‘President’s foreign policy enlightens diplomatic community’
Laying out a lasting foreign policy for decades ahead, President
Mahinda Rajapaksa struck pleasing and bold notes when he passed on the
details of his plans to the people of Sri Lanka through the Maninda
Chintana. This precious publication contained laudable ideas and
theories that made a difference from the by-gone years. They were those
that would assist President Rajapaksa to make his dream a reality.
Passing on this information to the entire diplomatic family around
the world was carried out by the country’s new ambassador in the UAE,
the well-known London lawyer Sarath Wijesinghe, himself a versatile
journalist. He has done this through his monthly e news - 2011 January
issue. What motivated him to propagate the Mahinda Chintana was the fact
that President Rajapaksa himself had narrated to Wijesinghe the A to Z
of how the President had thought of the formulation of a fresh Foreign
Wijesinghe in his editorial of the e news January 2011 issue states;
‘In dealing with the other members of the world family. In fact and in
reality, Sri Lanka has been extremely careful in dealing with other
nations on strategies based of non-confrontation, non-alignment on
extremely friendly ways. Sri Lanka has been extremely friendly with the
giant neighbour India with whom she has close cultural, religious and
social links runs back to thousands of years. Though Sri Lanka is a
small nation next to a ‘Giant’, the two countries historically and
geographically situated close to each other, which cannot be changed and
any cost, which is a reality both Nations have realized.
There is oneness in both nations with bonds from cultural, religious
and economic affairs. The sources of religions, culture and many other
areas have originated from India. India never wanted to conquer Sri
Lanka. This indicates how carefully Sri Lanka has conducted herself from
time immemorial where Sri Lanka-Indian relationship runs back to
thousands of years. “Rama Ravana’ legend speaks of the friendship and
prosperity of the two nations and the bonds between the two friendly
Next most important historical happening is the step taken by King
Asoka of India to send his own son and daughter to Sri Lanka as
emissaries to propagate Buddhism. King Asoka after having won the entire
India was an unhappy man due to the destruction of proper-ties and the
loss of human lives. He embraced Buddhism after having met young priest
(Samanera) Ne-grodha, whilst who was peacefully walking on the road next
to the palace. He summoned samanera Negrodha to his palace and invited
him to sit on a chair suitable the palace. The young monk sat on the
king’s head chair. Then the king started questioning the young priest on
the theory and principles of Buddhism. Having convinced on the great
teachings of the Buddha, he embraced Buddhism and wanted his friend
Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka too to share the fortune bestowed on him.
This incident shows the true friendship between the two leaders,
which is and indication of the conduct of foreign relations and personal
bonds between the two kings and the two countries.
They had been exchanging messages and presents though they had not
met each other. Similarly, Sri Lanka had maintained close friendships
with many other countries in other parts of the world. Sri Lanka had
close relationships with Arabs who came towards South Asia as travellers
Sri Lanka has been a founder member of the Nonaligned movement, and
hosted in 1976 where Sirimavo Bandaranaike gave leadership to the
Nonalignment movement and countries after the formation of the movement,
when the Cold War between the two rivals was at the peak. Even
thereafter, successive governments have maintained the nonaligned policy
to the best interest of the nation.
For a country to prosper in the family of nations, a correct and
clear-cut foreign policy is necessary. It reflects the image of the
country and the policies on which the conduct of the country depends on.
Foreign policy in Sri Lanka is clearly laid down in “Mahinda
Chintana” the document through which President Mahinda Rajapaksa has
spelt out as follows:
“I will follow a non-aligned, free and progressive foreign policy.
Priority will be given in the political, defence, economic, trade and
cultural spheres to the cordial and friendly relationships that we
already have with countries in the Asian region including India, Japan,
China and Pakistan.
It is my belief that United Nations Organisation and international
financial institutions should be more democratic in their approach. We
will actively intervene in this regard.
It is my intention to strongly implement international treaties,
declarations on anti-corruption. This will enable us to act under
international law against those found guilty of corruption when engaging
in trade with foreign countries or foreign institutions. I will create a
foreign service which has a correct awareness of our history, economic
needs and the cultural heritage.