Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lanka needs lessons from India

Lauding India’s democratic approach towards solving a crisis, leading Lankan dailies have said that Colombo should take a leaf out of New Delhi's experience to resolve the island's conflict by political means. An editorial in Daily News asserts, “…essentially, Lanka's preference has been to resolve the ethnic conflict, for instance, through the use of political means and this accords with our democratic heritage and India has been exemplary in this respect…because her approach to separatist conflicts has been repeatedly democratic in character.”

The editorial adds that essentially, India has met the just aspirations of her peoples through power devolution within a geographically intact state. Describing India as the world’s largest democracy and foremost regional power, the editorial says that the island nation looks forward to India for resolving its conflict via political means.

“Besides being a foremost regional power, India is our closest neighbour and the "world's largest democracy and besides the multiplicity of ties which we enjoy with India, experience has taught us that the country is of considerable importance when it comes to resolving our conflict by political means.” India, meanwhile, gave no indication that it would accede to visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's request for help to revive a flagging peace bid after attacks that have stretched a 2002 ceasefire nearly to breaking point.

“India is a thriving democracy. The implications of India's democratic identity for resolving our conflict are not usually unravelled by observers… Sri Lanka's commitment to democratic governance makes it incumbent on her to seek democratic approaches to resolving her problems,” the Daily News editorial states. Even though India has stated time and again that it would not be playing a pro-active role in the Lankan peace process, the editorial says that India could seriously consider co-chairing the Lankan peace process along with US, EU, Norway and Tokyo.
"There is no doubt that the Lankan state would be looking forward to a more proactive role by India in resolving our conflict. India could, for instance, seriously consider Co-Chairing the Lankan peace process," it adds.

New Delhi, meanwhile, has said that it is not interested.
(Written on December 30, 2005 for Hindustan Times)

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