Sunday, 21 May 2017

Playing with India and China - Principle positions

Photo credit : India Today
India is our greatest ally and it is our greatest strategic hurdle too. 

We have to take decisions based on only our national interests to play with India and China as major investing parties in Sri Lanka. It is more important then ever to do so since our Mother Land is in historical conjuncture. 

Geographical position of India and Sri Lanka have entangled us to play politics with India very cautiously. The relation of these two land masses'goes far back. For example the archaeological extracts found in Jaffna indicates influence of Indus Valley Civilisation in Sri Lanka. That is pre-historical. So, Mr. Modi is peaking to Sri Lankan Tamil community in Dickoya few weeks ago shall also be understood as a continuation of this inevitable natural entanglement of geopolitics. To me, weather British Empire poked in in this relationship or not we Sri Lankan have to play this geographical political game with India for eternity. We have to understand that Sri Lanka could not flourish not getting our international relation right with India. This is our first principle understandings. We have to get it right right now as we are in a historical era of our history.

China, on the other hand, is on the rise. No matter what pivot to Asia or we will ever do to contain China it is on rise. China deserves all its success. And there are a lot all nations could learn from Chinese political system. The mass Chinese psyche is as such one strong leader is aspired by them. And this strong leader is always guaranteed by its National People's Congress by hand picking the best available leader for its Chairmanship. Until whole communist system is corrupt to its core this strong leadership will be prevailed in China. Meanwhile, China will gain its due credibility within international community in every aspect – politically, economically, socially and all. 

So, as India and China are becoming principle investment parties to Sri Lanka, we have to delicately balance our interests between these two countries.  It will proven to be particularly difficult because they are playing ice-cold diplomacy between them too for the dominance in Asia. So, how are we going about doing this delicate balancing act? 

We have to first humbly realise how lucky we are with our geographical position in Indian ocean to receive this much attention.

We only have to stick to few simple principles and we are ready to rock with this two nations while all, India, China and Sri Lanka, are benefiting from such a cooperation. Understanding in our core that our country could not flourish without India and understanding that no matter what China is on rise is paramount. Those are the foundations of understanding Sri Lankan position among them. 

Sri Lankan have to understand that our Island has great potential to become a developed nation than India ever will. India is troubled with its one point two billions population and its energy scarcity. Attempt to raise the income of every single individual of Indians to the developed nation level is irremediable act.  It is also paramount to understand Indian administration will always try to play with our Tamil communities for its advantage. But India will never welcome a separate Tamil nation within Sri Lanka.

Having those principle understanding we shall warmly welcome Indian investments into the country. Even if India can never complete building its highways across its vast nation an insignificant fraction of its investment could do a lot in Sri Lanka. So, let India build highways and power plants and what not. But it is very wise to develop an in-depth compulsory research into investment opportunities that Sri Lanka could open to India. Long term strategic national interest of Sri Lanka shall pay a central role all investment opportunities of Sri Lanka, which we allow India to invest.

When it comes to Chinese investments we have to be wary about a lot of Chinese people coming with them, literally speaking. Opportunist Chinese are already exploiting Sri Lankan gem, tea and tourism industries. Some thinks that their opportunistic actions are balanced out with huge investments projects of the Chinese government. This kind of attitude is common among opportunist with Chinese investments in Africa and elsewhere too. 

To contain that king of nuance developments we have to be an equal investing partner to Chinese investments . 

Be equal investing partner

No nation can truly be proud of 100% foreign investments. We need to be pro-active partners to all investments. 

Yes, The Belt and Road initiative is distinctly Chinese. And it is going to change the world for ever. But that is not a good enough reason for us to refuse investing in mutually benefiting investment projects along the Belt and Road. No nation can truly be proud of 100% foreign investments. We shall take an active role in those Port City Projects and other investment projects. We shall prepare to bare the burden equally to earn our pride and our share in our history.

I sense only doing that we can control the adverse effect of a lot of Chinese coming with Chinese investments fact. One of very recent a frank communication with one of my dearest Chinese colleague was to offer me a story to leave with you. 

The story unfolds with we sharing a newspaper article about Chinese gem racket found in Ratnapura in Daily Mirror, around 5th of May this year. I pointed out to my colleague that Chinese are ruining their reputation in Sri Lanka too. After few exchanges of our viewpoints, he pointed out to me that “Why do you Sri Lankans not see Chinese are building big projects in Sri Lanka.” He seems to justify Chinese who smuggle gem in their anus and they do not pay due taxes to our authorities. These kind of Chinese practices have infiltrated in to Sri Lankan tourist and tea industry. Some are illegally taking out some of our precious herbal plants away from Sri Lanka too.

We have to understand that top level Chinese leadership and these opportunists have very little in common. The Chinese top level leadership only portrays vision, commitment and hard work in their political practices. Observe Chairman Mao, Deng Xiaoping or Xi Jinping. I do not think that it is their wish to exploit its partnering nations. But with its large population China government can never control all of its inhabitants.

Point of this article is Sri Lanka shall welcome Indian and Chinese investments cordially in to our economy. While Indian investment shall be monitored with long term national interests of Sri Lanka in mind Sri Lanka must try to be equal partner to Chinese investments to protect Sri Lanka’s pride.

When Sri Lanka have two principle investors we could always play with them for our interests. 

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