17 November, 2018

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Is Modi A Role Model For Sri Lankan President Sirisena?

By R Hariharan

 Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Sri Lanka’s newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena is visiting New Delhi on February 16, his first port of call after becoming President.

Narendra Modi‘s spectacular rise as a national leader from the sidelines of Gujarat state, hopping over seniors in the party hierarchy, to lead the nation is a real life example for many ambitious politicians to emulate.

Did Modi provide a role model for the newly elected Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena’s success?

It would seem so if we see Sirisena’s surprise victory against the two-term President of Sri Lanka and his long term party colleague Mahinda Rajapaksa, in the recently concluded presidential election.

Four months ago nobody would have imagined Sirisena, a senior minister who was seen only in the shadow of Rajapaksa, would reduce the President’s bid for a third term to an unfulfilled dream. Skepticism about Modi was initially just as bad; even many of the BJP stalwarts weren’t sure of Modi delivering 272 seats in parliament he promised.

Even if Modi was not a role model, his success probably gave Sirisena the courage to contest against Rajapaksa, the most powerful presidents Sri Lanka had produced after the first president JR Jayewardane.

Maithri

*Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Mr. P.Radhakrishnan and India’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Mr. Y.K. Sinha along with senior government officials welcomed the President at the Airporta and Sri Lankan children welcomed the President and Mrs. Sirisena at the hotel.

Both took their first steps in politics with strong ideological convictions. At a young age RSS attracted Modi while young Sirisena was attracted to communism for a short while before he changed his mind and joined the left-of-centre Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Modi migrated from RSS to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

After that both never changed their party affiliations. While Modi became the general secretary of the BJP, Sirisena remained the general secretary of the SLFP for over a decade.

Both went to the poll with a clear agenda and deadlines to implement their agenda. Modi set six months for his basic agenda while Sirisena is implementing the opposition’s 100-day action plan. Both are trying to clean up governance, bring to book the corrupt and restructure the way the government rules.

Maithripala has chosen New Delhi as his first foreign destination after coming to power. That underlines his strong expectation of support from India. But he will have to satisfy Modi that though he had been a close aide of Rajapaksa’s policies including the former president’s unfulfilled promises to India on implementing the 13th amendment to the Constitution and resuming the political reconciliation process with Tamil leaders.

Sirisena’s agenda in New Delhi that could include a few items. First is to win back India’s confidence by correcting Rajapaksa’s “China tilt” that had soured India. He is making visible moves to achieve balance in Sri Lanka’ relations with the two Asian nations.

Secondly, he would try to muster India’s support in the UN Human Rights Commission which is meeting next month. Sri Lanka fears it could be embarrassed by the discussion there on Rajapaksa’s refusal to implement UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes and human rights excesses. India’s influence can be useful in buying time for Sirisena to work out a face saving solution. Of course, he will have to convince India he is sincerely trying to address as Modi is likely to raise this issue.

Thirdly, India has influence over Tamil National Alliance, which can swing Tamil votes in Sirisena’s favour in the general elections in April 2015. India can also help resuscitate Sri Lankan economy and bring in more investment. That would give strength to Sirisena in dealing with China.

So whether Modi is role model or not, common political perspectives on governance and structural changes in governance between the two leaders can help Sirisena in having a fruitful meeting with Modi. This is important as he is going to China next month.

*Col R Hariharan, is a retired military intelligence specialist on South Asia and served with the IPKF in Sri Lanka as head of intelligence. He is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-mail: haridirect@gmail.com Blog: http://col.hariharan.info

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    Yes. For fashion……….

  • 1
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    He should not. He should follow his own style. The manner Modi is conducting the country’s affairs is different and you can see already people of Delhi has dumped his party in the recent state elections. Our President has more nicer ways and that must be preserved.

    • 0
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      Nicely put by dcn. Sirisena does not need a role model like Modi. Modi’s alleged role in the massacre of 2000 innocent Muslim lives in his state of Gujarat should be enough reason to keep away from the ‘accused murderer’. The Col.(retired)should know better, IF he has respect for human life.

  • 3
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    The Colonel wrote” Thirdly, India has influence over Tamil National Alliance, which can swing Tamil votes in Sirisena’s favour in the general elections in April 2015.” Unquote.

    I am surprised that such a statement comes senior veteran. PM Modi cannot influence the Tamil voters in the North and East to swing towards Sirisena or the UNP. Tamils in the North and East will vote for the TNA … Period.

    As far as the Western Province and the Upcounutry is concernedb the Tamil Voters will vote for Mano Ganeshan’s party or alliance.

    So please do not mislead the readers in this forum or elsewhere. Modi’s influence is very limited among the Tamil voters in SL.

    Donald Gnanakone
    Tamils For Justice
    Founder.

    • 1
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      Sure, Tamils in WP and estate Tamils will vote for any anti Sinhala racist mob whilst enjoying the hospitality of the Sinhalese. Old habits persist but, they lead to oblivion. Why do Tamils need a role model in Modi, the former CM accused of complicity of murder of Muslims by the thousands? The Tamils have done better in 1990 to Muslims of NP with their own racist mindsets, inspired by poilitical thugs Ponna, Chelva, Sunda. History repeats; Wigs, Ganesan, Rudi will lead the Tamils to oblivion soon, come April 2015! Cheers

      • 2
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        lal loo

        What is your point if there is one?

  • 1
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    How can Mr. Modi become a role model for our President as Delhi is the capital of India and the people of Delhi routed his party BJP at the recently held provincial elections as Indians have different idea of Mr. Modi now. It is possible that he could be a one time prime minister
    as he could not implement the promises he came up with, in the election
    propaganda meetings, including finding the foreign money stacked in other countries. It is not Mr. Modi that matters to us but India,
    as the regional super power and we should have strong bilateral ties with the country for trade and protection, which ever party comes to
    power in India as the culture is almost the same and with thousands of
    years of friendship with long history behind us. Lord Buddha was born
    in India and he preached the religion from there and neighbouring areas

    Our president understands what poverty is ,unlike the elite past Presidents are and if he does not interfere with language & religion of all people living in, devolve power sharing to N/E province and merge them for easy administrative purposes as Tamil is spoken in these areas and once peace is maintained with all communities living with harmony,then our president could become the role model for other regional countries and move forward for prosperity. He should not fall a prey to phobia that India will engulf Sri Lanka some day or Tamils are aliens and cannot be trusted. As long as India remains a democratic
    country and the Tamils deem SL as their mother land, there should not be any fears of separation or Indians walking into SL. There are fear mongers like Wimal Weerawanse, who upset the people by brain washing the majority people that above newly found dangers for political reasons, exist.He and his coalition played the Ltte card but there were no takers this time. We have lived side by side for thousands of years and never a problem cropped up with the tow countries on matters of sovereignty of both countries. The President also should keep close relationships with the West, USA ,Canada and China too as we are not going to lose anything by keeping company with them, as well as it is advantages to our country as their input on modern technology will benefit the country. He also should see that there is no very close tie with any country like what the former regime had with China, resulting in us becoming a slave to another nation due debts exceeding 30000 millions dollars.

  • 2
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    Hariharan is just taking stuff published in local media and spewing his pro Indian garbage. This twit has got many facts wrong in the past.

    FIRST OF ALL Harijan Hariharan, let us remind you, your PM Modi could not have gotten a visa to go to the USA until he won in his landslide. US ignored him completely. Modi was implicated in your Hindu RSS goonda genocide against muslims in Gujarat. At the least he stood and did nothing like JR or he encouraged his RSS roots followers to murder Muslims while he was Chief Minister.

    Sirisena on the other hand was a relative unknown. He also did not get a massive landslide even though Sri Lankans were as sick of corruption as Indians were of Congress I rule and their rank corruption.

    You should ask your Centre to stop poaching and sending Indian trawlers to steal our fish. What you S.Indian chavuvinists are doing is STEALING fishing rights of TAMIL Sri Lankans. In other words, Indian Tamils are being anti Sri Lankan tamil by forcing his fishing issue(I meant poaching).

    Modi got a rude awakening in New Delhi this week. Sirisena is running a delicate coaltion and it is doubtful he could have won with Chandrika BK’s valuable contribution to reduce Rajapakse’s voter base in Gampaha District. If MR got 210,000 more votes in Gampaha he would have remained President.

    Modi was not that relevant because he is a Hindi and Gujarati speaking North Indian and not relevant to Tamil politics in S.India or in Sri Lanka. It was the TNA and Mano Ganeshan and other Estate Indian tamil leaders(not Ceylon tamils) who delivered.

    Please tell Modi never to arm, finance and train terrorists against Sri Lanka. You have your problems in Kashmire where an overwhelming Hindu army is occupying territory and you have a problem in the N.East where too a army is occupying land belonging to Nagas, Meghalyans, Mizos etc.

    Sirisena should be role model for Modi; Modi is an anti muslim racist at heart. But he is also pro business and pragmatic. Most muslims voted for Cong-I for a reason. RSS is already rising. They are like Hitler youth. We in Sri Lanka do not have an RSS although BBS comes close to it.

  • 0
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    Hariharan,

    Yes obviously they will bridge ties now that Rajapaksa has lost his power. I think Colombo and Delhi will become more maybe friendly okay at least. No more of this China push will be seen.

    But in my take on Ranil he has been smart and balanced all the players, Tamils, US, India, China, even this was seen in the port city which he has kept while before elections it was written in the paper would be taken away by the opposition.

    Anyways, the days of a divide between Delhi and Colombo will fall off as the two key players in that game, the Congress led regime and Rajapaksa have both fallen off.

    Anyways you can not just look at it like Sirisena makes the calls it seems that Ranil also is having a lot of clout in Colombo.

  • 1
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    Also, in my view I think you overestimated Indian influence in Jaffna. That kind of common interest is only salient outside of the Indian region.

    I think inside the Indian region, Tamils definitely control TNA.

    • 1
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      ” Tamils definitely control TNA. “

      Isn’t that why it is called the Tamil National Alliance. It is a party for Tamils ONLY – a mono-ethnic entity..

  • 1
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    Retired Colonel Hariharan Sir,

    Despite all kinds of analysis by all kinds of spin doctors, the fact remains that Modi was swept to power by mainly partisan Hindu votes. The Hindu voters found Modi’s history of inaction or even suggested complicity in the race riots in Gujarat during his leadership in that state, that killed over a thousand Muslim men women and children quite attractive.

    Mahinda Sirisena came to power for entirely different reasons. In Sri Lanka the people were genuinely concerned about the Rajapaksa brothers turning Sri Lanka into a Mafia state, with rampant corruption, the nullification of the police and the judiciary just to name a few.

    Sirisena at the beginning was attracted to communism just as many young men and women do for ideological reasons based on equality for all humans whereas Modi was attracted to the RSS purely for racist reasons and not for the promotion of humane ideals. Sure they have both deviated from their initial paths but they both enjoy continued support from such organisations even now, Modi more so.

  • 0
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    Hi Colonel Klink.

    Reminder to you old chappie. India armed trained and financed terrorism in Sri Lanka. Your troops including your much vaunted Sikh troops raped hundreds of our Tamil Women who happen to be Sri LAnkans not Indias. They massacred quite a few innocent Tamil civilians. They stole a lot of gold too. Now you are a well known spin doctor for your nation and you seem oblivious or you are suffering from one heckuva a concussion driven amnesia episode when you spew your “expertise”. Remember RAW and that arrogant Dixit ?

    We remember that it was unde Indira Gandhi’s blessings that the Tamil terrorists of Sri Lanka were armed, trained and provided succour by India in the early 1980s onwards. She was killed by her own Sikh guards at point blank range after she destablized Punjab by encouraging Bindranwale and separatism there to split the Akali Dal State government. In 1987 when the Sri Lanka Army was about to vanquish the terrorists in Vadamarachi, the Indian government forced the Sri Lanka government to stop that operation by intimidating President JRJ with their notorious ‘Parippu dropping’ operation here, shamelessly violating the Sri Lanka Air Space. Not stopping at that, Rajiv Gandhi forced on Sri Lanka the humiliating 13th Amendment which virtually threatens to violate unitary concept of the Sri Lanka Constitution. On their failure to disarm the Terrorists as agreed in the Indo-Lanka Agreement, he sent his ‘Peace Keeping Force’ here to disarm the terrorists by the use of force, they were humiliated and many of their members killed with the very arms provided by India. And finally Rajiv Gandhi himself was killed by a human bomb sent by Prabhakaran who you created. And Prabhakaran was eventually killed in the battles with the Sri Lanka Forces.

    Now to Modi; MODI won mostly on Hindu votes and most Muslims voted for Cong-I.

    Will India discern, take a lesson from this sequence of events and leave Sri Lanka to manage their own affairs? I will like to see you write about Indian atrocities in Kashmir and in the North Eastern States.

  • 0
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    If Mr Sirisena thinks Prime Minister Modi is the best role model, Mr Sirisena would have better take Velupunde Prabahkaran as a role model. Both characters have blood on their hands for their generations to suffer in racial killings. Obviously Mr Sirisena describes self as a man from the village, I think Sri Lankan public has better understandings than this ‘village modaya’. He will commit SL to trade deals with India for worst quality goods like poor quality sub standard vehicles other countries have banned imports, poor quality medicines that is made in India with no quality control. SL is flooded with Indian medicines that has no therapeutic quality, medical practitioners prescribe as they are heavily publicised gratuities offered. 100 % heroin imported to SL come from India, that is one of the biggest export earners in India, which is not discussed or investigated by SL customs. Yes they nab the unfortunate drug mules who import least quantities, that is the ploy of crooked illicit drug exporters to distract the customs.

  • 0
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    Missed the bus as usual. Modi with his Hindu Extremism and Shiv Sena was the role model for Mahinda and his Sinhala Buddhism and Bodu Bala Sena.

    This time we gotta ourselves a Sri Lankan – not a Sinhala Buddhist – and we do not need any anti democratic and anti minority “ROLE MODELS” from India! I hope you got that LOUD and CLEAR Harry me boy?

  • 0
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    No leader should emulate another, or follow his example, in any way. Modi is no saint, and certainly seems to have a reputation for looking the other way when minorities are attacked, or their places of worship destroyed. Do we really need someone like that? The previous regime here fitted into that mould and we had an open season on minorities, in Sri Lanka. Maithripala Sirisena should independently be a leader of uniquely his own style, policies, and image. Not a shadow of some other leader, who does not relate to Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    Col: HAriharan:

    If india needs Sri lankan public trust, Ask Modi to get Sri lanka to abolish the 13th amendment.

    By that way, India can win a lot more than by just brining up stupid argument which you think everybody in Sri lanka is dumb and only you indians understands what is right.

  • 0
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    Jim Softly said it best. 13A was forced on Sri Lanka by India. Colonel Harijanharan must first accept that fact. Then he must accept the fact that India armed and trained tamil separatism long before the gory riots of 1983. There is this arrogant wing of N.Indian Brahmin policy makers who think SL should be like landlocked Nepal with its Bihari illegal immigrants in the plains and Bhutan. No, Sri Lanka was always independent of India and do not have pacts to let India dictate its foreign policy or defense policy. So back of Colonel and go have glass of your favorite Kingfisher beer or something. Modi is NOT a role model for our President. Our President should be a role model for India. Modi started off in RSS which is a far cry from the communist party which breaks down class barriers. RSS is all about your backward caste structure and maintaining that backward Hindu lifestyle. Modi never could get a visa to go to USA until he became PM. Queer facts no? Take your illegal Indian immigrants back to India. Also remember it was the Indian Tamils brought as slave labour by the goddamned British that upset the demographic patterns of Sri Lanka forever.

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