20 May, 2022

Blog

Why Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth!

By Austin Fernando

Austin Fernando

The media has revealed the finalisation of three defence-related agreements between Sri Lanka and India and arrangements to bolster the capabilities of Sri Lanka’s armed forces and boost cooperation for maritime security. With love from New Delhi!’

Minister Jaishankar’s well-timed visit overlaps with the finalization of these agreements, though the stated objective of the visit is the participation at the BIMSTEC (the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) summit hosted by Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Indian attitudes on security

The underlying Indian concerns of defence and security (as told by Avatar Singh Bhasin) of small states in the region falling within India’s security perimeter are:

(a) must not follow policies impinging on Indian regional security concerns; (b) they should not seek to invite outside power(s); (c) they should look to India for any needed assistance, and (d) immediate neighbours would serve as buffer states in the event of an extra-regional threat and not proxies of the outside powers.

When security assistance is provided, the above-mentioned conditions are taken into consideration by India.

Latest security interventions

According to media reports, the proposed security arrangements include the acquisition of two Dornier aircraft (for Goast Guard duties and maritime surveillance), a 4,000-tonne naval floating dock by Sri Lanka, and cooperation with an Indian security establishment.

The floating dock is a facility equipped with automated systems for quality and swift repairs of warships. We do not own so many warships, and we have not been in maritime battles since the defeat of Sea Tigers but will own a floating dock.

This is when the Minister of Foreign Relations Prof. GL Peiris questioning the critics, at Lord Michael Naseby’s book launch (i.e., Paradise Lost Paradise Regained) whether there is any security threat here to declare a travel advisory in visiting Sri Lanka. True we are so safe in the Regained Paradise of Lord Naseby, while we are gifted with hardware for security when we are screaming for dollars to survive. Of course, we are happy and thankful that India provided 1.5 billion dollars and pledged of another billion dollars. So, why look a gift horse in the mouth?

A naval liaison officer will be posted at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) and in Colombo for effective cooperation. This centre tracks merchant shipping and monitors threats such as maritime terrorism and piracy in regional waters, which appear incredibly positive for regional security, though our government’s participation in the said objectives of the quoted Center is low.

A finer dissection of these components will reveal that the components of the three projects are in line with the above-mentioned four concerns, very much in India’s favour. It is popularly said in Sinhala that one does not gather a beehive to lick one’s fingers.

In general, our concern about regional security is comparatively negligible. However, for India, threats are serious. Maritime coverage from Colombo, Hambantota (even without entry to the harbor) and Trincomalee ensures security for Indians via the Indian Ocean Sea Lane off Sri Lanka’s southern coastline and the Bay of Bengal.

Here, China enters the scene. We must bear in mind that China imports over half of its oil, transiting an estimated 70—85% of its imported oil supply through the Malacca Straits from oil-rich nations via the Indian Ocean shipping lanes. President Hu Jintao referred to this predicament as “the Malacca Dilemma!” No wonder India, probably with the knowledge of the US, has taken this Malacca Dilemma into consideration, is acting accordingly.

A week ago, we, the southernmost ‘buffer state,’ were at the South Block begging for dollars from Ministers Jaishankar, Madam Seetharaman, and later from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sri Lanka received a billion and a half dollars, and India wishes to get more on business and security. The excellent security cum economic scenario is methodically planned and executed by strategist Minister Dr. Jaishankar, whom we could learn from. Remember, India does not want to settle for ‘licking fingers’!

Who is secured?

One may wonder why such largesse defence/security/military assistance to Sri Lanka. Are we being pressured to acquire such military sophistication, e. g., a floating dock? The naval floating dock is a facility equipped with automated systems for the quality and swift repairs of warships. Such docks can lift large ships such as frigates and destroyers and are designed to berth alongside a jetty or moored in calm waters to conduct repairs of ships.

Dornier aircraft and intelligence and information sharing cooperation will help us, though it will cost 29.4 million dollars at a time the President is struggling to find dollars to pay for fuel! Nothing is heard of engaging Dronier craft to manage illicit, forced fishing in the Palk Bay. Mixed-up priorities? Of course, the beggars can’t be choosers, and he who pays the piper is said to call the tune.

Since the perceived security threat in the IOR for us is low, one may think India is trying to use Sri Lanka as a buffer state “in the event of an extra-regional threat.” The scope of these components must be expanded to understand the Indian security concerns. The extra-regional threat of Bhasin is pre-identified (i. e., China), and the buffer state has to adjust to receiving assistance.

India is threatened by Pakistan in the west, the Chinese in Ladakh with minor irritants from Nepal in the Kalapani area, refugee movements in the eastern borders, and so on.   India is free from such issues in the south, and this assistance can be considered mostly to ensure the perpetuity of a “no-trouble zone” in the IOR.

The US has recently pledged financial support amounting to USD 19 million for renewable energy. The Adani Group has won two renewable projects in Pooneryn and Mannar. Indians are reported to have pledged another USD one billion. This shows how Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is being addressed to their benefit by the Indians and the US. More assistance may flow in, but certainly, Sri Lanka will be under pressure to opt for security cooperation with donors, whoever it is.

India and US Agreements

For security and defence, some agreements have been reached between the US and India. Namely, they are the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) signed on 27 Oct. 2020, and two agreements signed earlier — the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) for enhanced military cooperation between the two countries. Since both countries have common interests in the Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific, let us summarily look at these agreements.

BECA will help India get access to American geospatial intelligence that enhances the accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones. It will help India access topographical and aeronautical data, and advanced products that will aid in navigation and targeting. The sharing of information on maps and satellite images will be useful.

LEMOA was signed in August 2016. It allows the militaries of the US and India to replenish from each other’s bases, and access supplies, spare parts, and services from each other’s land facilities, air bases, and ports, which can be reimbursed later.

COMCASA, signed in September 2018, allows the US to provide India with its encrypted communications equipment and systems so that Indian and US military commanders, and aircraft and ships of both countries, can communicate through secure networks during times of war and peace. The COMCASA paved the way for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India to facilitate “interoperability” between their forces.

India has enhanced security and defence cooperation since skirmishes with the Chinese military along with the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. They cooperate at all levels in the areas of intelligence and military activities. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on External Affairs Minister Jaishankar; National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval has been communicating with the US NSA Robert C O’Brien, and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark A Milley has been in communication with Chief of Defence Staff (late) Gen Bipin Rawat. The US Secretary of Defense Mark T Esper has concurrently held discussions with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

On 20 March 2021, Minister Rajnath Singh said at a press briefing with the new US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin present: “We reviewed the wide gamut of bilateral and multilateral exercises and agreed to pursue enhanced cooperation with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Central Command, and Africa Command. Acknowledging that we have in place the foundational agreements, LEMOA, COMCASA, and BECA, we discussed the steps to be taken to realize their full potential for mutual benefit.” It signals that the change of guard in the US has not changed the defence relationships.

Secretary Defense Austin declared, “We discussed opportunities to elevate the U.S.-India major defense partnership, which is a priority of the Biden-Harris administration. And we’ll do that through regional security cooperation and military-to-military interactions and defense trade. In addition, we are continuing to advance new areas of collaboration, including information sharing and logistics, artificial intelligence, and cooperation in new domains such as space and cyber.” It shows that there has been no change, but enhancement of cooperation instead, and we may become pawns in this defence chess game.

The gain reviewed

These new equipment (as we lay people understand from the media) are to service the military, and collect, collate, and mutually share information. It is not yet understood what other commitments are standing. Maybe there are overarching provisions in these above-mentioned agreements with compulsions to share any security information gathered from a third party. If it is so, the current arrangements will expose us and may push Sri Lanka to turn to countries that are hostile to India. Anyhow, technically we may not be able to control Indians sharing information. Everything will depend on trust.

Though this equipment reaches us due to a temporary dollar crisis, it is not the only international problem we have. Further, even after the dollar crisis is over it will not be easy to change the agreements, since India’s security problems will not disappear. One may recall ill-will that the withdrawal of the Indian Peace Keeping Force. Hence the need for caution.

How a ‘friendly’ country could exhibit ‘unfriendliness’ was seen in India’s response to the UNHRC in the recent past. Further, imagine what will happen if China and Russia do not use their veto power in support of Sri Lanka at a critical juncture.

We can learn from India how to manage a critical situation. Of course, India, being a crucial player in international politics, may do things that we cannot even dream of. However, I could relate to how India manages the US, which wants India to move away from Russian equipment and platforms, probably to guard against exposure of technology to Russia. But India has been purchasing the S-400 air defence missile system from Russia.

The same happened when President Trump evinced interest in the Article 370 issue as regards Kashmir; Indians told him in no uncertain terms that it was an “internal affair.” Sri Lanka cannot afford to be so abrupt or abrasive. As was seen when the Indians dropped food in June 1987, no major power will support us in case of a disagreement with New Delhi.

Lesson learnt

What is playing out on the economic front here will make us more beholden to India, which will not allow us freedom of action. Pray for the opposite! I say so with experience with Indians, though the event is nineteen years old. It was regarding the refurbishment of Palaly Air Base. I was Secretary/ Ministry of Defence then.

The Air Base at Palaly required refurbishment due to excessive use during the conflict. Though the need was essential, the then government faced financial difficulties. Therefore, we explored foreign assistance. Consequently, I tried to obtain money through the Indian Line of Credit.

Upon my request, the SLAF selected a local contractor to undertake this job- a government subsidiary under the Ministry of Highways. An Indian team agreed on the arrangements. The Minister of Defence also concurred.

Problems emerged in the process of finalisation. Captain M. Gopinath, Defence Attaché of the Indian High Commission discussed the problems with me. The issues were related to the security concerns of India, and were as follows:

(a) The first request was to give preference to India in the case of further work on the runway in the future.

(b) The second request was that no other country should be permitted to conduct any military operation from the Palaly runway.

(c) The third condition was for us to permit India to use the runway if required.

I understood their concern about China or Pakistan using the Air Base. Such an eventuality would compromise the security of Indian nuclear installations and military facilities. Our concern was the impending constraints we would face if we were to get Chinese or Pakistani assistance to fight the terrorists having agreed to the second demand. Lacking such freedom amounts to an erosion of our sovereignty.

My understanding from the discussion with our political authorities was that the demand made by the Indian High Commission was a tall order for a sovereign country. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe rightly quoted from the exchange of letters between PM Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayewardene that would settle this issue without complications.

This strategy and outcome may serve as a guide in dealing with another similar situation. Circumstances may be different because we are in a worse predicament regarding dollars, but the authorities concerned must be mindful of the repercussions of current actions and Indian approaches.

Foreign influence

This attitude, as well as approach, may have intensified within the last two decades when we experienced growing Chinese influence on security, politics, finances of nations in trouble including Sri Lanka. Indians will be Indians, and they will insist on many things which could not be challenged by us, because of the foreign exchange crisis. Similarly, the Chinese will go all out to promote their Belt and Roads Initiative.

It could be seen from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s change of heart after Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s Indian visit in search of dollars; he has agreed to consider the TNA demands favourably! We are not aware of what else the government has agreed to in respect of the Palk Bay fishing, the 13th Amendment, Provincial Council elections, release of prisoners in custody, etc.

Conclusion

Critics have raised questions about the Indian intentions and whether we are being drawn into a conflict zone because the relations between countries in tow with India, (e.g., the US, Australia, Japan, the Maldives, etc.,) and China have turned sour. Is Sri Lanka being placed on a collision course with China? If so, we need to avoid such eventuality due to other negative situations that may arise. Balancing relationships is a must. However, as for Indians what is happening now would mean that we have entertained Bhasin’s four concerns about Indians.

Balancing national security, borrowed dollars, international relations, etc., is a high-wire act Sri Lanka has to accomplish.

*The writer is the former High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in India and Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 6
    14

    Austen it is the USA with its democracy and fake Human rights narratives that we should fear. US citizen Basil and Goat are responsible like US puppet Bondscam Ranil of the UNP for the Economic Debacle in Sri Lanka. But there is a regime change operation against PM Imran Khan in Pakistan right now because he visited Russia and supported Mr. Putins’ push back against the NATO bullies.

    Sri Lanka has been subject to Economic Warfare by the US Deepstate, since the CIA’s ISIS claimed Easter attacks 2019 on tourism, followed by 2 year of Covid-19 fear and biowarfare media messaging promoting economically destructive Lock downs with US citizens Goat and Basil at the helm to debt trap and force Lanka into the IMF and MCC project. US has also accessed Sri Lanka’s Energy Sectors through Gota’s midnight deal on Yugadhanavi and wants to control it for its war machine in the IOR. But Lanka should dump the Petro dollar and IMF and buy oil, gas and jet fuel from Russia and have an independent economic policy.

    • 5
      13

      Why is there a CIA regime change operation in Pakistan against Prime Minister Imran Khan NOW?
      He protected the Pakistan economy and people by refusing economically devestating Covid lockdowns recommended by UN and USAID and did not spend billions on useless Pfizer injections!

      His visit to Russia and friendship with China,. This is why there is a CIA regime change operation against him, while the US citizens Rajapakses who have destroyed Lanka are happily supported by UNP’s Ranil WIckramasinghe another US puppet.
      Why no one including JVP has asked for of the uneducated US citizen Basil who is Minister of Economic Disaster in this Miracle of Modayas to go back to LA and Lanka needs to cease his assets??!
      Basil is Washington’s and the IMF Economic Hit man for the MCC project too..

      • 10
        1

        While I am sure the US is guilty of many things, it is very easy to blame them for everything that goes wrong in every country, like we see here. The US will not want Imran Khan replaced by a more conservative party, and have the risk of Khan being replaced by leaders who support extremists.

        “Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is facing the biggest political crisis of his career as the opposition prepares to move a no-confidence motion against Khan in parliament and bring down his government, which has ruled the country since August 2018.”

        “The move to oust Khan is led by the main opposition parties, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PMLN) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

        Khan, who came to power on a platform of anti-corruption and other political reforms in Pakistan, has denounced the opposition as a “gang of thieves” in vitriolic public addresses, and has promised to defeat the no-confidence vote.”

        This is an internal matter, a power grab, and everything cannot be blamed on the US, who would not want Pakistan to end up a nation led by hard line religious groups.

        • 11
          2

          If our leaders had the intelligence to take up the opportunities that came our way, instead of cultivating pig- headed chauvinism, we wouldn’t be in this disastrous situation. The CEPA should have been signed long ago, over the objections of those like Weerawansa and Padeniya. It could have progressed to a currency union, preventing the catastrophic free-fall of the LKR. There was a proposal for grid inter-connectivity (raised again by Modi yesterday) That would have alleviated our power supply problems, via the nuclear power stations in Tamilnadu. We could have negotiated on equal terms. Now we have to go as supplicant beggars.
          Ignorant chauvinists who see Indian plots behind everything prevented any progressive developments even when leaders like Ranil were in power. Is our electorate so dumb that they believe jackasses like Weerawansa and Padeniya over Ranil?

          • 0
            0

            Well said. It is sick mindset of Sinhalese to suspect everyone, and seems their inferiority complex let them down.

        • 0
          0

          A, you say
          “The US will not want Imran Khan replaced by a more conservative party, and have the risk of Khan being replaced by leaders who support extremists.”
          *
          Have we forgotten how the US has played ball with all manner of religious fundamentalists and extremists.
          What it wants is to subdue Pakistan, and any means will justify that end.

  • 4
    4

    (a) must not follow policies impinging on Indian regional security concerns
    ——————
    I heard from an Indian officer who works for their coast guard.
    While he admitted that fishermen from India sometimes stray into Lankan waters, he also claimed that the SL navy was often straying into Indian waters.
    He said they had complained to the Indian government and navy about this, but they dont seem to care.
    This further proves that this whole ‘national and geopolitical rivalry’ thing is only a show for the general public to be fooled by.
    All nations are ruled by the serpent seeds of cain (tares), through freemasonry.
    They want WW3, in order to reduce the human population (non-masons) and offer their deaths as a mass sacrifice ritual to satan (the main reason for wars).

    • 7
      1

      SS,
      “They want WW3, in order to reduce the human population (non-masons)”
      Okayyy. What about carpenters? Electricians? One country one law.

    • 2
      2

      SS
      “must not follow policies impinging on Indian regional security concerns”
      That is a pretty broad brush!
      *
      “While he admitted that fishermen from India sometimes stray into Lankan waters, he also claimed that the SL navy was often straying into Indian waters.”
      What a comparison!
      A systematic raid by a flotilla of trawlers with bottom trawling nets is balanced by a few fishing boats straying across the marine boundary.
      Truly amazing logic.

  • 7
    1

    Making desperate deals with the devils, and asking for even more trouble for Sri Lanka. Maybe Nirupama should sell all those paintings and and help feed some starving families here. If only the Rajapaksa assets could be frozen like Putin and his oligarchs, and those billions of dollars used to help those needing urgent medical care, buy oil for our thermal generators, or help our kids sit for exams.
    The real estate that they own all over the world, must be worth something.

    Rajapaksa’s = nepotism, cronyism, unqualified officials in the administration, corruption, mismanagement, and inefficiency.

    For those who voted for this miserable lot, how is that working for you now?

    Sri Lanka’s never ending nightmare.

  • 1
    3

    Balancing national security, borrowed dollars, international relations, etc., is a high-wire act Sri Lanka has to accomplish.

    Some countries urging Sri Lanka to extend “vocal support” for the on going conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this proposal is due borrowing demands, Sri lanka can show the present Shadow/situation to avoid being drag to waves of taking sides means light a candle to cast a shadow,
    who can work this Mathematics express Precaution.

  • 3
    9

    Oh, yes, do not look at a gift horse in the mouth. Look at its belly. Then, you will see Americans hiding inside the horse’s belly with SOFA, ACSA, MCC agreements in hand. They have used the Indian horse to enter Sri Lanka legally. Earlier, the US planned to construct a bioweapon laboratory in Sri Lanka under the guise of an MCC project. Russia has found bioweapon laboratories in Ukraine. Therefore, the US may be desperate to find other countries to construct a new bioweapon laboratory. It’s so dangerous. I urge all Sinhalese Buddhists to use their utmost strength to stop a new MCC project and protest against all proposed defence agreements between Sri Lanka and India. I wrote a comment about it a week ago. I will look for it and post it later.
    “Beware of Indians bearing gifts.”

    • 4
      2

      Champa,
      It seems the rates for kallathoni boats to India are going up daily. You better book yours soon. At least you can make idiotic rants from India because they don’t have 13 hour power cuts.

      • 1
        0

        If he comes to so called toiletnadu as they mocked in past they would soak in surprise ! We offer a near free half a rupee meals in Amma canteen and benefit himself to survive being a coolie here. Welcome Champa!

    • 0
      0

      Champa,
      Good morning.
      “Earlier, the US planned to construct a bioweapon laboratory in Sri Lanka under the guise of an MCC project”.
      What you are saying is that there is a shadow or ghost behind every one of these agreements and outcomes that are being contemplated!!!
      Tell us:
      1. What is the reason for the present state of the economy?
      2. Who is responsible for the current state of affairs?
      Enlighten us, but do so with credible evidence!
      Alternatively, Is it the gross incompetence of the Messiah, who got it all wrong?
      API thamai harietama Kere!!

      • 4
        2

        M
        Champa may be wrong on that count.
        But there is a serious problem with bio-weapon research that came to light in in Ukraine. Can we ignore it?
        Given the record of the abuse of hospitality by the US to set up torture chambers in other countries and develop chemical and biological weapons, it is safe to be on the alert.

        • 3
          1

          Every gift horse deserves to be looked into more than its mouth.
          We are dealing with Trojan horses.

          • 0
            1

            Only the devil’s gifts of robbery, murder and corruption are seen to be even bigger than God’ s gifts of justice, righteousness, mercy, forgiveness and truth. Kali amma brings goodies and denies God and her gifted will end in the lake of fire, leaving robbed wealth on earth.

            • 0
              0

              DTG,
              .
              where had you been ? We were just worried of you. The main problem of our people is – their vulnerability to get cheated by even any simple tricksters.
              :
              Just look at what the average add to Today’s videos even if their last cent is being looted by MEDAMULANA animals. ?
              :
              This was not new, but MAIN STREAM media covered them on and on, ignoring the danger before us. Long debt payments were known to even little ones two years ago, since RAJAPKASHE regimes have never documented them accordingly. HOwever, so called FAKE bonds scams put on the RW, misled the nation- and paved the way sons of bitches from Medamulana be back and start ruining this nation from they were stopped by 2015.
              .
              What is that SO CALLED JUDGES and LAWYERs stay yet today, as if they are made eternally blind and deaf ?

              I did not like CHAMPIKA for such a long time, but I have to give him the credit to have expressed the truth today. That is nobody else, but MAHINDA RAJAPKSHE and his adminstration should singlehandely be accoutable for the mess/and debt trap srilankens are caught by as of today.
              -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWBLPasWIPE
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NclqVkexPoM

              • 1
                1

                Dear LM
                Have you noticed how some of our CT followers are still obsessing over Putin, while Sri Lanka is in deep trouble?
                The likes of Champa, Soma and EE deserve to be treated as Traitors.
                Rajapaksas doom is coming, we need to treat the above 3 with extreme prejudice, never do we need such cussed bastards amongst us.
                At this time we need to think about is who should be given the helm to navigate these treacherous times.
                CBK comes to mind, she is a world recognised leader. During her time we had a war going, yet our country never ran out of essentials.
                She knows the game, she will play it well. The world will listen to her. No other person has the credibility or the pedigree she has.

                • 0
                  1

                  Human touch
                  Check your own comments in the archives and see for yourself how you insulted and degraded me whenever I write about Sri Lanka’s situation. It is I who decide what I write, not you!
                  .
                  A very quick message to Russia – Do not agree to anything with Ukraine regarding Donbass and Crimea regions until you see my comment about the history of Crimea. The security agreement proposed by the Ukrainian officials is deceiving and totally contradictory to their other proposal, neutrality of Ukraine. I will give my “unsolicited advice”. It is up to you to decide. (The other article is closed for comments.)

                • 0
                  0

                  Human touch
                  You ask LM, “Have you noticed how some of our CT followers are still obsessing over Putin, while Sri Lanka is in deep trouble?”
                  “The likes of Champa….”
                  Regrettably, I have no room for any more obsessions. I am already obsessed with reading, history and old maps. I don’t need history books. By looking at ancient maps, I can tell the story.
                  Before I was dragged into the “Russia-Ukraine conflict”, for months, I was looking at an upside down world map trying to figure out why the Northern region was on my ancestors’ radar. I looked at Russia and Canada on my upside down map and thought they should have some mysteries related to the beginning of the human race or at least 100,000 years old history concealed from the world. (I am yet to ‘explore’ Canada.) Thanks to President Putin, I found out something unique. A connection to ancient history of that part of the world. Some other countries are also involved.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Human touch
                    If my attempt to engage Russia to avoid WWIII is seen as an obsession, I agree. I am obsessed with peace. Do you have any problem with that?
                    On a separate matter, as long as Donbass/DPR/LPR and Crimea regions are under Russia’s administration, the world can avoid WWIII. (Russia’s Defence Ministry officials revealed that drawing attention to Kyiv was a military tactic and that their focus was on Donbass.)
                    President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to protect the sovereignty and independence of Russia at the expense of NATO-brain-washed, NATO-funded, NATO-trained, NATO-militarized and almost-combat-ready Ukraine may be arbitrary, but easily understandable.
                    The only short-term solution to the ”current conflict” between Russia and Ukraine is,
                    i) a Proclamation of Neutrality by the Ukrainian Parliament (in other words, agreeing to be a buffer state between Europe and Russia), and,
                    ii) a new MINSK PROTOCOL-III recognizing Donbass and Crimea as regions under Russia’s administration (based on historical rights, of course) and, thereby placing the responsibility on Russia to maintain them as non-military regions. Simple logic.
                    The only long term solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and also to avoid WWIII in future is an “East-West Peace Treaty”. (200-words, dead. I’ll be back.)

    • 0
      0

      I hope Russia is ready for the “big attack” that I mentioned the other day. Some things are happening behind the scenes. I wish for global peace. I think US arms dealers are not happy with peace talks. Ukraine also provides a good place to test arms and ammunition. I feel sorry for them. Russia shouldn’t be provoked. I don’t know what to say to Russia, except “Please show compassion in victory”.

    • 0
      0

      I think Russia can relax. If there was any external threat, it has passed. The US has announced that it has cancelled a previously scheduled ballistic missile testing to avoid misinterpretation. I had no idea what the USF-15E fighter jets were doing on the western border of Ukraine other than trying to escalate the situation in Ukraine. Is there a communication gap between you-know-who and who?
      If the US genuinely encourages a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, they should first stop pouring weapons to Ukraine, and stop providing training to Ukraine military in Poland. Then, the Ukraine government will genuinely focus on peace.
      If Ukraine chooses war over peace, they can’t complain of the consequences. I am not justifying Russia’s actions, but I respect President Putin’s sovereign right to protect his country from an imminent attack from NATO. His country is already threatened by NATO member countries all around the other sides of the border. Why did NATO expand itself eastwards? Because it is planning to attack Russia one day. NATO can’t expect President Putin to do nothing when they try to use Ukraine, the country that shares Russia’s border from North to South, to attack Russia.

      • 0
        0

        Sometimes, it looks like Ukraine is blackmailing NATO countries. I may be wrong. It was a thought I had from the very beginning.
        Ukraine’s President is not fond of ‘old Ukraine’. He wants a ‘new Ukraine’ that resembles Europe which he can take pride in. When Russia gave him a choice between war and peace, he chose war. When Russian troops first attacked Ukraine, he said that he would ‘rebuild’ the country. If I were him, I would tell President Putin in no uncertain terms to leave my country and my people alone for they are my life and settle any scores with me. I would not let anyone destroy my country. I still cannot understand the Ukraine President’s first response. Maybe he has no roots in Ukraine, maybe he is a dual citizen like Gotabhaya and Basil or maybe he doesn’t bother learning Ukraine’s history. My apologies to him, if I am wrong. In such a scenario, Russia has every right to claim Southern Ukraine and Crimea which had always been a part of the ancient Russian Empire, and protect those territories from being ‘westernized’ and preserve traditional Russian culture and Russian language for future generations.

  • 2
    1

    Whatever happens, we should never forget the lessons we are learning from this disaster.
    1. Religion and Religious agents have no place in politics.
    2. Supporting bad leaders on the basis of racial or religious sentiments is the beginning of the end.
    3. We should look at the attitudes of the so called leaders, not their words.
    4. Professionalism trumps popularity.
    5. We have to learn to move with the times, getting stuck in the past will keep us down.
    6. Make use of capable people to achieve results, regardless of their caste or creed.
    7. Sri Lanka is not the centre of the world, we are a tiny tiny island that is struggling to survive.
    8. Literacy these days is not about the ability read and write; it is about learning, unlearning and are re-learning.

  • 1
    0

    Austin Fernando has impeccable credentials to write this essay.

    In essence what he implies could be illustrated by that famous line……
    Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes………..

  • 2
    3

    Dear Austin, the Bereaucrat now that news of yesterday’s protest is flashed all around the world, I wonder where will you, now be looking for $ or investment ?? No right minded person will lend a penny to Sorry Lanka. Just be thankful someone is willing to help. Havent we heard and seen enough, from people like you ???

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.