

    Thanks for your views.

    Thinking further :

    ** Re Genetics :

    The genetic get up of almost all of the Lankans is a mixed one, predominently with genes from the INDIAN sub-continent.

    ** Re INDIAN invasion into Lanka etc :

    You are right here. INDIA invades quietly through their Dalit population. Dalits have always fled INDIA – so that’s how it works.

    Till the British & the Dutch brought some one and a half Million indentured slave-like Tamil Dalit, (no high caste folk came to labor for colonial Lanka), labor to work the various Plantations, Lanka was free of INDIAN invasions that “came to stay” in huge numbers.

    The Dalit folk of Tamil Nadu and the rest of South INDIA constantly attempt, and do flee, INDIA, due to CASTE discrimination. That is how Fiji, Guyana, Mauritius etc got such huge population from INDIA.

    Re Sinhala Hope :

    Colombo Sinhala folk have to work with the Rural Sinhale.
    It is always the Rural folk (Sinhala & Tamil) who make most of the sacrifices.
    Minorities have to unite with the majority sector folk for the common good.

    Recall also that it was INDIA that trained the LTTE in Tamil Nadu during Cold War times. The same LTTE wiped out the UNP able leaders and other able leaders of Lanka, both Sinhala & Tamil. INDIA is ruthless when their security is challenged. Lankans must be mindful of that.

    HOPE will come when People of Lanka unite. For that to happen there has to be trustworthy leadership.
    Are RW/CBK trustworthy leaders ?

  11. Christie Says:

    Hi Fran
    Thanks.

    What you say is what most of us are lead to believe and are thought to believe. We all believe and hope all these but facts and events that are different.

    Sinhalese have been living in the island nation for more than a hundred thousand years from archeological findings. Sinhalese are mentioned in other civilizations for about five thousand years; Ramayana. Then we have our own historical records going back two and a half thousand years; Mahawansa. So Sinhalese are a unique group of people in the world with their own way of life, social structure, religions. language etc. So they are different to Indian colonial parasites and vermin who arrived in massive numbers on the back the British.

    Even today the Dalits of India are not allowed to go beyond their villages. Indian Colonial Parasites who went to Tropical Briritish colonies were not Dalits; Untouchables. Majority of them were not high castes. Some high caste Indians were Indian Colonial Parasites and the best example is Mahathma Gandhi who was an Indian Colonial Parasite in South Africa.
    Most of the Indian colonial parasites that came fist with the British to administer Dutch possessions of were high caste from Malabar. Most of them settled in Jaffana like Wignesh. Then there are Thondamannars. Rmachandrans who came later to the plantations.

    So the Indian colonial parasites in British Dominions were and are not Dalits. They were not slaves but equal partners like the British themselves. They were like our Sinhala workers in the Middle East.

    India divided the Sinhalese politically by using SWRD as their puppet.

  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dear Christie,

    Thanks for response. I can appreciate your sentiments.

    Here are some thoughts on the topics discussed. This is done to understand INDIA. What I have written is to the best of my knowledge.

    Re the Sinhala Culture :

    The Sinhala CULTURE has survived for 2,600 yrs or so due to Buddhism. But the Sinhala people are a mixed gene
    bunch. As Lanka Ports attracted foreigners, some of whom came to stay on as colonists, this was inevitable. Also, in the earlier times, INDIANS moved freely into the North, and also came as traders.

    The Sinhala CULTURE is what has survived, not the gene pool.

    Re Tamils of Colonised countries :

    The Tamil LEADERS in colonised countries are not generally be of Dalit origin.
    Tamil LEADERS were generally educated in the English stream and communicated well with the colonists.
    I am not referring to them. I am referring to the hundreds of thousands of workers that toiled in the Plantations industry under colonists. These poor people are of Dalit ORIGIN. They generally follow the Tamil leaders, then and now. People of Dalit origin generally believe that crossing Sea Water removes Caste. They also move on to other religions and identities to remove Caste. The Caste System of INDIA has existed for oer 3,000 yrs. No one can really “remove” it.
    Who can blame them !

    The Buddha was not for the Caste System. That is one of the reasons why Buddhism did not flourish in the BUDDHA’S country, INDIA.
    It is also a good reason why Caste bound Tamils come in many thousands to Lanka, and then attempt to go abroad.
    Even artificial Riots are created as in 1983, to enable them to go abroad as Refugees.

    ———–

    The CASTE system : To people outside of INDIA, it is a senseless and out dated social system.
    And carving out pieces of Lanka for Eelam will not eliminate the Caste system of INDIA.

    Comments welcome.

  13. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dear Christie,

    Thanks for response. I can appreciate your sentiments.

    Here are some thoughts on the topics discussed. This is done to understand INDIA. What I have written briefly is to the best of my knowledge.

    Re the Sinhala Culture and the Gene pool :

    The Sinhala CULTURE has survived for 2,600 yrs or so due to Buddhism. But the Sinhala people are a mixed gene
    bunch. Traders, travellers & wars brought in various foreigners, some of who stayed on. As Lanka Ports attracted foreigners, some of whom came stayed on as colonists for various gains. This was inevitable. Also, in the earlier times, INDIANS moved freely into the North, and also came as traders and for better pastures, particularly from the Southern areas. All these people, as you say, were not of Dalit origin. The Dalits came with Colonists and the Plantations Industry. They were the cheapest source of Labor. There were some converts to other religons, but most of them stayed on with the Hindu religion.

    The Sinhala CULTURE is what has survived, not the original gene pool. The original gene pool is now mixed in with others.

    Re Tamils of Colonised countries :

    This is a long drawn out topic. I shall refer to some of the points, briefly.

    The Tamil LEADERS in colonised countries are not generally of Dalit origin. They are of other Castes.
    Tamil LEADERS were generally educated in the English stream and communicated well with the colonists.
    I am not referring to them. I am referring to the hundreds of thousands of workers that toiled in the Plantations industry under colonists. These are poor people of Dalit ORIGIN. They generally follow the Tamil leaders, then and now. People of Dalit origin generally believe that crossing Sea Water removes Caste. They also move on to other religions and identities to remove Caste. The Caste System of INDIA has existed for over 3,000 yrs. No one seems to be able to really “remove” it.
    Who can blame the Dalit origin folk for fleeing INDIA.

    The Buddha was not for the Caste System. That is one of the reasons why Buddhism did not flourish in the BUDDHA’S country, INDIA. Mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka attracts those who want to leave INDIA.
    Buddhism is also a good reason why Caste bound Tamils come in many thousands to Lanka, and then attempt to go abroad. In any case, SWRD’s Social Disabilities Act (1958) removed the earlier Caste limitations re Education in Sri Lanka.
    Even artificial Riots are created as in 1983, to enable Tamils to go abroad as Refugees. This was also Cold War politics.

    ———–

    The CASTE system : To people outside of INDIA, it is a senseless and out dated social system.
    And carving out pieces of Lanka for Eelam will not eliminate the Caste system of INDIA.

    * As matters stand, Lanka has to remove the ILLEGAL 13-A imposed by INDIA on the JRJ govt.
    * Lankans must insist that the Vadukoddai Resolution of 1976 – Eelam through violence – be officially REVOKED by the Tamil leaders.

    Comments welcome.

  14. Fran Diaz Says:

    Re Gene Pool changes :

    This is happening all over the world.
    The world’s population is becoming more and more Globalised. However, with this Globalisation, there appears to be a sudden insecurity from old cultures.
    At present there are over 7 Billion people in the world.

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