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Monday, November 5, 2012

[] India's economic invasion of Sri Lanka

India's economic invasion of Sri Lanka
By Shenali Waduge, Eurasia Review

Half of Sri Lanka's post-independence was ravaged with countering
terrorism. Sri Lanka's sovereignty and territorial integrity was
secured by its armed forces but not without sacrificing life and limb.
The armed forces passed on the next phase of post-conflict to Sri
Lanka's political leadership. Nevertheless, it is more than clear that
from the manner economic development is defined and approached we are
watching India economically take over Sri Lanka on a silver platter.
Would it not be a shame and an insult to Sri Lanka's security forces
to negate all that they fought to win when in time all that Sri Lanka
took pride in ends up owned and belonging to India?

It is not that Sri Lanka's leadership has not been warned. Countless
times many have raised the importance of securing Sri Lanka natural
resources and strategically important focal points. Enough of times
warnings have been given to look beyond the gifts given. Strategic and
natural resources should gain no place in diplomatic or trade
discussions where it would mean that they end up a security risk to
Sri Lanka.

In reference to India, whatever ancient ties is being used to promote
cordial relations - we should not be gullible to realities. India
helped train, support and finance Tamil militant movements, India used
every diplomatic opportunity to humiliate Sri Lanka and what more
excuses can India give for its ultimate betrayal in Geneva. Our
relationships with India must always have at the back of our mind what
India is still capable of doing to Sri Lanka because India took the
option of undercutting Sri Lanka instead of developing better ties
with Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka cannot be naïve to this fact especially when
India ignores the fact that Sri Lanka did India a favor by eliminating
the LTTE and reducing the Eelam homeland calls which is eventually
targeted at breaking up India's south. Yet, India has allowed Tamil
Nadu leaders to go and deliver its TESO Resolutions to the UN.
It is apparent that India thinks itself too big and too powerful to be
thanking Sri Lanka so its next best alternative in case Tamil Nadu
separatism does go beyond India's control is to ensure that Sri Lanka
is very much under its periphery of control - to ensure that India
needs to interlock Sri Lanka to various trade and service agreements
which Sri Lanka appears to be blindly agreeing to - blindly because it
is under the foreign radar to show FDIs and development to the rest of
the world and India has managed to ensure other nations are kept aloof
while it can tie Sri Lanka's noose.

This has got and is getting Sri Lanka nowhere. Can Sri Lanka allow
economic development to compromise national security?While we have no
issues with Indian people, but the influx of Indian labor (legally and
illegally) controlling private enterprises, functioning as CEOs,
holding key portfolios and functioning as "advisors" is something that
needs to be addressed NOW because Sri Lanka's army can only protect
the nation but Sri Lanka's political leaders appear to have no answers
for the calamity that is likely to result by blindly allowing the
Indian influx on the excuse of cultural, diplomatic and economic ties
- the problem is nothing that the armed forces can solve ever.

What is the logic of economic trade with a country as large as India?
Against how many Indian projects opened in Sri Lanka has Sri Lanka
opened in India? Will that gain even trickle down to offer any benefit
to the Sri Lankan masses - are these all not private profit generating
deals? The people are not fools - they are well aware of how much Sri
Lanka is giving India, a country that morally has no right to be
promoting itself as Sri Lanka's friend.

India has been given stakes in oil distribution, oil exploration,
telecommunication, banks, tourism, hotels, vehicle and machinery,
utilities, renewable energy, plantations, fertilizers,
agro-processing, food processing, pharmaceuticals, education and
knowledge, IT, bio-tech and despite the many warnings real estate
culminating in a $460m Tower in the heart of Colombo spelling further
dangers to Sri Lanka's security - national security must not solely be
handled by Sri Lanka's external affairs ministry! All that we ask is
to ensure Sri Lanka's economy is not controlled by India - now or
As far as the Tamil only Homeland is concerned we continue to say it
is nowhere else but in Tamil Nadu and all other issues Sri Lanka is
currently facing is rooted in ego-issues and pride factors gathering
moss over the decades.

This too can if articulated properly be solved if Sri Lanka's
political leaderships point to Tamil Nadu and tell India its their
call now because if autonomy for Tamils is now what Sambanthan and et
al want - there is a readymade State in Tamil Nadu there is no need to
create one, its federal, its majority is Tamil, its official language
is Tamil and probably India may agree to sing the Indian National
anthem in Tamil as well - there is no need to carve out a separate
state at all!

In a worse case scenario what Sri Lanka will need is FOOD - therefore
our agriculture and fisheries - what has been gifted to its natives by
nature must never fall into the hands of foreign investors. If what we
have is sufficient our own people should be encouraged on how to
develop to sustain ourselves first - we do not need to compromise our
bellies for cash crops. The present world conflicts revolve around the
hunger to secure minerals and natural resources - when we know this,
why do we want to hand over our key stakes to foreign investors? When
the future lies with Asia - does this not mean that we are returning
to a period when civilization began and East held supremacy and should
this not mean that Sri Lanka must remain sovereign when it was once
known as the Granary of the East?

There are matters that Sri Lanka needs to immediately address that go
beyond trade and mutual political goodwill. Trade statistics between
India and Sri Lanka clearly points lack of any significant benefit to
Sri Lanka while from just 10 companies during LTTE reign India has
over 100 Indian companies firmly rooted in Sri Lanka enjoying BOI
investment incentives, tax holidays and taking profits back to India
far more than what was initially invested whilst scores of other
companies are being run by local Indian proxies.

Do we need to repeat regarding the sub-standard pharmaceutical drugs
flooding to Sri Lanka? Has giving oil distribution to India not
resulted in India repatriating ¾ times the capital it invested? Is
India not killing our Ceylon tea now that it has secured practically
all our tea plantations and are mixing our teas with India low quality
tea and selling them as Pure Ceylon tea, will this subquality sold
cheap not end up Sri Lanka losing the proud place it held and why is
Sri Lanka watching this rape of our Ceylon tea take place - where is
the benefit to Sri Lanka apart from the initial investment?

Of the Indian companies operating in Sri Lanka how many have actually
closed shop after making use of the tax holidays and BOI concessions
given? How many Indian companies use the trade loop holes to secure
better deals to send goods back home making use of concessions given
to us? How many Indian companies have been perfect employers and how
many Sri Lankans have been left unemployed - these are good times to
analyze exactly what India has delivered.

Those who promote that Sri Lankans will have opportunities for
employment in India may first like to answer how Sri Lankans can gain
employment when over 320m non-graduate Indians and close to 5m Indian
graduates are unemployed? Does Sri Lanka's leaders want Sri Lanka to
face the situation that happened to Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan
because of India? Over half a million Indians live in Bangladesh
illegally, they do not pay taxes and send millions of dollars through
illegal smuggling channels to India, whilst in Nepal there are over 5m
Indians living legally and illegally and India demanded an
unauthorized trade agreement with India which resulted in a blockade
of essential goods and ecological havoc as India denied gasoline and
kerosene supplies via India. These are just a few examples of methods
used by India to show its might. So if other SAARC nations are
cautious of signing bilateral trade agreements with India related to
service sectors why are our advisors not giving proper advice? Should
these dynamics and dangers not mean that Sri Lanka needs to be far
more cautious on what it signs with every foreign investor especially
India a population of over 1.2BILLION against just 20m in Sri Lanka?

A steady flow of Indian ministers, Indian trade delegations and Indian
diplomatic sweet talks translate to mean India is pushing its agenda
in Sri Lanka at full force - it has steadily used the excuse of
November's UPR to coerce Sri Lanka into giving India key stakes
everywhere wherein India will slowly plan to usurp power from Sri
Lankan hands. This in time would mean a total economic invasion and
capture and probably lead to handing over Sri Lanka legally and
officially without a gunshot and power hungry Sri Lankan politicos
will find they will not have a country to lead - they would end up as
traitors in Sri Lanka's history books looked down upon by the masses
for giving S+ri Lanka to India compromising what the armed forces
fought to achieve.

We hope that Sri Lanka's leaders finally open their eye and reverse
the damage done and devise ways not to fall prey to similar diplomatic
and economic invasions by India and any other foreign nation.


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