27 November, 2020

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Sri Lanka Security Perspectives: September 2015

By R Hariharan

 Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Sirisena consolidates his power

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe consolidated their hold on power by luring some of the senior members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to join the national unity government. This had dissipated the effectiveness of SLFP to function as the main opposition party. As a result, the speaker nominated the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R Sampanthan as the opposition leader in a welcome gesture to the Tamil minority.

The President’s political exercise has created a jumbo cabinet with 47 members of cabinet rank (including the president and the prime minister), 19 state ministers and 23 deputy ministers. Thus out the 225 members of parliament, as many as 88 members are occupying ministerial chairs! Though the Sirisena regime has ensured its stability by accommodating various political and regional interests within the power structure, its adverse effects on the quality of governance remains an open question.

President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and their loyalists are controlling the portfolios like defence, finance, home affairs, external affairs and policy planning. This would enable them to continue with the reform agenda. However, the presence of some of the tainted SLFP members facing corruption allegations in ministerial appointments has clouded the sincerity of the government’s promise to get rid of corruption and take action against the corrupt.

Maithripala Ranil W Piv Via MS's FBIn yet another step to improve governance, the government announced the formation of the Constitutional Council (CC). This was in accordance with the 19th Amendment of the Constitution which was adopted in the parliament to ensure transparency in appointing members for nine independent commissions (i.e., electoral commission, bribery commission etc). However, the first meeting of the 10-member CC on Septemebr 10, 2015 was attended only by six of the seven members of parliament (including the speaker, the prime minister, leader of the opposition and three ministers). The other four members expected to join the CC shortly include the nominee of the opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and three civil society nominees – Dr AT Ariyaratne, former UN Under-Secretary General Ms Radhika Coomaraswamy and President’s Counsel Shibly Aziz.

Sri Lanka PM’s visit to New Delhi

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe after assuming office made his maiden visit to New Delhi from September 14 to 16. During the visit he met with his counterpart Narendra Modi, external affairs minister Ms Sushma Swaraj, President Pranab Muhkerjee and minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari.

The two prime ministers are believed to have discussed issues related to bilateral trade and defence cooperation. Addressing a joint press conference after their talks, Modi described it as a historic year for India-Sri Lanka relations because “Sri Lanka has voted twice this year for change, reforms, reconciliation and progress.” He assured India’s full support to Sri Lanka’s new government. Modi added “we recognize our closely aligned security interests and the need to remain sensitive to each other’s concerns. We both reaffirmed our commitment to deepen our defence cooperation.” Wickremesinghe reciprocating the sentiments said the two countries had to improve trade and increase security forces cooperation in the Indian Ocean. Though they made no specific reference to Tamil minority issues or to the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), probably both issues figured in their talks. Sri Lanka media went on overdrive after Indian minister Gadkari spoke of discussing a proposal to construct a land-tunnel link between India and Sri Lanka with the Sri Lankan prime minister; however, Colombo denied holding any talks with India on this issue.

Sri Lanka resolution at the UNHRC

The UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein presented the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHR) on the follow up action on the UNHRC resolution Sri Lanka’s 2012 at the Council meeting. The OCHR report was based on the “principal findings of the OCHR investigations on Sri Lanka (OISL)” which were included in the report.

The report was a scathing indictment of the conduct of both the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE during the years preceding, during and after the Eelam War resulting in gross violations of human rights, killing of innocent civilians and prisoners, enforced disappearances and alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka army and the Tamil Tigers. However, the report recognised the cooperative attitude of the Sri Lanka government to the UN efforts and the series of actions it had taken to improve governance overcoming the aberrations of the past. Pointing out the failure of the Rajapaksa government to conduct an impartial investigation into the allegations, Prince Zeid recommended the setting up of an international hybrid mechanism to investigate the allegations and monitor further action. Both foreign and local judges would participate in the hybrid court.

In Sri Lanka, the proposed hybrid mechanism drew a lot of flak on the constitutional impropriety in having foreign judges presiding over domestic courts as well as on the issue of violation of Sri Lankan sovereignty. Not surprisingly, former president Rajapaksa came out strongly against the revised draft.

Sri Lanka would prefer to have a purely domestic process due to political sensitivities in international involvement in such a process. It would also pave way for former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to whip up nationalist sentiments and use them as a ploy to come back to power. However, the Sirisena government knows it has to agree to an internationally acceptable inquiry as Sri Lanka’s credibility both at home and abroad on this issue has been eroded. So its stand had been to agree for holding an internationally acceptable domestic inquiry and not any international inquiry.

After hectic diplomatic parleys, in a bid to evolve a consensus last week the US presented a fresh draft resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka. The revised US draft tones down the exact nature of foreign participation while retaining it in a domestic mechanism, though it recognizes the serious nature of the allegations as well as the failure of Sri Lanka to act upon them as required by earlier UNHRC resolutions.

The TNA chief and opposition leader Sampanthan, acting with pragmatism rather than playing for the gallery, has welcomed the draft. In an interview to The Hindu he said the draft addressed the main issues of accountability and reconciliation. The involvement of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence counsel, prosecutors and investigators would give the judicial process much greater credibility, he added. Tamil Diaspora has been divided over the US resolution. Though some of the diehard erstwhile supporters of the LTTE have criticised it, many agree with Sampanthan that this was the best possible resolution that could have been achieved. And only a consensus resolution could make its honest implementation possible.

Not unexpectedly, Tamil Nadu political parties have demanded a purely international investigation to do justice to Sri Lankan Tamils. However, Indian external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup has made clear that India would support the revised US draft. This was expected as India had always been on principle opposed to the role of foreign judges in internal conflicts.

The spokesman commenting on the issue after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Sirisena met on the sidelines of the UN general assembly meeting in New York, said “Our position is very clear. We stand for justice and at the same time we are respectful of the Sri Lankan sovereignty issues to the extent the Sri Lankan government is comfortable with the formulation that marries the two.”

*Col R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, served with the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka as Head of Intelligence 1987-90. He is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-Mail: colhari@yahoo.com Blog: http://col.hariharan.info

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Latest comments

  • 3
    4

    Don’t worry broom stick MUSTACHE ….because of your poverty India`s foolish policy in SL Tamil affaires soon Indian ships have to get permission from Greater China to sail in Indian ocean good ?

    Soon Chinese troops will enter Rameswaram AND HAVE PICNICS there like what they do in Arunachal Pradesh now ..only after they leave your politicians will bark in Delhi Parliament (World`s Biggest for Home for age People …correct?

    Remember the warning to your ex-vesti clad Malayali Defense Minister got from Chinese General during his visit to Beijing?

    Remember the recent comment by Chinese Spokesman to your so called Indian journalist saying Indian Ocean is not poverty India`s back yard?

    Cheers

  • 3
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    “Sri Lanka would prefer to have a purely domestic process due to political sensitivities in international involvement in such a process.” – Col Hariharan

    Prof. Francis A Boyle is quoted as follows on this matter, by Tamilnet today:-

    “Pursuant thereto, Operative Paragraph 6 of the Resolution calls for nothing more than the Genocidal Sri Lanka to set up a Domestic “Judicial” Mechanism dressed up with a transparent fig-leaf of international participation in order to cover-up and do damage control and damage limitation for the GOSL Genocide against the Eelam Tamils.

    “Domestic Mechanisms do not work and cannot work within the context of genocide, crimes against humanity and massive war crimes: The Nazis against the Jews; the Serbs against the Bosnians; the Hutus against the Tutsis. All required International Criminal Tribunals to bring Justice to the Victims. The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka likewise requires an International Criminal Tribunal to bring Justice to the Eelam Tamils.

    “History teaches that this GOSL Domestic Mechanism will fail. And for the reasons set forth by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in his Report, the GOSL Genocide against the Eelam Tamils will ‘recur.’

    “I call upon all Tamils everywhere in the world not to be deceived by this Human Rights Chicanery perpetrated upon the Eelam Tamils by the self-styled UN Human Rights Council.”

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      GET A LIFE OR EAT TAMILNET FOR BREAKFAST!

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    “”Sri Lanka media went on overdrive after Indian minister Gadkari spoke of discussing a proposal to construct a land-tunnel link between India and Sri Lanka with the Sri Lankan prime minister; however, Colombo denied holding any talks with India on this issue.””

    This is inevitable, its southern plateau/plate has to be reinforced and the idea is not new but from Maratha period of 16th centenary.

    On the other hand it stops a Tsunami from spreading to Maldives too which is very vulnerable and SL would be compassionate to assist its little bondi-aluwa neighbour
    (at Hong Kong around 8000 people live in a square kilometer- thats what the island is going to be for the mainland and if the buruva don’t sleep it could have all the life or become a hippy/heroin hideout for Hela.)
    Can’t be a dog in the manger like Pakistan stopping Iranian gas reaching Hindia (Hindia has created its own enemies so far with rope twist RAW (rowdy arse woopy)the mother of all stepfathers that stupidly conceived the cannibal tiger.

  • 2
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    “”This was expected as India had always been on principle opposed to the role of foreign judges in internal conflicts.””

    With several international war criminals at RAW from China, Pakistan, Lanka wars of stupidity and arrogance- Its expected of you to `reinforce chaddi` in the image of your master without whose seepage even russia or china are unable to survive.

    So when are you sending neo ltte babies to lanka to fill the gota left??

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    Perhaps you could do us a favor and let us know what you know best- the extent of the war crimes committed by IPKF in the NorthEast.

  • 2
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    Tamils won’t stop their arrogance.

    India is very lenient on Tamils. India was not as harsh on Tamil as India was on Sikhs.

    Because of that, Tamils are so arrogant on India and trying to over power Sri lanka.

    they are little doggies only to the west.

  • 4
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    The callous attitude shown by you all one day will reward heavily.

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      There is no Tamil in India. It is Tamil and English.

      Once Caste-ism is destroyed so are the Tamils.

  • 1
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    Today we learn more about Indira Gandhi’s unfriendly acts and how she used the RAW (in Ceylon Today) to release Prabhakaran and Maheswaran from custody. This week we also have seen how India is trying to control Nepal, by blocking their imports. Will they have to look to China?

  • 0
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    Colonel did Romanian Empress, Queen Sonia too read the OSIL report like you. Man, did Her Excellency worked out the formula so far with the Old King how to share murdered victims Changili Kaapu, Thalikodi…?

    “This was expected as India had always been on principle opposed to the role of foreign judges in internal conflicts.” Could you me on what principles PM Manmohan said that “if we tell, Sri Lanka is not listing, What can we do? That is because those days India was inside the Lankawe map and Old King was ruling Sonia too?

    It was an original Saiyee’s art of magic of bringing out Thiruneeru when you started with Ranil and New King consolidating the power and ending with
    “Our position is very clear. We stand for justice and at the same time we are respectful of the Sri Lankan sovereignty issues to the extent the Sri Lankan government is comfortable with the formulation that marries the two.” which make one to feel like did another May 2009 resolution!

    Thank god, Old King is gone, otherwise at every resolution time he start with “investigating India’s war crime in Sri Lanka” to get it move and thawing the resolution. This time it was a little bit relaxation from the squeezing hand of the Old King, isn’t it?

  • 0
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    Thank you for the article. I find that they always present a moderate and balanced view, and I find them highly informative.

  • 1
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    Sri Lanka will breathe a lot easier if your Hinduvta Maharaja does not engage in arming, training, financing tamil terrorist separatism like the Kashimiri Brahmin Hindu Gandhi Indira and her son Rajiv did, Buddy Hariharan.

    Then also you might also tell Tamil illegals not to come overstay their visas being coolies, paddy harvesters, waiters and enjoy paradise island and its creature comforts because of the highly backward Casteist oppressive system in Tamil Nadu.

    You might also tell TN not to deploy their Fishing fleets which employ bottom trawling methods and steal our fish.

    You might also one of these days get your head out of your &&& and be honest about Indian role first in arming terrorists, Dixit the dipshit Viceroy, RAW and then finally at the end the positive Indian role of allowing Sri Lanka to wipe out Tamil Tiger scum. No bombs, no suicide bombers, no terror, no checkpoints since May 2009. India did allow the wiping out to happen and blocked the US from interfering because Manmohan Singh had enough of TN tantrums and the LTTE fanaticism. Ipso Facto Hariharan; ponder over that over an Old Monk XXX Rum when you wax your broomhandle colonial style moustache.

  • 5
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    R.Hariharan

    Sri Lanka Security Perspectives: September 2015

    Sirisena consolidates his power:

    *** Colonel what we had at the UN last week was not Justice but a fudge over the issue of the Credibilty of the UN. I am sure Prince Zeid was genuine in his effort to bring the perpetrators to justice but there was a determined effort by two nations to undermine his authority.

    One was USA ( influnced by the Powerful jewish Lobby) the other India both with their own hidden agenda. I will leave you to work it out.

    As for Artice I want to pick up on couple of things.

    1) President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and their loyalists are controlling the portfolios like defence, finance, home affairs, external affairs and policy planning. This would enable them to continue with the reform agenda. However, the presence of some of the tainted SLFP members facing corruption allegations in ministerial appointments has clouded the sincerity of the government’s promise to get rid of corruption and take action against the corrupt.

    *** You dont need to be a Rocket Scientis to work out why. MS has given his assurances to MR that he will spare him from any charges of Genocide and hence the inclusin of Corrupt Members. This shows that MS & RW are not genuine in a clean up opertaion.

    2) Not unexpectedly, Tamil Nadu political parties have demanded a purely international investigation to do justice to Sri Lankan Tamils. However, Indian external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup has made clear that India would support the revised US draft. This was expected as India had always been on principle opposed to the role of foreign judges in internal conflicts.

    *** India has always been against foreign involvement as India fears being implicated in the Genocide. India helped Sinhala Lanka with men and material including chemical weapons. Any one who saw the bodies of LTTE fighters would have seen the striking similarities with HALABJA when Sadam gassed the Kurds and America went to war over it. But here we can see Americas double standards and failed policies which created the Monster the ISLAMIC STATE.

    The spokesman commenting on the issue after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Sirisena met on the sidelines of the UN general assembly meeting in New York, said “Our position is very clear. We stand for justice and at the same time we are respectful of the Sri Lankan sovereignty issues to the extent the Sri Lankan government is comfortable with the formulation that marries the two.”

    *Col R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, served with the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka as Head of Intelligence 1987-90. He is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-Mail: colhari@yahoo.com Blog: http://col.hariharan.info
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