Red light for China, green for India-NA MP Sumanthiran says former is hostile, latter has legitimate role
Posted on January 8th, 2022

BY Marianne David Courtesy The Morning

China is not welcome in the North and East while India has a legitimate role to play, asserted TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran in an interview with The Sunday Morning. 

Commenting on potential Chinese projects and investment in the North and East, in the backdrop of the high-profile visit to the Northern Province in mid-December 2021 by Chinese Ambassador to Colombo Qi Zhenhong, Sumanthiran firmly stated, The Chinese are not welcome in the North or the East.” 

Outlining his reasons, the TNA MP said that firstly, the TNA’s own political quest was based on human rights and democracy, concepts he charged were alien to the Chinese, and secondly, Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean as opposed to the South China Sea. 

The TNA’s own political quest is based on human rights and democracy, both concepts that are very alien to the Chinese. In order to win our political rights on the basis of human rights and democratic principles, the influence of the Chinese will hinder progress,” he noted. Furthermore, he stated: We are not located in the South China Sea. If we were, we would have recognised the legitimate defence concerns of China. But we are in the Indian Ocean, just a few kilometres away from the Indian coast, and no one can blame us for recognising the legitimate defence concerns of India.” 

Stating that China was not a friendly country towards India, Sumanthiran noted that allowing Chinese space in the North and East, which was very close to the Indian coast, would tantamount to even a hostile act towards India, which we think we should not do”. 

Commenting on India’s current role in Sri Lankan affairs, he emphasised that India had a rightful and legitimate role to play with regard to the settlement of the Tamil national question in Sri Lanka.

 In 1983, in the aftermath of the July ’83 violence, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sent her Minister Narasimha Rao and offered India’s good offices to resolve the national question here. That offer was accepted by the Sri Lankan Government and that remains to date. The Indo-Lanka Accord is an international bilateral agreement between two sovereign nations that must be honoured,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in Sri Lanka this weekend on a two-day visit during which he is meeting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and other high-profile leaders. 

See page 15 for the full interview with Sumanthiran – 

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