Friday 12 May 2017

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
12 May 2017

The Real Motive is as per our own Truth

There is speculation about the motive behind the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, the Hon Narendra Modi, to Sri Lanka:

1.      [On his first visit to Sri Lanka in March 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a South Asian icon to be looked up to and emulated. His rise from being a humble tea boy to be the Prime Minister of a gigantic country like India, was the stuff of dreams and a beacon of hope among the disadvantaged in the entire region.
His avowed South Asian regional orientation and his “Look East” declarations gave hope of a fresh deal for India’s smaller neighbors, including Sri Lanka. No wonder Modi got a breathtaking reception in Colombo and Jaffna with manifest and spontaneous popular participation on his first visit.
But there has been a sea change since then. Two years down the line, as Modi arrives here on May 11 for a two-day visit, Sri Lankans are wary about Modi and his government, wondering whether New Delhi’s recent brazen moves on Sri Lanka have a hidden agenda to interfere with and abridge Sri Lanka’s right to choose its friends, economic partners and defense allies.]

2.      [Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has ruled out any bilateral talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his overnight visit in an apparent bid to deflect criticism from his nemesis Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sirisena's office released a speech he had made Wednesday rejecting accusations that Modi's visit was aimed at securing concessions for a business deals for Indian companies in the island.

Stung by the criticism made from Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Galle Face May-Day platform, Sirisena attempted to play down the high profile Modi visit saying it was only aimed at spiritual and Buddhist matters and nothing political nor related to trade and investments.

"The Indian Prime Minister will engage only in religious activities connected with (the Buddhist festival of) Vesak," the President said. "There will be no official talks. Not even unofficial talks on development projects or other projects."
Modi was due in Colombo later Thursday and is scheduled to open an international Buddhist conference in Colombo Friday before travelling to the island's tea growing central Nuwara Eliya district.
He is due to formally open an Indian-gifted 1.2 billion rupee Dikoya hospital and later visit the Temple of the Tooth, the most sacred Buddhist shrine in the island, before returning home on Friday evening.
] – Economy Next article
Under pressure Sri Lanka President says no to Modi

As a Sri Lankan relative visiting Australia said to me recently, only the visitor knows why s/he is visiting. Where the visitor is using private funds and independent status as individual without any official portfolio, the above is no one else’s business. But where the visitor is using official status of her/himself and/or others, it becomes the business of all those providing support directly and/or indirectly, including through blessings.

To the extent we are genuine in our support/blessings, we would identify with the feelings of the visitor – even though the ‘form’ given by the visitor is different to the form given by us as to purpose. Like many religions leading to One God – all of our feelings would lead to consolidation of our real powers to make us ‘Common’. Those holding high positions have the responsibility to ‘show’ the connection between the stated reason and their actions during the visit.
In the case of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – given that it has been organized at the President’s level every politician has the DUTY to take the visit as being Political. If Mr. Modi had come here as an individual – as our own leaders go to India from time to time, then one is not entitled to place Politics first.

In Sri Lanka, Buddhism and Politics are inseparable twins. Talking about Vesak is Politics due to Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution which states that Buddhism is the foremost religion of Sri Lanka. To the extent it is within this provision, no leader has the lawful authority to rule otherwise.

To my mind, Mr. Modi is in Sri Lanka for Political purposes. As per rules of Democracy he needs to be transparent about this and not keep the purpose confidential. If Mr. Modi says  it is to promote Buddhism then it is automatically political and entitles any politician of Sri Lanka to interact on that basis. When in Sri Lanka, Mr. Modi has to respect Sri Lankan rules. Given that Mr. Modi is a Hindu – the Hindu leadership in Sri Lanka has the right to demand that Mr. Modi spends time with Hindus  before promoting Buddhism. Such is permitted through articles Articles 10 and 14(1)(e) of the Sri Lankan Constitution, in support of religions of minorities. Mr. Sampanthan as a Hindu leader holding the position of Opposition leader in National Parliament ought to have demanded equal time as the President to discuss Hindu matters with Indian Prime Minister the Hon Narendra Modi. It looks as if Mr. Sampanthan has resigned himself to lesser position of minority leader rather than Equal position as Opposition. That is the difference between relative and opposition. One who thinks equal has the leading opposition position and v.v.

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