The core of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s foreign policy is standing up for Sri Lanka’s sovereign rights. But his cast-iron nationalism is not mindlessly jingoistic or confrontational, disregarding geo-political and economic realities.
Gotabaya’s first international move was to reach out to India, which had been unhappy with elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Presidency between 2010 and 2014 for its economic and geo-strategic tilt towards India’s Asian rival, China. The Rajapaksa brothers suspected that India had been part of an international conspiracy to bring about a regime change in 2015 by propping up a united national opposition with Mithripala Sirisena as the candidate in the January 8 2015 Presidential election. Mahinda lost the election.
It was only in 2017 that the frosty relationship began to thaw when India realized that the Yahapalanaya government headed by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had failed to deliver on the promises it had made, and was cosying up to China instead. While almost 15 major Indian project MOUs were gathering dust, China was given new projects including a 99-year lease on, and a 70% stake in, the strategically located Hambantota port.
Be that as it may, India still hoped that United National Front’s Sajith Premadasa would win as he was thought to be amenable. But when Sajith was defeated and Gotabaya won the November 16, 2019 Presidential election, Indian swiftly extended its hand of friendship to the new President in the belief that it is the early bird which catches the worm. Foreign Minister Dr.S.Jaishankar flew down to Colombo and got Gotabaya to agree to make an official visit to India quickly.
Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Govt is Bracing Itself to Lock Horns with the US and Europe Hoping to get Help from China, Russia and India too but its Strength Would Ultimately Come from its Electoral Base, the Majority Community in Sri Lanka.’ »