There was major breakdown in India-Lanka ties after change of govt in 2014: Rajapaksa

Bengaluru
9 Feb 2019

Sri Lanka's Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa today said here there was a "major breakdown" in bilateral relationship between India and his country after a new government was formed in New Delhi in 2014, but the Opposition coalition he is heading now has a "good understanding" with India's ruling party.
Rajapaksa emphasised that the rule of thumb with regard to India-Sri Lanka relations should be that if an outgoing government has an adequate working relationship with his country, the incoming one should give due recognition to this. "Past experience has shown that the danger of disruption in our bilateral relationship arises in the immediate aftermath of changes of government. Such easily avoidable disruptions have had serious consequences for both countries," he said. "In 2014, the second major breakdown of bilateral relationships took place. Unfortunately, the working relationship that existed between my government and the outgoing government (UPA) did not roll over to the new government of India (NDA)," he said at the third edition of The Huddle, The Hindu's two-day annual conclave here. The former Sri Lankan President said the misunderstandings of the 1980s and 2014 were aberrations that could easily have been avoided and it is key the two countries evolve a mechanism to prevent these misunderstandings from arising.
The traditional government-to-government dealings alone cannot give shape to the two countries' future relations because the world is becoming more complex by the day, Rajapaksa said. Political leaders would continue to play the most coveted role as they determine the policies -- foreign, economic, security, and a host of other policies -- and that would have bearing on the relations, he said.  Tangibles like these are easier to monitor and even control, but intangibles pose grave threats, Rajapaksa said. "Political leaders and other societal leaders must always keep a tab on the intangibles. For instance, a wrong word from a leader would sour the relations as we have witnessed in the past," he said. (PTI)