Home » bi-lateralism » [Press] India and the Colombo CHOGM: A Tricky Choice

[Press] India and the Colombo CHOGM: A Tricky Choice


NB: This article was originally published in the New Delhi-based Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs magazine, in its November 2013 edition.

Over the past few weeks, analysts, policymakers and civil society activists in India (and especially in Tamil Nadu) have been debating whether the Indian Prime Minister should attend the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo. It has emerged that after much deliberation, Dr Manmohan Singh will not attend the Colombo CHOGM. This is a decision that has its definitive place in the annals of Indian diplomacy. Its significance is multiplied by the fact that it comes in the backdrop of Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma’s strong endorsement of the Colombo CHOGM. Whereas Ambassador Sharma operates in his capacity as Commonwealth chief, The Congress government’s decision can be explained by domestic political concerns, in the context an impending national election. However, it is somewhat inadequate to ascribe this decision only to domestic electoral politics. Despite its tremendous salience, the Tamil Nadu variable is not the only determining factor behind Dr Singh’s decision. More importantly perhaps, this decision carries much weight in terms of regional geopolitics.

The Manmohan Singh government was by far one of the strongest endorsers of Sri Lanka’s Eelam War IV against the now defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In the absence of Indian endorsement, Colombo’s May 2009 military victory would not have been possible. Delhi had pertinent reasons to extend strategic, intelligence and logistical support to the Sri Lankan government, which notably involved the legacy of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination and the regional implications of the LTTE secessionist threat. Delhi perceived a counter terrorist offensive as a necessary evil, on one condition – that Colombo would pursue a programme for inclusive political reform in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka once the LTTE threat was contained. Over the years, a repeated emphasis on political reform has continued to be the lynchpin of Delhi’s policy towards Sri Lanka’s ethno-national question. This, to cite but one example, was the rationale behind the BJP government’s refusal to extend military support to the Kumaratunga administration in the aftermath of one of the most devastating military defeats suffered by Sri Lankan forces at the hands of the LTTE in the year 2000. It was a means of encouraging Colombo to pursue a programme for political reform, as the Kumaratunga administration had by then drifted into a robust military offensive, making its repeated commitment to devolution sound rather ambivalent. If segments in the Sri Lankan military and government are to interpret that reaction (as well as Dr Singh’s stance on attending the 2013 Colombo CHOGM) as a case of Delhi’s Sri Lanka policy being captured by Tamil Nadu dictates, they are somewhat mistaken. Instead, it is much more insightful to read such decisions as intended at highlighting priorities in Delhi’s regional agenda at given points of time.

Read more here.


New publication/vient de paraître : discussion on a #Transfeminist perspective on development work in the Routledge Handbook of Queer Development Studies #genderjustice #developmentResearch #WorldPolitics #chamindraweerawardhana #lka #ireland #sibeal #womenInpolitics #scholaractivist #internationalism #globaloutreach Intervention à l’université du Québec à Montréal - @uqam -le jeudi 22 février 2018, organisé par le Réseau québécois d’études féministes. J’ai surtout souligné ce que signifie les « solidarités transféministes » pour nos luttes féministe-intersectionnelles collectives. #femmeraciséeUniversitaire #chamindraweerawardhana #solidaritéstransféministes #AuDelàduBinaire #montreal #québec #canada #lka #internationalisme #srilanka #afroféminisme #transféminisme #sudSglobalS #RéQÉF je suis également intervenue lors d’un cours de 2ème année de bac (licence en France), où j’ai appuyé sur les mêmes enjeux. Rencontre inaugurale de la série des conférences de l’an 2018 organisée par la chaire de recherche Canada PolEthics de l’université de Montréal. Mon intervention portait sur les enjeux transféministes , tel que je conçois le transféminisme - profondément influencé et guidé par les discours afroféministes, des féminismes indigènes etc. Ce fut un privilège de partager l’estrade avec Mme la professeure Agnès Berthelot-Raffard #transféminismes #solidaritéstransféministesinternationales #solidaritéstransnationales #montreal #lka #transpolitics #justice #equality #representationMatters #ChamindraWeerawardhana #AgnèsBerthelotRaffard #canada #îledelaTortue Ce fut un pur bonheur de revoir @roxy_nadeau Merci infiniment pour ce cadeau tellement précieux ❤️😘🙏🏾#transnationaltransfeministsolidarities #RoxaneNadeau #montreal #Québec #lka #sisters #poésiedelanguefrançaise #francophonie #Rimouski #LesGarçonsAuVent To mark ‘Independence Day 2018’ , which is also Sri Lanka’s 70th anniversary of securing Dominion Status, Pitasanna Shanmugathas and I wrote a piece entitled ‘British Monarchy Must Apologize On 70th Year Of Independence For Colonizing Sri Lanka’. Direct link: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/british-monarchy-must-apologize-on-70th-year-of-independence-for-colonizing-sri-lanka/amp/  #බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය පොදු රාජ්‍ය මණ්ඩලය තුල 'Dominion Status' එසේත් නැතහොත් බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය රැජිණිය හෝ රජු රාජ්‍ය නායකත්වය දරන එනමුත් බලය ජාතික රජයක් වෙත විමද්‍යගත වීම අපි අපගේ 'නිදහස ලබීම' [independence] ලෙස සමරන්නෙමු. සැබෑ ලෙස ශ්‍රී ලංකා ජනරජයක් ස්ථාපනය වූ දිනය වන 1972 මැයි මස විසිදෙවනදා පිළිබඳ අප කිසිදු අවධානයක් යොමු නොකරන්නෙමු. මෙම ඉතා කෙටි ලිපිය තුලින් අප අදහස් කරනුයේ ලංකීය දේශපාලන සහ සමාජයීය සන්ධර්භය තුල සංවාදයට බඳුන් නොවන එනමුත් 'නිදහස' 'අනන්‍යතවය' 'සංහිඳියාව' යනාදී කරුණු පිලිබඳ යථාවභෝදයක් සඳහා අත්‍යවශ්‍ය වන කරුණක් පිලිබඳවය. බ්‍රිතාන්‍යය සහ ශ්‍රී ලංකාව අතර පවතින අසමමිතික සඹදතාවය තුල ශ්‍රී ලංකාව යටන් කොට ගැනීම, ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මානව සහ ස්වාභාවික සම්පත් සූරා කෑම, අවංකභාවයකින් තොරව ස්වකීය පටු යටත්විජිතවාදී අරමුණු පමණක් පදනම් කොටගෙන සිදු කරන ලද 'ව්‍යවස්ථා සම්පාදන පර්යේෂණ' [constitutional experiments] යනාදී මෙකී නොකී කරුණු පිළිබඳව බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය රජය ශ්‍රී ලංකා ප්‍රජාතාන්ත්‍රික සමාජවාදී ජනරජයෙන් සහ එහි පුරවැසියන්ගෙන් ක්ෂමාව භජනය කල යුතු බව අපි මෙම කෙටි ලිපියෙන් ප්‍රකාශ කොට සිටිමු.
වර්තමාන ජාත්‍යාන්තර සබඳතා සහ ජාතික ප්‍රතිපත්ති රාමු තුල 'අතීත වැරදි සහ සාපරාදී ක්‍රියා පිළිබඳව ක්ෂමාව භජනය කිරීම [apologies for past atrocities] සහ වන්දි ගෙවීම [reparations] සඳහා ක්‍රියා පටිපාටි සම්පාදනය ඉතා වැදගත් කොට සැලකේ. එනමුත් මෙවන් කරුණු පිළිබඳ සංවාදයක් ඇරඹීම හෝ ලාංකීය සමාජය තුල සිදු නොවන  තරම්ය.70 වැනි Dominion status commemoration දිනය අරභයා අප මෙම ලිපියෙන් අදහස් කරනුයේ ක්ෂමාව සහ වන්දි ගෙවීම පිලිබඳ සංවාදයක් ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය සමාජය මතුයෙහි ජනගත කිරීමය. #lka #independence #decolonize #sovereignty #apologies #reparations #InvasionDay #Decolonise #indigenouswomen #IndigenousRightsAreNonNegotiable

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