Sept 21 (DNA) As Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa begins his three-day visit to India, the challenge faced by the two countries is to restore a sense of urgency in bilateral ties.
The first positive sign has already come with New Delhi’s decision to accord summit-level status to SriLankan President’s visit to inaugurate a Buddhist university inSanchi, Madhya Pradesh at the invitation of the state government. The development augurs well for India-Sri Lanka ties which have cooled down a bit in the post-LTTE era.
The primary factor behind it has been Colombo evincing no interest in India’s repeated advice to devolve greater autonomy and power to ethnicTamils in the island nation’s federal polity.
Gautam Sen at New Delhi-based Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) commented: “India-Sri Lanka relations appear to be reaching a phase of stagnation. While bilateral relations at the political level are still cordial, Colombo does not seem to be interested in or solicitous of Indian advice and suggestions with regard to its constitutional experiments concerning devolution of administrative and financial powers to the provinces.”
To drive home its point, India even voted in favour of the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) resolution against Sri Lanka. The hardened stance of Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu hasn’t helped the two nation’s cause. In recent months, the two main parties in the state – the AIADMK and DMK – are vying with each other to harness pro-Tamil sentiments in the state. Whether it is Jayalalitha’s opposition to the visit of a junior football team from Sri Lanka to latest opposition to Rajapaksa visit, Dravidian parties have left no stone unturned to espouse Sri Lankan Tamils’ cause.