Home Contact Us  

India - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4595, 4 August 2014

Dateline Colombo

India-Sri Lanka: Strengthening Regional Cooperation
Asanga Abeyagoonasekera
Executive Director, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS), Sri Lanka

August marks the death anniversary of the late Lakshman Kadirgamar, a remarkable Foreign Minister brutally assassinated by the LTTE. He once said, “India and Sri Lanka relationship is lost in the mist of time,” which signifies the deep bond that the two nations share. The gift of Buddhism is perhaps the most enduring of all ties and lays the foundation for this long-rooted friendship. The most sacred symbols of Buddhism - the Sacred Tooth, a relic of Lord Buddha gifted by King Guhaseeva, and the sapling of Sri Maha Bo tree in Anuradhapura, which is believed to be from the same tree under which the Buddha attained Nirvana - were gifted from India. South Indian kings ruled the island nation from time to time. The last few kings who ruled the Island were Nayakkar kings. Yet, they protected the Sacred Tooth relic and respected Buddhist values and Sinhalese culture.
Despite the shared history, culture and religion, India-Sri Lanka relations in the present context is discussed with regard to three key areas: the India’s position on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, its stand with regard to the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka, and the fishermen issue in Tamil Nadu. One of the main topics of discussion between President Rajapaksa and the newly appointed Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi was the 13th Amendment. Sri Lanka was advised to fully implement the 13th Amendment.
Among the many challenges that the Sri Lanka-India relationship faces at present, the Tamil Nadu fishermen issue has gained widespread attention. When Indian fishermen illegally violate the maritime boundary of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Navy arrests and detains them. A few days ago, 50 such fishermen were arrested. According to news reports, 93 fishermen are currently under arrest and detention in Sri Lanka. In a context in which territorial boundaries are located in close proximity, these types of issues can happen. Failure to agree on a suitable solution by both countries will only result in continuation of this problem.
In finding a solution to the fishermen issue neither Sri Lanka nor the Government of India can ignore South India. During his recent visit to Colombo, Dr Subramaniam Swamy, one of the most influential policy advisors to the BJP Government said, “One weakness in India’s policy towards Sri Lanka is the veto power Tamil Nadu has.” Explaining further, he suggested that this situation will not remain the same under the current government. Even though this is a positive remark for Sri Lanka, one cannot ignore the fact that South India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour.
As the tension between South India and Sri Lanka heightened after the war, strong remarks were made by both sides. This affected the Sri Lanka-India relationship. In order to avoid such a situation in the future, it is important to count the concerns of Tamil Nadu in finding a solution to the fishermen issue.
One technical way of mitigating and minimising this issue could be by introducing strict regulations on fisheries’ practices such as having a vessel monitoring system (VMS) with transponders on board all the vessels. That gives the ability for the coast guards from both nations to monitor the path of the vessels. Geo fencing to determine the boundary between the two nations can also be used. This would help in preventing any illegal vessel from entering each other’s territorial water. This in turn will help to identify and minimise bottom trolling to protect the marine environment. Declaring the maximum amount of fish to catch would control excessive over fishing (Quota Management System). There are many technical measures that could ease tensions between the two countries.
India should have strong and close relations with all its neighbours to achieve its goal as a regional economic power. The SAARC meeting due in November would be a good opportunity for the newly appointed Indian Government to strengthen its bond and take some important decisions beneficial to both India and to the South Asian region as a whole.
In terms of the future goals of SAARC, it has been discussed that its future progress depends heavily on bordering countries such as Pakistan and India overcoming deep-rooted ethnic conflict. SAARC does have the potential to be a platform for increased communication and engagement over these issues. Prime Minister Modi’s proposal of having a common satellite for the SAARC region would be one initial step. As a Nepalese newspaper recently reported, the reduction in the soap industry ingredient import tariff in India would flood the Nepalese market with Indian soap, which could destroy the Nepalese soap manufacturers. While trade is one of the areas in which SAARC can strengthen its ties, it should be done in a way that is mutually beneficial and helpful to all the SAARC countries.  
The behaviour of South Asian countries clearly indicate that they are derived more from a nationalistic agenda. While looking inward is important for a country, it should also note that improving and strengthening regional cooperation among the South Asian Nations is equally important in this globalised world.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

Related Articles
Jayadeva Ranade,
"Modi Sets a Regional Agenda," 3 June 2014
Ramesh Ramachandran,
"India-Sri Lanka: Expanding on the Shades of Grey," 4 April 2014
Kuhan Madhan,
"India-Sri Lanka: Conflict over Fishing Rights," 16 January 2014

Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Sri Lanka: The New Regime and the Revolution

Changing Political Horizons in Sri Lanka?

The Geopolitics of Floating Bases and the New World Order

Monuments Over Mortality?

Sri Lanka: Leveraging the Politics of Geography

The Forgotten Professions: The Plight of a Nation

Crisis and Foresight Analysis

Steering Co-operation Across Oceans

Sri Lanka: National Interests in a Globalised World

Re-building Sri Lanka: An Island at a Crossroads

Forecast 2017: Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Foreign Policy: Diaspora and Lobbying

Securing Sri Lanka's National Interests

Understanding our “Blindspot” to Make Peacebuilding Comprehensive

Oceans of (Dis)trust

Death and Democracy

The Island and the Mainland: Impact of Fisheries on Indo-Lanka Relations

New Delhi-Tamil Nadu Relations and India’s Sri Lanka Policy

Remembering Tagore in Turbulent Times

Politics of Promise: Between Sirisena and Rajapaksa

Conflict to Co-existence: Debating Heritage and Homogenisation

Forecast 2016: A Roadmap for Sri Lanka

China Prepares for a Modern War

Riot and Responsibility: Governance in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka and the World: Terrorism and Effective Reconciliation

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February  March
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.