Research Fellow, IDSA, Dr Smruti Pattanaik’s article on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wikramasinghe's recent visit to India, titled ‘Touching base . . .’ was published in The Sunday Observer on September 20, 2015.
In the true spirit of a democracy, Modi should reach out to leaders of all major political parties in Bangladesh and convince them of India’s intention to work as a partner in progress and development.
Growing international concerns about human rights violations in the last phase of the Eelam war and the continued surveillance and intimidation of the Tamils in Sri Lanka have drawn the attention of their co-ethnics across the world. The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which had detached itself from the political events in Sri Lanka after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, has renewed its interest. In the post-war phase, the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils has become an emotive issue.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit is likely to improve the atmospherics to a significant extent, introduce a positive vibe into the process of engagement and serve as a stepping stone for deepening the relationship further.
The article argues that India does not have a well-defined neighbourhood policy. It makes a historical survey of the approaches of different Indian leaders to the neighbourhood and examines the reasons for the prevailing negative perceptions about India in the region. It argues that these negative perceptions have come about because India has largely adopted an ad hoc and bilateral approach vis-à-vis its neighbours and has allowed its policy to be guided by an overarching concern for security. In recent years, India's approach has changed considerably.
The recently concluded Afghan Presidential election, rather than facilitating crucial political transition, is mired in controversy. An early resolution is crucial both for Afghanistan and the international community. For Afghanistan, a peaceful and non-controversial transition would ensure the legitimacy of the upcoming government and push the twin processes of reconciliation and democratization forward.