N. P Upadhyaya, Kathmandu: As if the Kartarpur corridor surprise from Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Indian PM Modi were not enough, most convincingly and fittingly yet another high powered fresh political bang in the vicinity must have disturbed the mental peace of the destructive troika in India (Modi-Doval-Shankar) the moment the Sri Lankan nationals elected Gotabaya Rajpakse as their new President.
The reason is simple in that the Island President prefers China over India which became evident when he stated that his nation shall adhere to the policy of “equidistance” in the conduct of its ties with the countries namely India and China.
Sri Lanka is not a father Shyam Saran tamed Nepal.
Pakistani journalist, Kamran Yousaf, claims in his Twitter account that “Modi government seems jolted by the recent victory of Gotabaya Rajpaksha in Sri Lankan Presidential elections. The new President is pro-China and has strong ties with Pakistan dating back to his army career when he was trained in Pindi and later graduated from Quetta Staff College”.
Perhaps unnerved by “unexpected” Sri Lankan political developments, the Indian regime sent its inferiority complex ridden and the most conservative foreign minister to Colombo in order to keep the new President in good mood.
FM Shankar is hoping against hope hopefully.
But yet for the time being, President Gotabaya is expected not to “allow the island nation to be pulled into a proxy contest among the world’s major powers”, however, analysts foresee a cautious creep towards the pro-Beijing policies of predecessor and brother Mahinda, so writes Bhavan Jaipragas , 18 Nov, 2019.
Honorable Gotabaya perhaps inherits so many political qualities from his respected brother Mahinda Rajpaksha-the present Prime Minister of Sri Lanka who remained all along a strong critique of the regional hegemon-India.
He had made a good rapport with Pakistan and the Army, to recall.
The Rajapaksas are adored by Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority, as well as the powerful Buddhist clergy, for defeating India made Tamil Tiger separatists and ending a 37-year civil war in 2009.
Nepal Maoists too were the creation of the New Delhi establishment. Later they were indoctrinated by Father Shyam Saran who is at the moment in Kathmandu meeting his salaried agents.
Rajapaksa, 70, a former defense official whose brother, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa had close ties with Beijing during his 10-year rule, is revered by Sri Lanka’s ethnic majority for his role in ending the civil war.
Elder and younger brother grand combination this. Exemplary.
Mahinda Rajpaksha has the credit of obliterating the LTTE menace from the Sri Lankan political scene a decade back. He did it.
India has allergy with the word “equidistance” for a variety of reasons. To put it bluntly, the regional devil, as India is taken by the civilized countries of South Asia, wants the smaller countries in the neighborhood to treat India as their boss to which the India plagued nations wish to dismiss summarily this Indian ugly wishes.
Save Baby Bhutan and to some extent the Maldives, rest of the India’s neighbors prefer China over India by default.
This marked shift is due to India’s erratic acts.
Nepal PM Oli has very recently challenged India Prime Minister Modi and has told him to take back his military men from Nepal’s Kalapani landmass. First time a Nepali PM has publicly challenged the regional devil.
That Bangladesh too has a deep rooted hatred for India got reflected when the New Delhi based Bangladesh High Commissioner bluntly said the other day that “People of Bangladesh would prefer to swim the Mediterranean and go to Italy than to come to India”.
This explains the extent of abhorrence for India from a country presumed to have been brought into existence by the Indian regime in the early seventies.
The known expansionist Indian lady late Mrs. Indira Gandhi had conspired to bifurcate Pakistan into two halves and thus Bangladesh emerged as a new nation in South Asia.
Reportedly, some key ministers in the present day B’desh cabinet possess immense love and honor for China.
This must have meaning underneath which speaks so many things unspoken.
Indian leadership understands better as to why the South Asians love to hate Indian establishment.
In the meanwhile, according to a Swedish Professor Ashok Swain, India under PM Modi is going backwards on every front: its economy is in a free fall (with growth at a six years low and unemployment at a 45 year high), its polity is becoming authoritarian and its dominant Religion, the Hinduism is growing intolerant”.
This professor further says November 21/19,”Under PM Modi, the Indian Muslims increasingly see themselves as second class citizens”.
In the same vein, Dr. Claude Rakishit, a strategic analyst and Honorary Associate professor at the Asia-Pacific College of (APCD) says that “Indian Muslims have been at the bottom of the sociology-economic ladder for decades. They are barely accepted by the majority and Modi’s policies will further discriminate against Muslims. The BJP is encouraging Muslim radicalization. The future stability of India is bleak”.
These professors have mentioned the plight of the minority Muslims keeping an eye on the continued predicament of the Kashmiri population in the Indian occupied territory since August 5/19.
The new Sri Lankan President too must work hard to take into full confidence the minorities, such as the Muslims and others. India is likely to fan the Tamils and the Muslims against President Gotabaya.
The India’s elevated FM Shankar has already told President Gotabaya to initiate conciliatory measures with the cornered Tamils.
Gotabaya has stated that he is the President of all the Sri Lankan: those who voted in favor or were against him.
The Indian design is not that encouraging towards the new Colombo regime, it appears.
For a brief period, India was happy that China has been distanced in Sri Lanka during the previous regime, however, with the emergence of President Gotabaya in the Sri Lankan politics, the Indian pain is sure to have doubled for a variety of political reasons.
It is altogether a different matter that the Indian establishment shall begin destabilizing President Gotabaya’s political clout in national politics by encouraging paid RAW agents to create disturbance inside the Island nation so that the incumbent President is forced to seek Indian assistance in taking control of the India created troubles.
Recall the forced entrance of the IPKF-the Indian peace keeping forces in Sri Lanka during the time of President Junious Jayewardene.
Some sort of LTTE phenomenon may be in the cards already. Sri Lanka is hereby warned. India can’t be taken at its face value.
Though the LTTE (the India engineered liberation of Tamil Tigers led by Prabhakaran) has been eliminated a decade back but yet President Gotabaya may have to confront the new version of the LTTE if he keeps himself at a distance with the Indian regime.
The chances can’t be ruled out as is the Nepali experience.
If New Delhi in advance tried to seduce the newly elected President then Gotabaya too appears to play the hide and seek game with India. He Okayed the Delhi’s invitation and will visit New Delhi and in doing so the new Sri Lankan President did not allow the regional hegemon to suspect his political credentials.
He will be in Delhi November 29/19.
However, the fact is that the Rajpakse illustrious brothers possess sound knowledge on how to take further steps in the region because they know how India creates issues and problems for the smaller countries.
Toeing his brother’s political line, President Gotabaya has taken up a subject that the Indian establishment has developed allergy.
President Gotabaya has in a high sounding voice announced that his country shall work for the revival of the India murdered SAARC-the regional organization which used to bring the smaller nations of South Asia to come closer at least once in a year.
President Gotabaya’s announcement that he will for sure revive the dead SAARC body must have stunned the New Delhi troika and conversely pleased the current SAARC Chair and Pakistan-the next SAARC Chair if the SAARC is revived as promised by Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and very freshly President Gotabaya.
Surprisingly, Bhutan too prefers the revival of the SAARC. Pakistan is very much willing to host the SAARC Summit.
The Sri Lankan President has also twitted as a response to Prime Minister KP Oli’s congratulatory message saying Nepal, being the birthplace of Lord Buddha, holds a special place in Sri Lanka’s hearts.
PM Modi here and there claims that Lord Buddha was born in India, however, he corrects his erratic observations on Lord Buddha as to have been born in Nepal when he is on an uninvited tour to Nepal.
However, with President Gotabaya’s fresh factual declaration on Lord Buddha, PM Modi and his hangers on must have come to senses.
It would not be out of place to appeal the newly elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya to expedite the existing concept of a South Asian Lord Buddha circuit.
The Circuit though is in existence already but is yet to take a formal shape. The Buddha circuit must come into operation.
The proposed Buddha circuit should begin with Lord Buddha’s birth place in Lumbini and then to India wherein Buddha attained his enlightenment.
And then the circuit must include Taxila, now in Pakistan and then it should extend up to Afghanistan and ending up in Bhutan.
Hopefully, after peace in Afghanistan institutionalizes after the success of the ongoing Pakistan facilitated Afghan-Taliban-US peace process, the Talibans’ will not harm the Buddhist relics and help restore the hermitages to regain its lost glories.
A fresh news claims that President Trump made separate calls this Thursday to PM Khan and President Ghani days after the Taliban- in exchange for three top Taliban figures-freed American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks in southern Afghanistan.
According to a government statement, Khan “reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the advancement of Afghan peace and reconciliation process for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.”
For the Buddha circuit to run smoothly, peace in Afghanistan is a must for multiple reasons.
Gandhâra; derived from Sanskrit word “Gandhar”, literally mean “perfumed” is the name of an ancient Kingdom in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan.
Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar (Pakistan), the Potohar plateau and on the northern side of the Kabul River. Its main cities were Purushapura (modern Peshawar) and Takshashila (Taxila).
Now let’s talk of Sri Lanka in the Buddha circuit.
Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of the majority of Sri Lanka practiced by 70% of Sri Lanka’s population. Practitioners of Buddhism can be found amongst the Sinhalese population as well as the Tamil population. Buddhism has been given the foremost place under Article 9 of the Constitution which can be traced back to an attempt to bring the status of Buddhism back to the status it enjoyed prior to being destroyed by colonialists. However, by virtue of Article 10 of the Sri Lankan constitution, religious rights of all communities are preserved. Sri Lanka is the traditionally oldest religious Buddhist country where Buddhist Aryan culture is protected and preserved. The island has been a center of Buddhist scholarship and learning since the introduction of Buddhism in the third century BCE producing eminent scholars such as Buddhaghosa and preserving the vast Pali canon. (Source Wikipedia).
So this completes the Buddha circuit which if becomes a reality time permitting is sure to bring in a real cohesion in the countries and the inhabitants of the South Asian nations.
President Gotabaya must take the regional leaders into confidence. PM Modi may object but he should be ignored by other leaders of the region.
If this circuit takes a formal shape then Myanmar and China also could be added in the second phase.
The idea should be “enhancing friendly ties among the countries linked by Buddha’s teachings”.
Pakistan has very freshly opened several Hindu temples for the Hindu pilgrims inside its territory which is definitely a good news for the Hindus in Nepal. Later a Hindu religion circuit too could be envisioned much the same way as the Kartarpur Road and the Buddha circuit.
President Gotabaya has to take the initiative or else the Indian PM Modi and his destructive Troika will damage the entire scheme.
Interestingly, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan are all closer to China. Bangladesh too has some sympathy for China. In all, China could be a grand player in the region provided China guarantees that it shall never pounce upon the sovereignty of these friendly countries. The question is: Will China assure the smaller South Asian nations who have been threatened by the former British India Company?
Lastly, President Gotabaya is expected to depute his Prime Minister Honorable Mahinda to travel to the SAARC countries and prepare the ground for the convening of the next SAARC Summit in Pakistan.
Nepal and Pakistan and Sri Lanka together with Bhutan then should lobby for the inclusion of China in the SAARC as full member.
Needless to say, a strong Pakistan and Sri Lanka together will mean much to the people and the countries of South Asia. The meaning is underneath.