If India is sold Mattala-Galle-Palali-Trinco & Colombo will Sri Lanka be sovereign?
Governments are elected to power to protect the territorial integrity & sovereignty of a country not to sell it or privatize it to foreigners thereby reducing the country’s relevance globally as an independent & sovereign nation. After selling the country’s resources, we would have no requirement for a jumbo government because they have no asset/resource to manage, manufacture or export while they would have turned the citizens to slaves for these countries/companies. Imagine if you will what happens when the country’s assets & resources are either leased or sold to foreigners in exchange for a lump sum of money while they take all profits back to their homes while also enjoying tax havens, duty free concessions & other privileges the politicians are ever willing to dole out. When the North, East, South & West of an island is virtually handed over to one country what is the national security or sovereignty Sri Lanka has? Have politicians, media, political pundits, academics, so-called civil society thought of these ground realities? India is choking Sri Lanka by Air – Rail – Road – Sea & Land (socially, economically & culturally)
India’s population is 1.3b people against Sri Lanka’s 20m
- 732m Indians have no access to toilets
- 240m Indians do not have electricity
- 7000 Indians die of hunger every day
- 836 million Indians survive on less than Rs 20 per day
- 1m Indians are infected with HIV AIDS
- 75m Indians live in poverty
India cannot easily control Sri Lanka militarily, so the next best option is to control it economically & socially.
AIRPORT – Palali & Mattala
In June 2012 Sri Lanka’s government rejected India’s offer to develop Palali airport which the Sri Lankan government said would be run jointly by the Ministry of Civil Aviation & the Air Force.
In February 2014 the Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution proposed by Sivajilingam calling for direct flights from Trinco, Palali to India http://www.adaderana.lk/news.php?nid=25810
In 2016 PM Wickremasinghe informed Parliament that there is no agreement with India or an Indian company to modernize Palali airport but he did admit that the Airport Authority of India had carried out a feasibility study on Palali for which the PM claimed did not require cabinet or AG’s approval. http://seithy.com/breifNews.php?newsID=165032&category=EnglishNews&language=english
But in Sept 2016 PM denies it http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/sri-lanka-says-no-accord-with-india-to-modernize-palali-airport/
In 2017 the PM declared that Palali will be developed as a ‘regional airport’ to serve Sri Lanka & South India. In other words Palali goes to India. The PM’s financial advisor behind the deal!
An interview with Chief Minister Wigneswaran and WION in 2017 revealed the following https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jry6e6snUmc
Mattala Airport was built by the Chinese to complement the Hambantota Port & Industrial Zone. It was meant for investors to fly direct to Mattala make approvals at either the industrial zone or Port & fly back. It makes no sense for foreign investors to land in Colombo & travel all the way to Hambantota for approvals. The present Government laughed at the Airport claiming it to be good only to store paddy and now India is supposed to be wanting to buy an empty airport & Sri Lanka is willing to sell an airport for a supposed flying school which in reality it looks to be an attempt to position India’s Air Defence in Mattala thereby diminishing the Hambantota Port for China’s OBOR initiative. Apparently India wishes to have provision to re-lease or sublease the Airport to whom it so likes which again raises alarm bells for the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. Why should India get an Airport for 40 years to turn into a military base? Mattala would become the first airport India will have on foreign soil.
$185.26m to restore Omanthai-Pallai Railway line (90km)
$149m to re-construct the 56km Pallai to Kankasanthurai Railway Line
$164m Matara-Colombo railway line completed in 2012
India to develop Jaffna-to-Mannar, Mannar-to-Vavuniya and Dambulla-to-Tricomalee stretches
In 2002 PM Wickremasinghe proposed a ‘Hanuman Bridge’ across the Palk Strait.
India even requested Asian Development Bank to carry out a pre-feasibility study to finance the road-rail link between India’s Rameswaram & Sri Lanka’s Thalaimannar. & the bridge across the Palk strait between India & Sri Lanka.
In 2016 the proposed maritime bridge was to cost $3.6b
The distance between India’s Dhanushkodi in Rameswaran & Sri Lanka is 23km. India wants to make a flyover connecting the two.
PORT / HARBOR – Galle Port / Kankansanthurai / Trinco / Colombo East Terminal
Developing Kankasanthurai – In 2017 PM Wickremasinghe declared that India would develop Kankasanthurai harbor. In 2018 a MOU was signed with the Exim Bank of India to develop Kankasanthurai to a commercial port & upgrade the Kankasanthurai harbor.
Galle Port – Rumour also has it that part of the Mattala Airport deal includes the handing over of Galle Port to India by removing the entire Naval deployment & transferring them to Hambantota Port. This would immediately negate Sri Lanka’s capacity to protect its territory.
Colombo East Terminal – the 5th latest container terminal & will become the biggest in Colombo’s Port. This terminal is also going to an Indian company. More than 60% of Colombo transship comes from India. This is likely to affect employment of Sri Lankan labor & arrival of shipping lines too.
POWER PLANT – Sampur
Note how quick India was to propose a 500-MW thermal coal power plant ($500m) in Trincomalee district immediately after the Sri Lanka Army captured Sampur from LTTE which would give India 500 acres in Sampur. Objections were made to the former government against the project in view of the real objective behind the project being to secure access to Foul Point to overlook the Trincomalee harbor.
EAST SRI LANKA – Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms
In May 2017 PM Wickremasinghe told Parliament CPC & Lanka IOC will enter a joint venure claiming the storage facility would help Sri Lanka enter the Indian market! The MOU will give India land lease for 50 years
The MOU is to make joint investments in the development of the Trinco Port, Petroleum Refinery & other industries in Trincomalee.
WESTERN PROVINCE – LNG power plant in Kerawalapitiya
In 2017 MOU was signed to set up a LNG 500 MW terminal/floating storage regasification unit in Kerawalapitiya
ECONOMIC – CEPA & Economic & Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA)
Under CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) India can bring down technical staff from 10% of total staff cadre up to 50%.
According to CEPA there will be 50% Indian ownership of 25 cinemas, each of which could hold multiple cinema halls. In these cinemas, 40% cinema time would be for Tamil and Hindi films.
The proposed Indo-Lanka economic & technology cooperative agreement ECTA was drafted in great secrecy & agreement not disclosed to the public. It makes Sri Lanka further vulnerable to a country. Of the trade agreements with India since 1988 none have been beneficial to Sri Lanka while Sri Lanka has become a dumping yard for cheap Indian imports. Oft times the federal regulations impede Sri Lankan businesses trying to get a foothold into Indian market. Raising alarm bells is the inclusion of service industries & manpower which means an unhindered entry of Indians to start businesses, employ Indians, work & live in Sri Lanka which will pose challenges to Sri Lanka’s own unemployed as well as raise issues regarding environment, accommodation, food & energy requirements etc. Already unregistered number of Indians are working illegally & legally in all provinces of Sri Lanka.
Bilateral trade between India & Sri Lanka was $4.6billion in 2014 of which Sri Lanka’s share was a mere $600m. 40% of goods in Jaffna are from India.
31million Indians are unemployed. There are a million unregistered and unqualified medical practitioners in Indiawhat if they all end up working as ‘doctors’ in Sri Lanka?
Immediately after elections 800 maruti cars were imported giving a substantial slash in import duty while increasing import duty for hybrid vehicles. Many said it was a thank you for helping win the election! Even India’s gift of ambulances is doubted by the citizens.
SOCIAL/CULTURAL – Ramayana Trail
Former Additional Secretary to the Indian cabinet B.Raman now heading a think tank proposed India use tourism to counter China’s presence in Sri Lanka while the BJP espouses to elevate the ethnic to a religious issue bringing the Hindu element & the promotion of the Ramayana Trail has to be looked from these two Indian objectives. Is the Ramayana Trail being linked to the greater Eelam project that espouses to annex Sri Lanka to India? The Eelamists claim Ravana was a Tamil King, who worshipped Shiva in Trincomalee & Mantota & both cities are Isvaram” cities implying Tamil ownership not Sinhalese. These are all mental build ups at tourism levels for diplomatic objectives.
Apart from the Indian High Commission in Colombo, India also has presence in Jaffna, Kandy & in Hambantota too.
In 2017 news emerged of the Jaffna Indian consulate providing forged documents to South India Tamils to migrate to northern Sri Lanka. In 2011, the Indian Counsel General in Jaffna V. Mahalingam had interfered in the judicial process following the seizure of 112 Indian fishermen along with 18 trawlers in the general area north of Point Pedro.
In 2015, Sri Lanka expelled the Colombo station chief of India’s spy agency accusing him of conspiring to overthrow the Rajapakse government.
India Sri Lanka Military
Sri Lankan military personnel received training in two Dornier aircraft, belonging to the Indian Navy in June 2017.
India in North / East / Central Sri Lanka
- Skills development centre in University of Jaffna, Kilinochchi
- Civil engineering & mechanical engineering campus, University of Jaffna, Kilinochchi
- Demining in North & East provinces
- Renovation of 79 schools in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya
- Computers & printers to rural schools in East Sri Lanka
- Vocational training centres in Hatton, Puttalam, Batticoloa, Nuwara Eliya
- Industrial estate in Atchchuvely, Jaffna
- 10 buses for rail-bus project to connect Batticoloa with Trincomalee
- Supply of 100 buses
- 9 language labs in 9 provinces
Air-Road-Rail-Sea link between India & Sri Lanka is fast turning into a reality with decision makers arguing in favor looking only at the supposed economic dividends completely ignoring the political & social realities. Illegal immigrants from India, LTTE terrorists using South India as a logistics hub inspite of assurances by the Indian Government, illegal inflow of narcotics & other banned substances from India are just a handful of dangerous implications that have been ignored.
It has become fashionable for India to use the slogan of ‘threat to Indian security interests’ and bulldoze India’s demands for which Sri Lanka has had to follow the policy of appeasement to the extent that officials are probably remaining mum as every MOU is being signed & drafted according to India’s wishes.
One has to wonder if the deal to give Hambantota to China was simply an eye-wash to fool the Chinese & thereafter handover everything to India as we now see happening. Behind all these deals are a handful of evil & terrorist-associated elements who are peddling the neo-liberal policies that are earmarked to turn Sri Lanka into an Indian colony & a vassal state. Where will all these politicians & the bureaucrats that surround them go after selling our country as not a penny out of these sales have they given to the nation or its people from these treacherous sales except to always blame previous governments claiming the sale is to set off debt by them. None of the debt has reduced except doubled every time a new government has come to power.
However, the manner this government has handed over to India the North (Palali), East (Trinco), South (Mattala, Galle), West (Colombo East Terminal) is unforgiveable. To add to injury this government wants to build a Hanuman Bridge (connecting India by road/rail/bridge) while signing trade agreements that enable Indians to come & work & live in Sri Lanka & over time with marriage what will be the outcome for Sri Lanka? Are policy makers asleep to these dangers?
Sri Lanka has lost its sovereignty completely. Can they salvage the situation by reversing these deals is what citizens must now demand of them? It is time the people stood up against these treacherous sale of Sri Lanka’s resources/assets.
Shenali D Waduge