Home Contact Us  
   

South Asia - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4726, 4 November 2014
 

Dateline Colombo

Connecting Sri Lanka: Train to Jaffna
Asanga Abeyagoonasekera
Executive Director, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS), Sri Lanka
 

On 09 November, the world will remember the fall of the Iron Curtain. Twenty five years from this date the Berlin Wall was dismantled; this iconic moment triggered the end of the Cold War. One may wonder what journey a contemporary super power such as the US has navigated for the last twenty five years and if this same process will occur in the case of China emerging as the next super power. The Economist indicators support that Asia’s export share has doubled from 18 per cent in 1980 to 36 per cent in 2013. The month of November will also commence with an important discussion on the re-emergence of the ancient Chinese Maritime Silk Road. This seminar on the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR)” with Sri Lankan and Chinese scholars will be held in Sri Lanka. The Chinese President’s proposal on the revival of the ancient Maritime Silk Road was fully supported by the Sri Lankan President several months ago. MSR is of importance to the island of Sri Lanka, due to its geo-strategic position at the centre of the Silk Road. It is important to ponder on the balancing role Sri Lanka plays between China and India, as within the scope of development in this country, China is heavily present in the South and India present in the North.
 
On the note of development within the country, the Yal Devi (Queen of Jaffna) Train resumed operations from Colombo to Jaffna after 24 years. Re-starting on 13 October, it marked a landmark in railway links between South and North of Sri Lanka. This rail link was constructed in 1905 under British colonial rule. On the present day the India Railway Construction International (IRCON), an Indian railway subsidiary, completed the restoration of the railway lines with a cost of Rupees 58 billion, on the basis of financial assistance from India. President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the new railway line. When speaking to the media at the event, the President said, “This effort will connect hearts of the people in south and north and this was the main aim of the new railway to the north after liberating north from the LTTE control.” The LTTE bombed the Yal Devi train at Kokavil on 19 January 1985 killing 34 people and destroying train tracks, which disrupted connectivity. Providing transport to the North is a good deed; however one may question how far physical infrastructure helps in connecting the hearts and minds of the people. Infrastructure development to create access to different parts of the island could provide economic benefits to those localities that were deprived of development due to the three-decade war. However, there are many other factors apart from physical infrastructure that could help to connect on a mental and humane level as citizens of a single nation. Strengthening the reconciliation process, implementing the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) recommendations and working towards fully implementing the13th amendment devolution of powers to other parts are important areas to focus on. While you may need one set of values to succeed in war, it takes another set of values for the post war scenario. The values the government possesses in the post war context from 2009 to the present day are debatable.

In matters of governance, incidents such as the Aluthgama riot with the Muslim community and the recent diplomatic chaos in New York will definitely create a negative impact, and does not create a positive image outside the country. Outside the boundaries of the nation yet directly affecting it, the ban against the LTTE was lifted in European Union. The late Lakshman Kadirgamar, was an astute foreign minister who worked tirelessly to ban the LTTE in many nations. One of the greatest achievements during President Chandrika Bandaranayke’s administration was this ban on the LTTE. In lifting the ban on this ruthless terrorist group that assassinated many innocent people indiscriminately, the future consequences of this act towards the country and the entire world should be evaluated.
 
Closer to the day-to-day lives of Sri Lankans; the government budget proposal was presented to parliament a week ago. The considerable increase in expenditure and inadequate evidence to increase revenue is evident. The projected fiscal deficit of 4.2 per cent of GDP is unlikely to be realised with the rise of expenditure. One of the key areas that budget does not focus on is research and development of the country, a primary area towards the five-hub strategy. The Rupees 500 million budget for research and development is insufficient in the serious development of an important sector. Staying focused on maintaining power seems in this case more important than policy matters, as judging by the latest budget proposals. The election budget and accelerated development in the North such as the new train line could be due to plans for early presidential elections in January 2015.

Connecting to win the hearts and minds of all communities of the Island will be challenging after three decades of war but this is achievable with the right strategies and processes by the government.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect those of the government of Sri Lanka or the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS), Sri Lanka.

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?

Indo-Pacific
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?
Indus-tan
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
N Manoharan,
"Sri Lanka: TNA in the Northern Province," 17 October 2013
Thiranjala Weerasinghe,
"Sri Lanka: Tough Questions, Slow Answers," 8 August 2013

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
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

Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
 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 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.