‘’SIGNIFICANCE OF A PROPER AND CORRECT FOREIGN POICY AND THE COVID-19 PANDAMIC WAR ’’
Posted on June 18th, 2021

Sarath Wijesinghe President’s Counsel, former Ambassador to UAE and Israel, President Ambassador’s Forum, currently in UK

Pandemic war in the peak

Pandemic war is in the peak and there is no option but to win it sooner or later depending on the world situation. President and the Government has taken all possible endeavours using the political and personal goodwill with the world leaders to find vaccine which is the need of the hour and the response from the world leaders have been satisfactory in that japan China, and USA. Japan has sent positive signs of assistance which is the main need of the hour. Things are changing fast and the countries won are facing difficulties again and the good news is Sri Lanka is now doing comparatively well. UK has extend the controls till July 21st again. China has sent3.1 million doses and 10.9 more to come in addition to pledges from many friendly nations. We won the first wave comfortably but there are lessons to be learnt from the second and third. Today the death toll according to media is dwindling gradually with hopes of reducing the number due to the prevailing circumstances locally and worldwide keeping in mind we are open to the world out of necessity. World is bound to go through the agony more than expected when in UK the partial lock down is extended till July with imposing further  restrictions as in Sri Lanka out of necessity. In Sri Lanka there should be no conflicting reports by so called experts, with no central institution for figures, facts or authentic information despite the advanced digitalization in the country with the system intact according to the book. Good news that steps are being taken to centralize the system soon and also the number is gradually decreasing from four figures as USA 11882/412 deaths, India14380/4133 deaths, Brazil 88092/2504 showing a gradual reduction of the infected and death toll, but the situation in Sri Lanka that won the first wave though not satisfactory and it is our duty to look towards us carefully to find the solution which is necessary and imminent. But the fact remains that the solution is within our scope and it is our duty to go back to basics being careful not to permit the unseen, dangerous, uncontrollable virus to visit us and live free in the system due to our carelessness. The second and third waves gathering  Information  on covid19 front is day by day getting worse  with near 3000 suspected cases and considerable  deaths- the high ever death toll which is ever increasing with no signs of diminishing. We do not make vaccines in Sri Lanka and depending on the world for stocks based on good will, international relations and availability when there appear to be a shortage of vaccines worldwide. It is noted that it is time for us to initial stages by making prompt orders with proper procumbent procedures based on expert advice by scientist’s not administrative officers however senior they are. In order to combat the enemy we must have a vision and a visionary in overall giving due credit to the Army commander and the forces on the excellent performances jobs though outside their ordinary preview. In Sri Lanka vaccine is given free to the citizens when Pakistan has initiated to sell it to those who could afford is a good move giving the opportunity for those who could afford to make matters easier to the government struggling on economic hardships. It is a good idea for Sri Lanka too to follow suit due to the economic downtowns and other complications in finding the vaccines on time, due to our own making. It is told that there is a vaccine shortage in the world due to fast spread of the pandemic, and it is a good move that we have placed orders and got the international community and Embassies to work on the task.   Entire world is going through the hardships with no signs of end in the near future against the un controllable, unseen, virus freely on move worldwide with no boarder or restrictions causing misery and deaths mostly the vulnerable groups with 165,000,000 deaths to date which is sad worrying and unbearable to the mankind. No permanent solution is found yet despite the miraculous advancement of science extending towards the solar system. Some developed countries have found a temporary measure inventing a vaccine to be administers in two stages which is not a permanent cure, without ascertaining the side effects in the long run. Some countries such as UK, Israel, and Seashells, have administered the vaccine to a majority of the population that has retarded the fast spread as a precautionary measure which again is temporary. Sorry state is some countries vaccine full are worried on the new variants spreading including UK. Giant neighbour India is in a pathetic way with highest number of cases and death with shortages of beds and medicine countrywide patients crowded on payments near hospitals with confirmed deaths of 353528, confirmed deaths 29089069 and 9256 new cases, with 2862 new cases in Sri Lanka with repel effects from Indian infections by illegal border crossing through sea and exchange of trading materials. There is news of development of new variants and new developments. Do not worry – we are winning the battle in the near future and we must learn to live with it and be ready for a leapfrog success story for a better world to come. Therefore while finding permanent solutions we should plan out our future in short and long term developments in the country with full details given below.

Post Pandemic Situation

This a war to be won at any cost one day having gone through all the hardships with the rest of the world, and it is the duty of a visionary leader with a vision to be ready for the future challenges and  emerge victorious as a unique nation. Village students and villagers have proved adoptable by paying bills on what’s app and village children climbing water tanks for WiFi with minimum facilities yet compete the urban students and the community with the 110% mobile penetration and computer centres in junctions many using international platforms to keep pace with the modern developments. Working online has become handy and village teachers conduct webinars learning the technical details from their children. It is unfortunate that we are going through more and more disasters. But we are a nation that went through a 30 year war the west claimed unwinnable cementing the different ethnic groups as an exemplary nation. Please admit ship disaster is manmade and our mistake; environmental destructions are manmade and our mistakes, wrong food patterns are our own mistakes, Sri Lanka is a country where a mango seed thrown will emerge as a fruit bearing mangoes and when Israel started life 73 years ago no water at all and depending now on desalination of sea water, selling water to neighbours as a leader in agriculture advising the world powers. We are a nation missed the bus and misdirected by the foreign hands transformed our agro based society living with nature with 70% forest cover reduced to 18% or 29% as claimed to clear lands for commercial crops and changing the food pattern to bread in place of rice and importing poisoned  milk powder killing 5000 local  cattle a day for meat with no steps taken for self-sufficiency on food, milk, and other agro based cultivations and products depending on poisons artificial fertilizer converting the healthy nation sick. We must resolve ourselves to transform ourselves to be a unique nation with a new vision with a visionary surrounded by a proper dedicated and vibrant, leadership with genuine group around helping the transformation of the entire system and compel the leaders to create and acquire a vision to be self-sufficient an all respects learning form our mistakes and other successful countries themselves going through the ordeal together.

Contributions by the Sri Lankan Lawyers in UK (ASLLUK), Ambassadors Forum in Sri Lanka and UK and international and Local Groups

ASLLUK made an official request to the Prime Minister of United Kingdom for vaccine and sent substantial funds to be given to the poorest of the poor Sri Lankans via Bar Association. UK has agreed to donate 100 million surplus jabs to poor countries according to statement by the Prime Minister and we hope other countries will follow suit provide our embassies and powerful Sri Lankan Groups worldwide work hard. Ambassador’s Forum in Sri Lanka and abroad is in the forefront and it is the duty of the Foreign Ministry and the Sri Lankan Human Rights commission to follow suit as there are ample remaining unused vaccines available in many countries. Currently the remedy is vaccine as proved by UK by bringing down to zero in figures of ten thousand, when Sri Lanka was zero deaths at the time we won the first wave. We are pleased to note that Japan, USA, China, Australia, and other friends who themselves are victims have agree to help Sri Lanka due to friendship and urge the Sri Lankan Embassies and Sri Lankans worldwide to  mobilize themselves in the campaign as the main target if to find sufficient vaccines. Ambassador’s Forum has published five books on international relations and foreign policy as a guideline and directions to the nation, and the two books on Geneva process and Port City will be inaugurated in UK probable at a function headed by Lord Nasby who has done a yeoman service to Sri Lanka.

Keep Friendly Relations with the World

We cannot be in isolation in this new world closely interconnected with a click of a button, and in fact we are not alone if we maintain our friendship with the rest of the world who themselves are in grave danger. Other countries are in worst situation does not mean we too should suffer, when we are a smart educated nation with top Sri Lankans worldwide whose full services are not utilized through the network of Ambassadors. Because other friends are powerful strong and foresee matters before they are scientifically in battle when we follow them not even going back to basics in the combat on Corona 19 which is the easiest and a shortcut for victory- Keep   distance, be clean by washing hands and surfaces prune to virus, avoid public places, stay home, no public functions, always conscious on the danger and virus , follow and adhere to medical and other advice by the health workers as has been done in China fought it following simple ways. It is the duty of the Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka and world over to divert all efforts and attention on the war on Covid 19 before everything as the priority today is the eradication of the menace.

Foreign Policy and other Developments to continue until we win the war

Sri Lanka had a proud history on foreign policy as a onetime leader of the non-align movement during the golden regime of Madam Bandaranaike remaining of the non-alignment and neutral policy to date on the foreign policy based on the motto ‘’friendly with all and angry with none’’ in addition to the previous and subsequent conventions and treatises entered into. As the foreign policy is interconnected and interwoven with economy – less strong countries need lot of efforts to maintain the independence of foreign policy and conduct on economy and international affairs as independence entities. It is agreed that economy should be healthy despite pandemics and states endeavour to maintain economy without the minimum damages to the economic balance of a nation while maintaining the day to day life of the citizen. Sri Lankan economy is not in a good shape even before the pandemic and the impact on economy has been enormous with almost breakdown of economy. Partial lock downs and assistance to the common man during the temporary blockades have almost paralysed the ailing economy and the government is having second thoughts for a full lock downs as in the UK.  Sri Lankan Lanka Investment forum organized by business leaders for two days, with the key address speech by the Prime Minister to be a game changer on economic upheaval and as turning point in the light  of Sri Lanka’s catastrophic growth at a faster momentum. It will be an investment destination of perfect as an attractable country for investment form all around with no unnecessary hindrance to the prospective investors. It is targeted to achieve end disputed covid 19 pandemic fast spreading and brewing leaving the responsibility to the community to contain it, with a well-disciplined well behaved society to safeguard themselves while leapfrogging the country to be the best business destination. In this process foreign policy and relations play a pivot role, encouraging and gain confidence of word, not appointing High Commissioners to India and Canada so long periods opening eyebrows of the international community while disturbing the trends in diplomacy so important and vulnerable in the diplomatic world. By organizing the Forum with 4000 participant, 1500 investors, and 100speakers across 120 sessions in the height of the corona pandemic, Sri Lanka is stepping into the modern virtual platform leapfrogging the modern jump to the powerful leader exploiting the advantages of the geographical situation by passing the corona 19 with determination to of over  leader to live with. Main players were to be the BOI Colombo Stock Exchange Colombo /chamber of /commerce Ft and Private Sector companies who will be competent to know keep pace with the international trends out of necessity and compulsion to run with. ‘Hambantota’ Port, Colombo Port city Project with manufacturing plants, Export Processing Zones, will be set up right round the country giving a life to the citizen mainly youth with 110% mobile penetration with computer centre every junction with Wi-Fi transferring young to innovation subjects training for the future which has direct bearing on foreign policy maintaining the good will with other nations. No country can live in isolation in the world closely knit and connected penetrating borders with free access to the virus freely moving with various making difficult for the countries to control the spread. There are draw backs such as withdrawal of the GSP but it is our duty to continue undeterred expecting the governance to give due place to competent dedicate and qualified and avoid family rule, leaving friends to become billionaires, avoid clamping down on bribery corruption nepotism and favouritism is all kinds and areas which are rampant today. It is difficult time and it is time to make sacrifices brining done the extravagance and wastage to the minimum which are expectations of the masses in return to the sacrifices they make and hardships they undergo.

WHAT NEXT

‘’ONE IS ONE’S OWN REFUGE, WHAT ORHER REFUGE CAN THERE BE?? WITH SELF WELL SUBDUED A MAN FINDS REFUGE SUCH A FEW CAN FOUND’’ ‘’Dhammapada’’ this is one of the verses extracted from Dhdmmapada is a hand book on Buddhism on the way of life and to be independent and to be self-reliance independent in every respect. Sri Lanka have been self-sufficient with every village individually being self-sufficient happy agro based society also self-sufficient in all trades. Sri Lanka is an Island with fine climatic conditions and historically agro based with network of rivers and manmade historical water distribution system for agriculture now depending on every bit on imports indebted to the world is a trend that has to be changed to be self-sufficient in all respects with a bitter learning process form the corona pandemic to step toward prosperity and development. We have a balanced foreign policy on the motto friendly with all and angry with none in addition to maintain the same non alignment policy continuously, in addition to the conventions and treatises we are bound to adhere to. It is necessary to maintain the goodwill and international relations in order to help each other as a friend in need when every country is in danger on the world crisis brewing worldwide. As mentioned above it is time for us to be self-sufficient in all aspects as an answer to the Covid19 crisis increasing rapidly. Moves to transform to organic fertilizer, is to be implemented with the campaign for self-sufficient in all respects. Good news is Sri Lankans; especially the young are adoptable and fearless for changes and challenges and it is the timely challenge to make use of the opportunity for the leapfrog developments towards the 21st century in all areas of life with future plans based on introduction of modern digitalization programs initiating frim schools. It is a war that has to be won as Winston Churchill remarked ‘’ Never believe the war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks strange voyages can measure the tides on hurricanes he will encounter. In deed a nation that won the unwinnable war of thirty years will definitely be able to win over the unseen virus spreading across borders with a proper vision led by a visionary with the help of the nation facing the challenge.

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