11 August, 2020

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An Addendum To My Views On PM’s Visit To China

By Bandu de Silva

Bandu de Silva

Bandu de Silva

Since I wrote on Prime minister’s China visit, I re-read the jewel of the book “Down Memory Lane” left for me by my senior public service colleague, T.B.M.Ekanayake who was the first Commissioner of Registration of Persons, which his daughter sent me acting on a last request made by her dying father. Among the gems he has left behind through that book is one relating to the reference I made to formal institutionalisation of trade/economic relations with India following with that China long after that with China.

Writing on the cooperative movement, he says, his teacher Dr. K. Nesiah (at St john’s College), an ardent nationalist and a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, who was actively was actively engaged in fostering the (Gandhian) movement in Jaffna and started the first cooperative society to market agricultural produce from the Jaffna-Malayalam Tobacco Society and who saw a branch of the Society opened in India to market tobacco products. Despite doing good business, the branch office closed down in the sixties due to a ban imposed by India on import of tobacco. Reference to the ban was made by Indian government trade delegation led by senior civil servants during the regime of Dudley Senanayake in the 1960s. The Indian delegation indicated that imports from India had declined. This was taken as an indirect reference to imports of rice from India (under the 1952 agreement renewed in 1957). When Gamini Corea acting upon the advise of Ekanayake, as a member of the Sri Lankan delegation (he and I were assistant Secretaries together in the Citizenship Division), informed the Indian delegation that imports from India declined because our Jaffna farmers had switched on to cultivation of these items imported, the China bogy was not pressed any more.

This goes to show that India was not only behind China in formal arrangements with Sri Lanka on matters of trade (not to speak of economic cooperation) but even looking with displeasure on the agreement with China which conferred advantage to Sri Lanka. One has to do research as to whether India’s ‘Pancseela’ with and the ‘Indi-Chini Bhai-Bhai’, slogans with China before the border with China (1960), were honestly –rooted. One remembers that Nehru’s India was not pleased with Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Sirima Bandaranaike’s non –positive role over the border issue. Her positive role was to create a peaceful climate to settle the issue. India’s expectation was another. Sri Lanka had no need to get involved in a partisan role in the affair. British imperial legacy had not left the Indian thought both over the north-eastern border (so called McMohan line) or making the lands on the southern border subservient to it in every way.

All evidence that India had no ulterior motives when dealing with Sri Lanka in everyway. Sri Lanka’s rebuilding relations with China was the point of departure for India in her relations with India. I wrote a series of articles on this theme.’Indo-Sri Lanka Relations before and after Chin’s border war. The first was ‘Nehru treated Sri Lanka as a Colonial plantation before the border war’. I am really worried reading the criticism over going ahead with ECTA without full consideration. Beware the Trojan Horse at the door, in extoling the virtues of which High Commissioner Sinha has certainly exceeded the bounds of diplomatic extolling. (I remember the former Sri Lankan high Commissioner to New Delhi was summoned to the South Block for commenting during his visit for special relations with a State, Orissa or Bengal. Indian are so sensitive).

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  • 1
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    Mangala, good points, but unfortunately, no one will invest in Sri Lanka as long as the corrupt insider trader and bond scammer Arjuna Mahendran who is totally unqualified to head the Central Bank is in that post.

    The stink of corruption in the Sri Lankan economy and a lack of policy stability due to corrupt and unqualified people holding top jobs and making decisions is a dis-incentive to FDI.

    The is NO Policy Stability and the Sri Lanka economy like the rupee is in free fall due to the total INCOMPETENCE and corruption of those running the Economy.

    • 1
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      Don Stanley your criticism of Arjuna Mahendran appears to spit out venom of racism from your perspective. You say that Arjuna is not qualified he is much better and very much more qualified than Nivard Cabral his predecessor who scrapped the legal section of the Central Bank so that the corrupt could circumvent the law.
      I do not belong to the community of Arjun Mahendran but I take my hat off to Ranil who works in the best interest of the country and posts men of competence whether they be Sinhala,Tamil,Muslim or Burgher. Arjun and CJ are some good examples and some career diplomats

  • 0
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    China is a very touchy subject in India because of the 1962 Border way in Arunanchal area and their humiliation. If I am not mistaken some of the 7-sister states are still in a high security zone and foreign tourists cannot go there without their DOD permission. Or it was the way when I lived in Punjab for a long period.

    I am very disappointed in Mr. Mangala Samaraweera FM or Secretry to MOFA not summoning Sinha for being arrogant in commenting about internal matters. A brilliant Minister like Kadirgamar would have tutored him even though the relationship between SL and India is not on an equal footing. I was sad because the loquacious Deputy Minister Harsha DeSilva also was mute when he usually publicizes his comments about everything on Social media. Where was the self respect?

    When I wrote to the media on Indian relations, a hatchet man in their HC wrote an unsigned editorial and threatened FT. A clown also wrote to basically threaten The Island Newspaper when they talked about India’s role in promoting terrorism in SL.

    I lived and loved being in Punjab for nearly 5 years.That was a great time because of the personal friendship between Mrs. Gandhi and Mrs. Bandaranaike. Bal Ram Jhakar personally enquired about my wellbeing and after that even the clerks at the University I was attending became extra attentive to me. Things soured only after Mrs. Gandhi ordered Operation Bluestar and then after that the massive assaults, rapes and massacres of innocent Sikhs around Delhi happened when she was assassinated.

    The average Indian is as clueless about the world and Sri Lanka in particular in North India. They ask “do you speak hindi”? “do you worship hanuma?” etc . And caste and religion is a huge deal for them. They have very arrogant elites in the North from the Kashimiri Brahmins to the rest and also because caste is so high in their priorities and so is skin color it becomes very interesting culturally to interact with them. Sikhs are amazing proud people; the way they were dealt with the Gandhis and Hindus was sad. Having said that, the difference is they have strategic planners and thinkers and specialists in different areas in their foreign ministry. They do not have soap ladies or doctors as Ambassadors to top posts.

    To get back to their arrogance; we all know India armed, trained and financed separatist terrorism for geo political reasons. Why didn’t JR see that? Why did we become so foolish? also everyone knows who Dixit was such a prick.

    For now, SL needs to repair relations with Tamil Nadu. TN is one of the richest most dynamic states in India now. If it is to benefit from this, it needs to woo the banshee Tamil nationalist racist Jeyalalitha in some manner. Invite her to SL and treat her like a Maharani or Queen. Her ego and vanity are massive. But can anything be done now?

    • 0
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      Mano
      Thanks for that very fair summary.
      However, the sensitivity due to Sino-Indian conflict is only in Arunachal Pradesh.
      Elsewhere in Eastern India problems are of India’s own making; China has little to do with them.

      China has been transformed into a capitalist state since 1978. But Chinese conduct in foreign relations are guided by policies developed under socialism.
      China is still appreciative of the good turn that Ceylon did with the Rubber-Rice Deal of 1952. That plus its calm diplomatic methods have kept China-Sri Lanka relations friendly even under seemingly anti-China regimes.

      Why blame Mangala S for his week knees? Which Sri Lankan head of state or senior minister has been man enough to stand up to arrogant diplomats, especially from the US and India?
      You may remember Milinda Moragoda shamelessly declaring that if the US Ambassador summoned him in the middle of the night he would have to go. (That was before he jumped ship.)
      You may also remember that the conduct of many Indian diplomats since the days of Dikshit was in the manner of Viceroys of colonial era.

      JRJ opened the doors for foreign meddling. Changing things demands a different approach that is impossible for the two main rival groups.

      I think that China will not embarrass Ranil W. But Ranil cannot expect the respect that Sirimavo commanded or the ‘favours’ Mahinda received.

  • 0
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    Isn’t it clear now
    Biggest ever Sale of Indian Corporate Assets in Indian History.. The so called Suited Booted Sarkar has really booted the rear of the Corporates who borrowed easy Public Money during Congress rule to buy Assets for themselves..
    Jindal Steels is selling 49% of its Rail business, 5% of its Energy exchange and its 3,500 MW Power plant..
    Essar is selling a huge stake in its Steel business and 49% of its Oil to a Russian Oil business..
    GVK sold 33% of its Bangalore Airport stake as well as its controlling stake in Bombay Airport and its complete Road assets..
    DLF is selling its Saket Mall and 40% of all its Rental Assets and Land Assets..
    GMR Highway Projects, South African Coal Mine, Istanbul Airport, 70% in a Singapore Power Project, 2 Coal Mines in Indonesia..
    JP Group sold all its Cement Assets to Ultra Tech Cements..
    Yamuna Expressway stake, Power to JSW Energy..
    Tata is selling its Corus Steel in UK.. Dhamra Port, Communications Arm Neotel in South Africa.. Land in Bombay..
    Lanco Assets in Power Generation on sale in Andhra and Udupi..
    Videocon selling Telcom Spectrum in 6 circles.. Oil assets in Mozambique..
    Renuka Sugars is selling its Brazil Power, Sugar and Bio-fuel business..
    Sahara groups 86 Real Estate Assets are on sale.. 42% stake in Formula 1, Mumbai’s Sahara Hotel, Grosvernor House Hotel London, New York Plaza Hotel, The Dream New York Hotel and 4 Airplanes..
    Nearly all of Vijay Mallya’s Assets are on Sale..
    Reliance Infrastructure is selling 49% in Electricity Generation, Transmission in Mumbai..
    Cement business to Birla Corp.. Also it’s entire Portfolio of Road Projects, 100% of it..
    Have you heard in 60 years any Indian Promoter selling their Company to repay Bank Loans.!?
    Now you know who is cracking the Whip ..

    With 7000 crores of loan, do you think Vijay Mallya is the Kingfisher?
    Look at the top 10 defaulters and their repayable loan amount in Rupees CRORES :
    10. GVK Reddy (GVK Group) =33933 Crores
    9. Venugopal Dhoot (Videocon Group) =45405 Crores
    8. L. Madhusoodan Rao (Lanco Group)= 47102 Crores
    7. G M Rao (GMR Group)= 47976 Crores
    6. Sajjan Jindal (JSW Group)= 58171 Crores
    5. Manoj Gour (Jaypee Group)= 75163 Crores
    4. Goutam Adani (Adani Group)= 96031 Crores
    3. Shashi Ruia & Ravi Ruia (Essar Group)= 101000 Crores
    2. Anil Aggarwal (The Vedanta Group)= 103000 Crores
    And
    Finally
    1. Anil Ambani (Reliance Group)= 125000 Crores
    So,
    Why blame only the poorest of the lot?

  • 0
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    you are still beating your racist card, you cannot get over the fact that a tamil name will be on your currency. note.why dontg you ask viji weerasinghe former head master of royal college who were his best students who went balliol
    oxford university

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