Home Contact Us  

South Asia - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4910, 8 September 2015

Dateline Colombo

Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
Asanga Abeyagoonasekera
Executive Director, LKIIRSS, Sri Lanka

"Don’t think the enemies are weak as there are pro-Eelam forces on one hand while forces belonging to the last regime are also waiting to sabotage the destiny of the national government,” Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

One of the largest catastrophes in modern human history is unfolding in Syria owing to the meteoric rise of the Islamic State (IS) that is now in control of more than half of the Syrian territory. According UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the country has lost the equivalent of four decades of human development.

The suffering of the Syrians running from the IS trouble and a picture of a lifeless Syrian boy on the beach has caught the attention of the entire world. According to reports, one of every five Syrians lives in poverty. The Syrian nation is in chaos, thus leaving no choice but to flee. It is time international communities collaborate in crushing the root cause, which is the IS. With Western and Middle Eastern political will, the IS infrastructure can be dismantled and by building international partnerships, global harmony can be restored.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka was going through its own political transition. After the January 2015 presidential election which overthrew the Rajapaksa regime, Sri Lankans reaffirmed their verdict in the recent August 2015 parliamentary election, defeating Rajapaksa yet again. This secured a clear victory for the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) that took 106 seats while the opposition could secure only 95. The new government with the leadership of the new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be ready to introduce good governance and fight corruption to bring economic prosperity. It is time he executes the promises made while electioneering, with the right kind of cabinet ministers. Sri Lanka is seen by the outside world as a shining example of democratic peaceful elections and political transition. The democratic values in our society are far superior to an individual politician.

R. Sampanthan, a minority party leader was appointed opposition leader. 48 Cabinet Ministers were elected from the two main parties, the UNFGG and United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). For the first time, Sri Lanka’s opposition leader, who should have been according to the people’s mandate of more than 4 million UPFA voters, has been moved to a minority regional party due to the MoU to create a national government. This move garnered both positive and negative reactions but at this critical juncture, with the upcoming decision on Sri Lanka at the UNHCR and the absence of a clear majority government, this was the best option chosen, because the people had not given enough votes to form a majority government.

However, the Sri Lankan government, under UNSC Resolution 1373, proscribed 15 Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam fronts with effect from 1 April 2014. The order enabled funds, assets, and economic resources belonging to the listed persons and entities to remain frozen until the removal of their names from the designated list. It is important to continue the ban and to not review it this point because these fronts still could be a threat to our national security.

In the next few days, some members of the Tamil National Alliance will leave for Geneva to pressure for an international investigation. Sustaining the national government model will be the next challenge as we know what the capabilities of some of our politicians are and how fast they move from one side to another. For a country that has gone through peaceful political transition, it is now important to quickly move towards the nation-building process to double our per capita income by 2020. To this end, two important factors need to be considered:

First we need to move as a nation to a higher collective outcome. The four-time prime minister who understands and knows most politicians in his political sphere would have to find the art of moving away from playing prisoner’s dilemma as he needs to get everyone to cooperate and move forward instead of stagnating.

“If you and I were to change our ways together, we could both get to a better place. However, if I was to change and you were not, I’d be much worse off. And because I can’t be sure that you will move, I won’t make the move either,” Lutfey Siddiqi, Adjunct Professor, National University of Singapore.

These words demonstrate a classic ‘prisoner’s dilemma’ where groups of people settle for a sub-optimal outcome because they cannot ensure coordinated action that could take them all to a better outcome. Great leadership, especially in the context of national leadership is about orchestrating coordinated movement away from the prisoners’ dilemma to a higher collective outcome.

We need to introduce meritocracy into our system, which, in essence is appointing suitable and qualified individuals for the job and ensuring strong government appointments to strengthen our institutions. All appointments will go through a recommendation committee of president and prime minister – a brilliant move to screen the most appropriate person for the job, in the absence of which one will witness ad hoc appointments by some ministers. Chairpersons, directors and all executives’ political appointments need to be carefully decided as they are the key individuals who will work in the ministries and developing the institutions that run losses.

As a nation, we have underwent a lot of pain, firstly during the independence struggle and then fighting terrorism for nearly three decades, and secondly through the youth insurrections and the many political transitions over the past several decades. It is important to develop a national plan by all political parties for the next several decades to take our nation towards prosperity.

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


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
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

The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament

Y! MyWeb
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.