It is now plain that India is still eager to be seen as a strategic partner of super power USA by ruthlessly promoting terror operations on Indian soil (not only in Ajmer and Hyderabad Mecca Mosque, but even in Mumbai and Delhi) to continue to claim the dubious status of being a prominent terror victim.
Over years, India has successfully presented itself as a prominent ‘terror victim’ to the world, especially to USA and other big powers. The ‘terror’ strategy worked well for New Delhi in the comity of anti-Islamic nations whether or not that is terrorized.
Apparently terror attacks continue unabated in India because Indian regime deliberately wants them badly for claiming to be a prominent ‘terror victim’. Indian strategists wrongly think such false terror claims would enable India somehow entail a veto on the discredited UNSC.
Repeated terror attacks being perpetrated in India and Pakistan, following the Sept-11 hoax in New York in the most developed nation America with most modern intelligence-surveillance capabilities give the impression that there exists an Indo-Pak official terror link. India as well as Pakistan is eager to retain the nukes in its arms arsenals. It is a fact that the Sept-11 was engineered and executed very systematically by those forces that wanted to malign Islam as a terrorist religion – but the blame was conveniently placed on one Osama and his Al-Qaeda.
On 28 March, a report by Pakistani news channel Dunya News had said that Indian authorities showed “signs of reluctance” when the JIT asked them for information and evidence. “Sketches of the attackers, footage of the closed-circuit television, duty registers of the Border Security Force (BSF), details of the bank accounts, service records, post-mortem report of the driver who died in the car accident at the time of the incident and the FIR of that car’s snatching have not been given to the Pakistani investigation team,” a report in Pakistani newspaper Daily Times had said.
The report had further said that post-mortem and DNA reports of the terrorists involved and phone records and information about the commander of Pathankot airbase had not been given to the JIT. The Dunya News report had further claimed that the stances of the Indian government and BSF regarding the terror attack were contradicting each other.
Moreover, the report had said that while Indian authorities had said that terrorists had entered the Pathankot airbase after climbing ten-foot walls, no ropes were found as evidence. These claims by the Pakistani media had come just a day after it was found that Pakistan’s electronic media regulatory body (PEMRA) on Sunday had released a statement for the Pakistani media, asking them to be “professional” and “responsible” when reporting on the Lahore attacks, unlike the Indian media.
One has no clues as to why Pakistani investigators were allowed to enter the Indian air force base in Pathankot from narrow adjacent routes instead of the main entrance and the duration of the visit was just 55 minutes, enough to take a mere walk through the military facility. India claims that a Pakistani ‘terrorist’ attack took place at the Pathankot Air Force Station in January this year, in which four attackers and two security forces personnel were killed in the initial battle, with an additional security force member dying from injuries hours later.
The fight looks very similar to the fake encounters in the thick forests and reports are supplied to the press by the military establishment. The real happening might be kept in secrecy.
On Friday, the Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) returned to Pakistan after their five-day visit to India during which all Indian evidence pertaining to the January 2016 attack was shared with them, including the DNA of four terrorists, their identities as well as call records showing involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). The JIT had examined 13 witnesses, including former Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh.
The JIT says the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan, according to a report in a Pakistani daily. It further said that the JIT report, which will be submitted to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the next few days, has even concluded that Indian authorities had prior information about the terrorists. The report also quoted a member of the JIT as saying that the NIA officer’s murder in Uttar Pradesh showed that “Indian establishment wants to keep the matter under wraps.”
Though just a few days after the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Pathankot terror attack India media announced that the four ‘terrorists’ who attacked the Pathankot Indian Air Force base could, according to JIT, be from Pakistan, the JIT has also insisted that the Pathankot attack had been staged by India.
The same source also told media that the JIT concluded that the standoff between the Indian army and “alleged” terrorists ended within hours after the attack, which apparently made it clear that the attack was a drama staged to malign Pakistan. “The Indian authorities made it a three-day drama to get maximum attention from the world community in order to malign Pakistan,” Pakistan Today quoted the JIT report as saying. The source also told Pakistan Today that no “major” damage was done to the base and that the perimeter lights at the airbase were not functional on the day of the attack, which apparently raises questions about whether India had prior information about the terrorists.
This is not the first time, though, that the Pakistani media and the JIT have made allegations of hiding evidence against India.
What is truly surprising about the Pakistani JIT report’s claim is that it comes just days after the same JIT admitted that the terrorists were from Pakistan. Reports had, in fact, also suggested that Pakistan had enough evidence to link them to extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammad. Moreover, during the beginning of the investigation, Indian investigators had said that the visiting officials did not “contradict” any of the evidence submitted by the NIA. “The fact that they did not contradict or made any adverse comment or observation is a positive sign,” sources had told IANS.
The fact that the JIT is now saying that Indian authorities did not provide evidence and is claiming something as absurd as India staging the Pathankot attack shows exactly how dark relations between India and Pakistan truly are. As this report in The Tribune had said, “Cricketers believe that if India and Pakistan were to play more games, it would help both countries to live in peace. They do not realize that at political and diplomatic levels too, both nations play games. This game is called one-upmanship, with surprise as an important element.”
Pakistan media reports that the Pathankot terror attack was “stage-managed” by India are seen here as “double-speak” by Pakistan’s security establishment. “The report in a Pakistan pro-government daily only shows that ISI and Pakistan Army were doing double-speak. India has provided irrefutable evidence to Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) during their visit here regarding the involvement of Pak-based terrorists,” a government source said.
The news report in a daily quoted an unnamed JIT member as saying that the attack was nothing but “vicious propaganda” against Pakistan as Indian authorities did not have any evidence to back their claims. “Within hours of the assault, all the attackers were shot dead by the Indian security forces. However, the Indian authorities made it a three-day drama to get maximum attention from the world community in order to malign Pakistan,” the report added. Rebutting the report, another government source said the evidence provided to JIT can stand international scrutiny and expressed surprise over media reports emerging that the NIA had not provided enough evidence to the visiting team. “The JIT was handed over whatever they asked for which included certified copies of statements of witnesses, DNA reports of four terrorists, memos of articles seized from them,” the source said.
Pakistan had made a request under section 188 of Criminal procedure Code of Pakistan for collecting the evidence from the NIA. The call data records of the two phones snatched from Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma which were used by the terrorists to call a number in Pakistan were also shared with the JIT, the source said.
India also shared the conversation recorded between Nasir Hussain, one of the four terrorists who carried out the attack on IAF base during the intervening night of January 1 and 2, with his mother Khayyam Babber. The NIA has asked for a DNA sample from Nasir’s family. The agency has also handed over call recordings of terrorists holed up inside the IAF base with their handlers including Kashif Jaan, who has since been missing.
The Pakistani JIT had asked NIA to hand over swabs of four terrorists identified as Nasir Hussain (Punjab province), Abu Bakar, (Gujranwala), Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum (both from Sindh). However, the NIA handed over to the visitors the DNA report of the terrorists and asked them to match those with their family members, the sources said.
The Pakistani JIT headed by Additional Inspector General of Police, Counter Terrorism Department, Muhammad Tahir Rai and also including ISI’s Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, had recorded statements of 16 people. The list for recording the witnesses was submitted to the NIA by Pakistani team only.
The 16 witnesses questioned in all included Singh, Verma and cook Madan Gopal. The three were kidnapped by the Pathankot attack perpetrators belonging to the banned Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed on the intervening night of 31 December, 2015 and 1 January, 2016. The ‘terrorists’ had allegedly dumped Verma after slitting his throat and continued their journey with Singh and Gopal before jettisoning them a few kilometres away from the strategic air base at Pathankot.
The ‘terrorists’ entered the air base and mounted the brazen assault on the intervening night of 1 and 2 January. In the fierce encounter that ensued, seven security personnel besides four terrorists were killed.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on April 05 accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Government of indulging in dual standards by allowing Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Pathankot terror attack, saying that on one hand the Centre preaches ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and on the other they allow ISI on Indian soil to verify facts and conduct investigation. BJP leaders say those who refuse to say ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ have no right to live in India but they are unable to control the ‘terror operators’. Kejriwal also trained guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked as to what was the deal between the latter and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. The Delhi Chief Minister tweeted: “On one hand they say ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and on the other they call ISI to visit India and back-stab ‘Bharat Mata’.” Modiji has betrayed the nation by inviting ISI. Don’t know what the deal between Modi ji and Nawaz is),” he said in another tweet.
Kejriwal ridiculed the double mindset of Modi, BJP and BJP government and they seem to hide the truth about the secret deals with Pakistan.
Indian objective in terror experiments has been multi-pronged: to maintain the claim of being a terror victim at par with USA and Russia, keep Pakistan permanently accused of ‘exporting terror’; force Kashmiris not to press for freedom or sovereignty form India; come closer to USA and Europe on the issue of ‘jointly fighting terror’,
The way Indian forces prolonged the ‘war’ for days in order to generate New York fire scenario at Mumbai Taj hotel fighting ‘terror ‘ makes the point pretty clear about Indian mindset to quickly blame Pakistan.
However, scorning all such fake Indian claims, USA has decided to sell all latest terror equipment to Pakistan ignoring India’s loudest protest against the sale. India would now buy even those latest military goods equipment from USA sooner than later, but that is a different story altogether.
It is high time India considered the limits of nukes as war equipment to be employed in order to retain Kashmir , now essentially under military control as Indian government gifted extra military draconian laws to the military command in Kashmir to deal ’freely’ with Kashmiris Muslims.
India needs to evolve and incorporate humane laws and generous mindset to free the Kashmiris from the military yoke.
Kashmiris need to get back their sovereignty lost to New Delhi soon after, ironically, India gained independence from Great Britain in 1947. India managed to get nuke technology from Russia to be to manufacture nukes and added them to its missile arms arsenals, targeting Pakistan and China, among other ‘enemy’ nations. But the reason for its nuclear ambition is Kashmir that now remains the flashpoint, terrorizing South Asia region. However, Pakistani counter nukes have not made tension in the region less intense.
Once New Delhi allows sovereignty back to Kashmiris, world would respect India as a serious nation. India then won’t have to resort to terror techniques to be in the news.
Sri Lanka Appoints New Minister for Foreign Relations
The newly-elected Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Dinesh Gunawardena as the Minister of Foreign Relations after his Presidential election in 2019. In addition to Foreign Affairs, Dinesh Gunawardena was also appointed as the Minister of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations. The new foreign minister Gunawardena hails from a well known political family in Sri Lanka .His father Philip Gunawardena is a famous national hero known as ‘the Father of Socialism’. Gunawardena a graduate from the University of Oregon in the US, entered politics in 1972. In 1983 as the general-secretary of Mahajana Eksath Peramuna’s (MEP) he entered Parliament in a by-election held in Maharagma. He is well-known as a long-standing parliamentarian and has served as a minister several times since the mid 90s.
The new Minister of Foreign Relations Gunawardena is supposed to implement a friendly and Non-aligned Foreign Policy. In a recent newspaper interview he stated “Sri Lanka will have a strict neutral foreign policy where it will strive to have only friends and not foes among the global community”(Sunday Observer,2019).In this context there is a history to this non-aligned policy. At the outset, Sri Lanka was a founder member of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM). As part of this approach, the new Sri Lankan government had outlined in the manifesto how the presidency would implement the Foreign Policy over the next five years. The manifesto mentions a key phrase “Friendly and Non-aligned Foreign Policy .We will not fall on our knees before any country in maintaining foreign and trade relations. We will always be mindful of our national sovereignty and maintain friendly relations with other countries from a standpoint of equality. Our government will restore Sri Lanka’s national pride and dignity”. (Gotabaya Rajapaksa manifesto, 2019)
Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena assumed duties at the Foreign Ministry on Monday 25 November 2019. While meeting staff members of Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Minister mentioned that the “Foreign Service is highly regarded and the entire country is looking towards the Foreign Ministry to find solutions for external pressures and challenges”. Sri Lanka being an Indian Ocean island nation strategically located at the international maritime crossroads has significant diplomatic influence with the international community. Therefore Sri Lanka needs a far-sighted foreign policy vision along with well-aligned and sound domestic policies. It is, therefore, vital that the new Foreign minister sets out the country’s position towards Asian, African nations and the West to ensure that Sri Lanka is able to achieve its foreign policy goals over the next five years.
Kartarpur may be the first drop of rain
On November 09th, 2019, Pakistan and India opened the first-ever visa-free corridor between the two countries to facilitate the pilgrimage of Sikhs – a minority community in both India and Pakistan but with major chunk of its populace settled in India – to their second holiest site located in Katarpur, a border village in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Inaugurated on the respective sides by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, the4.1 km long corridor –connecting Dera Baba Nanak Shrine in India with Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan – will enable more than5,000 devotees to visit the holy shrine everyday and is widely being regarded as the first drop of rain in the decade’s long history of the desiccated and conflictual relationship between the two neighbours.
An occurrence such momentous that it effectively exalted Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan as the most beloved figurefor Sikhs, besides actuating Prime Minister Narendra Modi to issue a rare and extraordinary message of gratitude towards his Pakistani counterpart, despite the contextual reality that later has been drawing parallels between the Indian PM and Nazi leader Hitler after the Indian government’s draconian venture in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) steeped the relations between the two countries to an unprecedented low.
The trudge to this landmark breakthrough was as arduous and bumpy as it could have been between the two nations that share a 07 decades-long history of the antagonism. Although, the demand of Sikhs to be granted access to the revered shrine – located just a few kilometers away from the Redcliff Line – is as old as the two antagonist nations, interminable strains in the relationship between the two countries proved to be an impediment in the way of this few kilometers of journey across the border.
Even as Pakistan extended the olive branch and Indian politician Navjot Singh Sihdu – who attended PM Khan’s oath-taking ceremony in August last year – was apprised by Pakistani COAS about his country’s readiness to open the “corridor of peace”, cynicism and suspicion from Indian side were axiomatic. Sidhu was barraged with denunciation back home for embracing Pakistan’s top military official, while the sciolists in Indian political and strategic community tried to conjecture about the “covert designs” behind Pakistan’s apparently benevolent move. Indisputably, India was not left with any other choice except for accepting the Pakistani offer as responding otherwise could have infuriated its 22 million-strong Sikh minority. Though the Modi government hesitatingly expressed its consent for the construction of the corridor, it didn’t respond positively to the successive dialogue offers made by PM Khan.
To add to the complexity was the hyper-nationalistic and anti-Pakistan narrative adopted by PM Modi during his recent election campaign after he had fallen short of delivering on his previous election promises as regards transforming the Indian economy and improving people’s lives. As if Pakistan bashing was not enough to garner votes, Modi went as far as to push the two countries almost to the brink of a nuclear exchange in February 2019 when in response to an attack– purported to be a false-flag – at Indian security forces in restive Kashmir, he ordered Indian Air Force (IAF) to bomb targets inside mainland Pakistan, provoking a daring response from Pakistan Air Force (PAF) the next day resulting in the downing of an IAF jet and arrest of an Indian pilot by Pakistani forces, who was returned few days later.
Nevertheless, the perilous brinkmanship worked spectacularly for Modi and his right-wing BJP secured an overwhelming majority in the lower house of parliament, full credit to the shrewd manipulation of mainstream and social media– which abetted the regime’s efforts to cunningly overshadow the embarrassment of aircraft downing and capture of pilot with the celebrations of “punishing Pakistan”.
After winning elections, Modi further upped the ante in the disputed J&K and after imposing an all-out communication clampdown and enacting a security blanket over the valley of Kashmir – the state’s only Muslim majority region – unilaterally repealed the region’s decades-old semi-autonomous status.
Predictably, it evoked a strong response from Pakistan which downgraded diplomatic ties with India, cut-off trade and expelled the Indian High Commissioner while refusing to send his own to New Delhi. Then followed a long diplomatic scrimmage between the two countries with Pakistan trying to rally the support of international community against the tyrannical Indian moves in the occupied valley and India responding with counter moves aimed at hurting Pakistan diplomatically and economically, besides propagating the deceitful mantra of “all is well” for Kashmir.
Notwithstanding the reignited tensions, when Pakistan decided to move ahead with the opening of the corridor as per schedule, it was regarded as a bold diplomatic move. Though it would have earn the country appreciation abroad, a severe backlash from the opposition at home was very much on the cards and at a time when leader of a right-wing political party Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman was holding a sit-in in Islamabad with his thousands of zealot supporters demanding Khan’s resignation, the risk of domestic backlash had increased manifold.
Nevertheless, Khan’s government with the undisguised support of country’s powerful military moved ahead with the decision despite criticism from opposition politicians like Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari – whose left-wing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) frequently champions religious freedom and interfaith harmony but didn’t miss the opportune moment to ensure the “obligatory” political point-scoring.
Although, Pakistan has made a landmark move despite soaring regional tensions and domestic pressure and opening of the border corridor can be rightfully considered as the first drop of rain after decades of desiccation, the chances that a rainstorm may follow which can convert the roads into the river, remain ever more slim and the major impediment is the simmering volcano; the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) – a sticking point mentioned by Khan in his speech on the day of the inauguration of corridor.
For more than seven decades the outstanding issue of J&K has been instigating hostilities between the two now nuclear-armed neighbors and recent unilateral actions by India – which violate numerous United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions and various bilateral accords with Pakistan – have just added to the fire and fury. Essentially, Modi’s regime’s recent actions in J&K has taken the matters to a point of no-return and the chances of Pakistan making any further peace overtures towards India or responding to any – though highly unlikely – Indian peace initiative, are slightest.
The pessimism around talks has already been echoed by Khan when he made it abundantly clear that until Indian government ends its oppressive clampdown in the valley of Kashmir and restores pre-August 5th, 2019 status of disputed J&K – an even distant possibility – negotiations remains out of question.
Even though, there is a remote possibility that Khan’s government – which has almost lost its initially built momentum against India over Kashmir and seems to be more concerned with other domestic and regional issues – will even subtly try to normalize the relationship with India, yet a slight nuance of any such move is likely to evoke strong backlash from country’s religious right as well as the political opposition. And given the virtual reality that supporting Kashmir cause is regarded as a symbol of nationalism in Pakistan, and country’s powerful military establishment and Khan are already facing accusations of striking a deal on Kashmir, it is even unlikely that Pakistan will venture on taking any further risk of making up with India, only to spark a general enragement.
India under Modi is undergoing a massive transformation and into the 6th consecutive year of BJP’s rule, the country’s fundamental secular outlook is under threat. In 1947, while Pakistan was being founded as a country for Muslims, India’s founding fathers envisioned a secular outlook for the culturally, religiously and ethnically diverse country. Seven decades below the line, Modi regime – despite publically pledging to safeguard India’s secular constitution – has embraced a fundamentally opposite course.
Rise of far-right may be a global phenomenon but India presents the most extreme and violent version of this imminent menace – a reality axiomatic by the rising religious intolerance, especially against Muslims; increased and generally overlooked incidents of mob-violence against minorities; cow vigilantes– which represent a militant brand of Hindu nationalism – patrolling the streets of India to impose their own version of “law” under state’s patronage; a sudden rise in the incidents of hate speech by the leaders of ruling party without facing any admonishment; the taming of Indian media to ally with government’s jingoistic policies and religiously incendiary rhetoric; various democratic and constitutional institutions conceding to the majoritarian impulse rather than adhering to constitution; ever reducing political space for dissent and opposition parties; and the recently introduced Citizenship Amendment Bill, which exclusively discriminates against Muslims.
These alarming trends clearly point out that Modi regime – in pursuance of Hindu supremacist Hindutva ideology – is steadfastly navigating the world’s largest democracy into the abyss of Fascism. Arguably, given the emerging trends in Indian society, Khan’s analogy between Modi and Hitler was not that erroneous and many Indian politicians and commentators have also expressed concerns that the early signs of Fascism are already obvious in Indian society.
Narendra Modi – who came to power with an alluring economic reform and development agenda – is now totally reliant on anti-Muslim divisive politics and to a tragic consorting, the democratic and constitutional institutions of the country – which were to place a hindrance in the way of this majoritarian brand of politics – seem to be accomplices. With no institutional and social hindrance to the Hindutva –a brand of politics kept at bay for many decades – this divisive menace is now finally engulfing India’s political and social landscape and ultimately threatens the internal cohesion of diverse Indian society.
Given the ideological and historical context, Kashmir presented a test-case for the protagonists of Hindutva. The state of J&K – a Muslim majority region that acceded to Hindu majority India –was cherished as asymbol of India’s secular identity. However, Modi’s government’s revocation of region’s special status – which is fundamentally aimed at paving the way for introducing massive demographic changes in the region converting Muslims into a minority, essentially following the Israeli model in the West Bank –will not only help the regime in crushing the self-determination sentiments in the valley but will also be a major milestone achievement en route to transforming India into a Hindu state.
Ironically, Muslims living in India are not the only prey of rising Hindu Fascism and expansionist Hindutva have regional and global implications. Being a homeland to the successors of those “outsiders” who ruled the Hindu majority India for more than 850 years, Pakistan becomes the major nuisance for the Hindu supremacists currently in-charge in India. February 2019 nuclear brinkmanship by Modi regime; uninterruptedPakistan bashing by Indian media; adaptation of a well-choreographed anti-Pakistan narrative during elections campaigns by Indian politicians; vigorous Indian attempts to get Pakistan blacklisted by FATF; and continuous fomentation of subversive activities by Indian intelligence inside Pakistan point out that Pakistan’s long-held apprehensions about India plotting to weaken the country’s federation to ultimately subsume its tumbling parts, were not misplaced.
In fact, weakening Pakistan internally, disintegrating it and ultimately subsume its parts will be a step forward in the way of realization of the “Greater India” dream of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),the organization regarded as the ideological patron of ruling BJP and the major proponent of Hindu supremacist, majoritarian and expansionist Hindutva ideology with current Indian PM and most of the leaders of BJP as its life-long members.
To put the things in a nutshell, the opening of the Kartarpur corridor may be a sanguine gesture by Pakistan but India doesn’t seem to be even interested in some reciprocity. The issue of J&K – which has become further complicated due to India’s overassertive and intransigent attitude – presents an immediate stumbling block in the way of this “first drop of rain” being followed by a “downpour”– which can turn the dry and desiccated road into a river.
In the long-run, as the Modi government pursues the Hindutva policies and continues on a path to hurt Pakistan internally, economically and globally, chances of any further optimistic gesture from either side become even remote. And given the aforementioned immediate and long-term hurdles and the virtual reality that relations between the two countries have gone such desiccated that only continuous down pouring turning the roads into the rivers can provide the required panacea, Kartarpur corridor is likely to be proved as yet another noteworthy but futile confidence-building measure (CBM), without any significant headway towards long-lasting peace in the region.
Lebanon and Sri Lanka: An Extraordinary Relationship and a Bright Future
Since the Silk Road, Arabs turned to Asian countries, and this was the reason for the spread of Arab civilization in many Asian countries. The Arab merchants headed towards Sri Lanka because of its geographical position. This island was a point of rest and cultural interaction between Sri Lankans and Arabs, and this is an important reason for the presence of Muslims in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan-Lebanese relationship is long established. In the common history of these two countries, there are many good events. It is important to note that Sri Lanka is a peaceful country that has always been friendly to Lebanon at all times. In 1990, the relations between Lebanon and Sri Lanka became official after the establishment of diplomatic exchange. Sri Lanka’s first ambassador to Lebanon was appointed in 1997 and the diplomatic mission began in 1998. Prior to that, the Sri Lankan ambassador was appointed to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon.
Sri Lanka’s foreign policy is based on the principle of friendship with all and hostility to no one, which has made this country a special place for Lebanese diplomacy. Sri Lanka traditionally follows a non-aligned foreign policy and does not take sides with major powers. Sri Lanka also has good relations with ASEAN countries, South Asian countries and major powers such as China, the United States and Russia, which has strengthened its internal peace.
Political and economic interest requires any country with ties to Sri Lanka to engage peacefully and diplomatically, because power and superiority with this island will have a negative effect. Sri Lanka is an active member of the United Nations and founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), member of the Commonwealth of Nations, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Colombo Plan.
The estimated number of Sri Lankan citizens in Lebanon is between 80,000 and 90,000, most of them workers. There is also a Sri Lankan battalion active in the peacekeeping force in Lebanon. The main task of the Sri Lankan battalion is to ensure security of Force Headquarters compound where all command elements, branches and all key personnel including the Force Commander / Head of the Mission are accompanied. These tasks also include; applying all FB measures in accordance with the alert status established by UNIFIL Force Commander, providing updated information and assesses the FP situation in their respective areas as requested by the Force Protection Working Group.
During the visit of the State Minister Mr.Vasantha Senanayake to Lebanon, he expressed his country’s desire to develop bilateral relations with Lebanon and joint support in international forums. During that visit, the State Minister considered that the Sri Lankan state is interested in direct flights between the two countries in order to encourage tourism and communication, and called on the Lebanese state to open an embassy in Colombo. He said that Sri Lanka’s participation in UNIFIL reflects the goodwill of the Sri Lankan state towards Lebanon for the security and safety of the people.
Trade relations between Lebanon and Sri Lanka are thriving and are developing considerably year after year. Lebanon can import a lot of goods from Sri Lanka especially since this country is rich in natural resources such as rubber products, garments, gem,jewelry, spices, fisheries products, fruits, pharmaceuticals, coconut charcoal, pearls and precious stones. Many Lebanese products can be exported to Sri Lanka such as Dairy products, marble tiles, cosmetics, construction machineries, agricultural and hospital equipment.
The bilateral relationship between Lebanon and Sri Lanka is a good example of active and peaceful diplomacy. The actual history of that relationship dates back to time and in 1990 it was formalized through diplomatic representation. Many generations of Sri Lankans have come to know a lot about Lebanese culture because they were brought up in Lebanon; those can be considered honorary citizens.
You will hear from every Lebanese who visited Sri Lanka amazing words about the beauty of this island and the goodness of its people. The Lebanese should welcome every Sri Lankan in Lebanon and treat them in a respectful and humane manner, whatever their job or social position.
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