Posted on October 22nd, 2018


The most difficult and dogmatic issue in Sri Lanka at this moment is appeasement of relationship between India and China.  The history gives clear evidence that different style of relationships was maintained between India and China by Sri Lanka for centuries, before Lanka went under the control of European rule. Sri Lankans are ethnically related to India as the anthropological evidence clearly indicates that people in Sri Lanka had been mixed with Indians by the migration of Indian people to Sri Lanka for various purposes. There may had been a relationship with China too as history evidence that Chinese people also visited other countries for various reason especially for trade purposes, but we have no concrete evidence that people of Sri Lanka had been mixed with Chinese blood. The truth that needs to be accepted is that people had been migrated one country to other since they were homo sapiens.

In the history there were conflicts between Sri Lankans and Indians focussing on various reasons such as trade and acquiring power. The religious and cultural relationship also cannot be ignored as strong evidence are available for this reason. There were some historical reports that Sri Lanka also had conflicts with China, and Chinese military groups visited Sri Lanka in various occasions though there were no clearly written the reasons for such visits. Historical evidence further indicates that the conflicts with either India or China were not motivated by official governments in India or China, in fact it is quite correct to state that the conflicts between communities in two counties were individual decisions of such communities and in terms of modern sense they were not unforgettable events. As the human nature is our mind always goes to the past and many times there is a trend to link the thinking with the past events.  People of Sri Lanka, India, and governments in these countries need to understand this truth in the appeasement of relationships.

According to the fundamental wish of Sri Lankans, the major aim of the relationship with India and China is promoting trade between countries, which generates tremendous benefits to the country such as gaining helps to acquire economic growth development base in Asia in relation to macroeconomic factors. As large countries with expanded economies like India and China have various economic, political, international and social aims, which may have conflicts of interest Sri Lanka’s attempt to develop the nation. The relationship of Sri Lanka with these two countries should not be knowing align to conflict with the interest of India and China.

After independence in 1948 Sri Lanka’s policy on dealing with India was targeted the repatriation of Indian immigrants back as the British ruler who were responsible to bring outsiders to the country and when they left the country did not forge a satisfactory solution to India, Sri Lanka and Britain. The policy toward China had a disinterest soon after the independence purely based on Communist alignment due to the influence of Western countries, however, the discomfort changed, when China provided economic supports beginning with the economic down turn after Korean boom to the country until 1977. India did not publicly express the displeasures when gaining economic supports from China.  After 1956, the relationship of Sri Lanka with India and China ideally matched and Mrs Bandaranaike demonstrated an excellent diplomatic knowledge and skills by assertive communication during the conflict between China and India in early 1960s. After the cold war the nature of foreign relationship crucially changed the influence of Western manoeuvring to international affairs.

Sri Lanka as a small country in the world faced to burdensome, especially managing the relationship between China and India as the war with LTTE forced Sri Lanka to go out of the track maintaining the relationship.  As Indira Ghandi expressed after July riots in 1983, although the conflict in Sri Lanka was not directly related to India, it was concern to India.  Tamil people in Sri Lanka theoretically divided to Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils, nevertheless people in outside have no idea about this illogical classification and Indian people also consider any agony to its people in Sri Lanka (Tamils without difference) an opportunity to demonstrate displease the behaviour of the central government of India.  Mrs India Ghandi expressed concerned on this matter with strong logical points. The so-called behaviour of Mr Jayewardene with Mr Morarji Desai may also have contributed Mrs Gandhi’s concerns as Sri Lanka was a friendly neighbourhood of India.

After 1983 we observed that India had an unwarranted intrusion to Sri Lanka and many nations surrounding India expressed this intrusion as Indian hegemony and if we think logically, it was a result of Russian bloc’s behaviour that expected India to play a police role in South Asia. My observation is Sri Lankan politicians also misunderstood the role and the pressure of India, had not effectively educated the different communities of Sri Lanka with a view to settling the problem. Mr. JR. Jayawardena as a good international strategist positively responded and he clearly stated that the Indu-Lanka agreement in 1987 was a strategy to live under the shadow of India without surrendering.  There was an excellent relationship had between Indian representative, JN Dixit and Mr. JR Jayewardene, but Mr R. Premasa failed to maintain it.

Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa as the leader of Sri Lanka did a successful role for India destroying the LTTE war machine that India wanted to eliminate. Although the LTTE war machine was originated with Indian support, later it was gone out of control and LTTE involved with western secret forces. The involvement of India with the war machine created many disadvantages to India especially the loss of Mr Rajiv Ghandi and the loss of supportive Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka to India, Sri Lanka closely alignment with China and Pakistan, and creating a serious risk to India possibility of terrorist activities in Tamilnadu following LTTE terrorists.  India wanted to eliminated but reluctant or scare to do it.  Mr Rajapaksa did it with the support of his brothers.  The economic problems generated with the war forced Mr Rajapaksa to close with China, but it was not pleasant policy to India, which associated with forces to defeat the Rajapaksa regime in 2015. The other important point needs to consider is Mr Rajapaksa had no options to take rather than taking economic support from China.

The international relations and the manoeuvring of the Western power bloc against the Chinese development has been considerable point in international relationships and it appeared that India attempting to oppose Chinese role with surrounding countries of India.  In this situation, the Rajapaksa regime would have to listen Indian ideas for the post war reconciliation efforts rather than strongly believing Chinese supports. The other option was to conduct a top-level summit between three countries with a view to resolving problems.

Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe was given an excellent opportunity to learn foreign policy development and maintaining foreign relations appointing him as the Deputy Foreign Minister under Mr ACS Hameed. Did Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe learn foreign policy and maintaining foreign relationship was a question when observing his behaviour during the 2015 elections.  Political leaders in Sri Lanka need to understand that neither party must play politics with the country’s foreign policy and it shouldn’t be critical issue in election plat forms. However, Mr Wickremasinghe irresponsibly made criticism about China and Chinese aided projects.  The result was him to bow down to China and creating an environment seek assistance from China at displeasing of India.

When appeasement of relationships with India and China, the following points need adhering to.

  • The Sri Lanka’s relationships with India and China should not be a tragedy to either party, but it should be a complementary considering honest objectives of each other.
  • The foreign relationship should not be a part of gossip in political platforms and news conferences as the journalists in Sri Lanka has converted news conferences to provide jokes rather than providing information about policy and the progress of policy implementation.
  • The assertive communication on each other’s priorities at an annual summit year could openly discussed and review the progress of relationships and confidentially fix the problems.


  1. Christie Says:

    !. There wans no India before the British made it.

    2. British in partnership with Indians let Indian go to all tropical British-Indian colonies including our country and other countries in Africa, Asia, Pacific and Americas.

    3. British made sure no Indian come to colder colonies like Canada, Australia, NZ and Falklands.

    We do not have many Chines living here compared to 3-4 millions of Indian living here.

    It is India which laid the foundation for the 1983 events.

    We have one solution that is for Sinhalese to unite and with the assistance of countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, and African countries to stand up to the Indian imperialists.

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