Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 6 February 2011





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Government Gazette

‘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 Policy.

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 neighbours.

King Asoka

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 and traders.

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.



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