ETCA India and Sri Lanka.
Here in Sri Lanka ,India bashing is not new. Before 1960s nobody in Sri Lanka considered India as a threat to our country.It was Mr. Rohana Wijeweera , Founder of the JVP (People's Liberation Front ) , launched a systematic anti India campaign through his political propaganda from mid 60 s which came to the zenith when India and Sri Lanka signed Indo- Lanka Accord in 1987 as a solution to the ethnic problem here. Under the Accord , inter alia Provincial council system was introduced to devolve power to the Tamils .The JVP led a bloody rebellion in order to capture state power launching a vicious campaign against India and the Indo Lanka Agreement.They killed more than 6000 people who were for the power devolution to the Tamil people through the Provincial Council system from 1987 to 1989. The Sri Lanka government brutally suppressed the JVP's terror campaign killing at least around 30000 JVP militants including the leadership of the JVP except one who ironically fled to India to save his neck.
During the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksha , Sri Lanka and India started talks to sign a trade agreement named CEPA which did not see the light of day not because there was a powerful grass root level campaign against it but because some coalition partners of his government were against it.Rajapaksha did not want to topple the apple cart as he was intending to be power at least till 2020.
The present government of Sri Lanka is seriously considering to sign a new agreement named ETCA with India to bolster its trade with India. The JVP and its offshoot Front line Socialist Party have launched a campaigned against it telling the public that India is attempting to devour Sri Lanka through the proposed agreement.They say that Indians will come to SL aftermath the agreement and grabs jobs here depriving the Sri Lankans of their job opportunities.
One has to understand that every country, not only India, seeks to enter the markets of other countries in order to bolster their economies.What the government of Sri Lanka intends is nothing but to enter the vast Indian market and keep the Sri Lanka economy floating as its economy is confronted with unprecedented challenges thanks to the opportunistic policies of previous governments as well as the 27 year long civil war which ended in 2009.
No government in the world is stupid enough to open its market to one or two countries. In case of Sri Lanka ,it will never give a blank cheque to India by ECTA to dictate terms to Sri Lanka.It has been signing bilateral agreements with European states , as well as regional powers since it came to power last year.The government is planning to strengthens its relations with China soon as it is an important economic partner. Japan has been co-operating with Sri Lanka since a long time and it has become an important contributor to Sri Lanka economy and Japan will remain as a friend of Sri Lanka for a long time to come.As Sri Lanka's economy is struggling to survive any government in power has to strengthen its economic ties with its biggest neighbour .
In case India's intention is or was keep us under their control why did India withdraw its army from Sri Lanka in 1990 when our government made a request? The IPKF ( Indian Peace Keeping Force) could have remained here longer stating that it would leave Sri Lanka once its mission was accomplished .But when Premadasa , a former president made a public request asking India to withdraw its army from Sri lanka.s soil India obliged without any protest.
Anti Indian drum
The JVP and its offshoot are playing anti India drum just because they need some slogans to survive in the political arena. ECTA has provided them a life line which is being used by them to the hilt as people are losing faith in them.At the last parliamentary elections the JVP was confident that it would be able to win at least 20 seats but ended with just six seats while its offshoot Front line Socialist Party won none. Hence to survive politically they have to grab any opportunity that comes their way.