From that call for ‘Lanka Spring’ – The Island
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Most Sri Lankans earn an honest living, pay taxes and are debt-free. They are honest men and women who like and respect each other. But thanks to a gang of shameless, corrupt, failed political leaders who used public funds, fraudulently enriched themselves and impoverished this country, over the decades every Sri Lankan has become a beggar in the eyes of the international community. .
The so-called rulers of Sri Lanka, who would have the public believe that they were warrior kings in previous incarnations and boast of being able to usher in national progress, are begging for funds and food from other nations. We see no difference between these shameless politicians and the “beggar kings” who amass wealth by exploiting people’s suffering.
The indignities that Sri Lankans suffer through no fault of their own are perhaps the least of their worries. The impoverishment of the nation and the begging of its leaders have jeopardized the national security, independence, sovereignty and strategic assets of the country. There is no unconditional economic bailout. The government of the pseudo-patriots will have no qualms about doing anything that brings in dollars and contributes to fattening their accounts abroad; they ask for more help.
As desperate as a drug addict who goes bankrupt for lack of funds to buy hell dust, the government is ready to dump state assets or sign deals that are harmful to the national interest, if it there are a few dollars in it. The flurry of diplomatic activity underway in Colombo, with the arrival of senior US officials, raises questions as to whether the ground is being prepared for the signing of the State of Forces Agreement ( SOFA) to allow US military personnel to operate here.
The opposition insists that prime land in Colombo is being sold to China when the government desperately needs dollars. India successfully bagged the Trincomalee oil farm and had the Rajapaksa government spit out a container terminal in the port of Colombo for the Adani Group. China already has a port, a port city and a container terminal. What else the United States will get is anyone’s guess.
Meanwhile, India had the nerve to make an absurd request; he wants Sri Lanka to stop deploying the navy and coast guard to deal with Indian fishermen engaged in poaching. He reportedly urged Sri Lanka to entrust this task to a paramilitary force. How are other countries tackling the problem of illegal fishing? They gave carte blanche to their navies and coastguards to protect their maritime resources. Even India did it, right? Why should Sri Lanka be expected to do otherwise?
Poaching is essentially a legal problem and must be treated as such if it is to be solved. He continues to defy a solution because both countries are trying diplomatic and political solutions, instead of grabbing the nettle; their leniency only encourages illegal fishing, especially destructive bottom trawling, for which Indian fishermen are notorious. Both Tamil Nadu and the Center have shed many tears for Sri Lankan Tamils, but at the same time they protect and abet Indian poachers who deprive Tamil fishermen of their livelihood here.
The Sri Lankan government has yet to respond to India’s request. It is said that beggars do not choose, but the Sri Lankan Navy and Coast Guard must be allowed to perform their duties in Sri Lankan territorial waters.
Sri Lanka should be grateful to India for throwing in a lifeline, when it needed it, and should pay back every dollar that belongs to Indian citizens who have their own problems to solve. It must also be aware of India’s national security concerns, but it must retain the right to act as a sovereign state and do what is right for it.
If India and Sri Lanka get tough on their fishermen engaged in illegal fishing and allow themselves to deal with the culprits in accordance with the law, the poaching issue will become manageable.