Gotabaya seems to have bought 5 years from India to wage ‘development’ genocide in North-East

[TamilNet, Sunday, 01 December 2019, 23:46 GMT]
Genocidaire Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the newly elected SL president has refused to implement the pending devolution powers such as police and land powers to the provincial councils in the North and East. “[Y]ou can’t do anything against the wishes and feeling of the majority community,” he told The Hindu during his stay in India. “Look, the 13th Amendment is part of the constitution and is functional, except for some areas like control of police powers, which we can’t implement. I am willing to discuss alternatives to that,” he told the paper. Only a day before the interview appeared, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed confidence at the presence of Mr Rajapaksa that the latter would be implementing the 13th Amendment to the SL Constitution.

“I am confident that the Government of Sri Lanka will carry forward the process of reconciliation, to fulfil the aspirations of the Tamils for equality, justice, peace and respect. It also includes the implementation of the 13th Amendment. India will become a trusted partner for development throughout Sri Lanka including North and East,” Mr Modi had said in his address to Mr Rajapaksa in New Delhi.

Before returning to the island, Gotabaya Rajapaksa told The Hindu that “the main issues India could have with us would be on [our relations] with China or Pakistan, but if we don’t do anything that creates suspicions amongst Indian authorities, there will not be any problem.” 

“My approach, as I told the [Indian] Foreign Minister, is that it is more important to give the [Tamils] development and better living. In terms of freedoms, and political rights, there are already provisions in the constitution.”

“We can discuss political issues, but for 70 odd years, successive leaders have promised one single thing: devolution, devolution, devolution. But ultimately nothing happened.

“No Sinhala will say, don’t develop the area, or don’t give jobs, but political issues are different,” he said.

“I would say, judge me by my record on development [of North & East] after five years.”

In the meantime, Professor Arvind Kumar, who is the Head of the Department of Geopolitics & International Relations at Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Seshadri Chari, who is a BJP/RSS stalwart and foreign policy strategist have co-authored a piece in describing the visit of Gotabaya to New Delhi as creating a “win-win” situation.

“Known for his intrepid style of functioning, Gotabaya is an ace strategist who spearheaded the last phase of the war against the LTTE. He has a deeper understanding of the regional situation and would be a valuable asset for New Delhi in redefining its role in the region. It is high time both India and Sri Lanka realised their larger potential and work towards achieving peace and stability in the region by focusing on a bilateral development agenda, thus creating a win-win situation,” Arvind Kumar and Seshadri Chari in the Mumbai-based The Sunday Guardian.

However, it didn’t take much time for The Hindu interview to cause a backlash in Tamil Nadu.

“Rajapaksa had said that giving political powers to Tamils is not his priority. He further stated that the majority Sinhalese are against the devolution of political powers for Tamils. The Sri Lankan president’s statement has come as a shock for me,” The Hindustan Times quoted DMK president M K Stalin as responding.

* * *

The official transcript of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address during the visit of SL Gotabaya Rajapaksa follows:

Your Excellency President Gotabaya Rajapaksa,Senior officials from Sri Lanka and India, Friends, Ayubovan! Vanakkam! Namaskar!

I am pleased to welcome President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his delegation to India. I heartily congratulate the President for his decisive victory in the election. I congratulate the people of Sri Lanka for the smooth election process. The strength and maturity of democracy in Sri Lanka is a matter of great pride and joy. It is an honor for us that President Rajapaksa chose India for his first foreign visit and gave us a chance to welcome him in India within two weeks of assuming office. It symbolizes the strength and dynamism of friendly relations between India and Sri Lanka. It is also a sign of how much importance both countries attach to these relations. We look forward to working closely with President Rajapaksa for the progress of both countries and peace, prosperity and security in our entire common region.

The mandate that you have received expresses the aspirations of the Sri Lankan people for an organized, strong and prosperous Sri Lanka. In this regard, India's good wishes and cooperation are always with Sri Lanka. A stable, secure and prosperous Sri Lanka is not only in India's interest but also in the interest of the entire Indian Ocean Region.

India is Sri Lanka's closest maritime neighbor and a trusted friend. Our historical, ethnic, linguistic, cultural and civilizational contacts are a strong foundation of close relations between the two countries.

In line with my Government's "Neighborhood First" policy and SAGAR doctrine, we prioritize our relations with Sri Lanka. The security and development of our two countries are inseparable. Therefore, it is natural that we should be aware of each other's safety and sensibilities.

Today the President and myself had a very good and fruitful discussion on bilateral relations and international affairs of mutual interest. We have decided that together we will strengthen the multi-faceted partnership and cooperation between the two countries. I have assured the President of India's commitment to a development partnership with Sri Lanka. As always, this cooperation will be in accordance with the priorities of the people of Sri Lanka. A new $ 400 million line of credit will give a boost to infrastructure and development in Sri Lanka. I am confident that the Sri Lankan economy will benefit as well as this Line of Credit will also accelerate the Project Cooperation of mutual benefit between the two countries. We are delighted that under the Indian Housing Project, 46,000 houses have been constructed for the internally displaced in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. There is good progress in the construction of 14,000 houses for Tamils of Indian origin in the Up-Country region. I am also pleased that we have agreed to use the previously announced $ 100 million credit line for solar projects in Sri Lanka early. There was a good discussion between President and me on 20 community development projects and other people-centric projects issued by India in Sri Lanka on the basis of grants in education and infrastructure.

India has always opposed terrorism in all its forms and also expected action from the international community against other forms of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. On the occasion of Easter this year, terrorists in Sri Lanka launched brutal attacks on the diversity of mankind and the valuable heritage of symbiosis. I went to Sri Lanka immediately after the elections in India to express India's unwavering support in the Sri Lankan fight against terrorist and extremist forces. I have discussed in detail with the President Rajapaksa for mutual security and to further strengthen mutual cooperation against terrorism. Sri Lankan police officers in major Indian institutions are already receiving the benefit of counter terrorist training. I am happy to announce a special Line of Credit of 50 million dollars to Sri Lanka to combat terrorism.

Issues affecting the livelihood of fishermen were also discussed. We agreed that we will continue with a constructive and humane approach in this matter.

We also openly exchanged views on reconciliation in Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksa told me about his inclusive political outlook on ethnic harmony. I am confident that the Government of Sri Lanka will carry forward the process of reconciliation, to fulfill the aspirations of the Tamils for equality, justice, peace and respect. It also includes the implementation of the 13th amendment. India will become a trusted partner for development throughout Sri Lanka including North and East.

I once again welcome President Rajapaksa to India. His visit will strengthen our mutual relations. And our cooperation will promote development in both countries and prosperity, peace and stability in the region.

Nandri Thank you
(Press Information Bureau, Government of India)

External Links:
Hindustan Times: Stalin ‘shocked’ with Rajapaksa’s views on political powers for Lankan Tamils
The Hindu: Will be frank with New Delhi to avoid misunderstandings: Gotabaya Rajapaksa
The Sunday Guardian: Sri Lanka features prominently in India’s diplomatic outreach



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