China, a true friend indeed
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's
recent visit to China concluded on a positive note with more aid being
pledged to Sri Lanka in various sectors. China has pledged to provide
further funding to develop Sri Lanka's transport sector.The latest
Chinese funding will be channelled to develop several expressways, road
networks and rail tracks. The most notable of them would be Chinese
financial assistance for a new Colombo-Jaffna expressway. The agreement
was one of many reached during President Rajapaksa's bilateral meetings
between Sri Lanka and China on his State visit to China.
As part of the proposed Colombo-Jaffna highway, the Chinese
government will also assist develop a Colombo-Kandy-Kurunegala
expressway, apart from the Southern Highway extension from Matara to
Moreover, China has also pledged support for a number of other
projects, including the water supply schemes in Attanagalla, Minuwangoda
and Kurunegala, an international conference hall in Kandy, an arts
theatre in Anuradhapura and developing the Colombo and Ragama Hospitals.
It was indeed most gratifying to witness the warm welcome accorded to
President Rajapaksa in China, a true friend of Sri Lanka. The bilateral
ties between Sri Lanka and China have gone from strength to strength
since President Rajapaksa took office in 2005.
With profound gratitude, we recall the magnanimous support of China
and a few other friendly countries during Sri Lanka's relentless battle
It was China and a few others that steadfastly stood by Sri Lanka
when powerful Western nations turned a Nelsonian eye to the LTTE's
atrocities whereby Sri Lankans were at the receiving end.
When the West exhorted us to compromise the country's sovereignty and
territorial integrity in the guise of peace, the dynamic support
extended by friendly countries, including China, helped Sri Lanka
eradicate terrorism and achieve an honourable peace.
Certain countries which pontificated to us on peace at any cost, are
still trying to intimidate Sri Lanka and meddle in its internal matters.
Those who now shed crocodile tears on the well-being of people in the
North regrettably did not demonstrate their sincerity by making a
tangible contribution to the Government's efforts to develop the areas
devastated due to LTTE terrorism.
In contrast, China had set a shining example by not only strongly
backing Sri Lanka in its lone battle against terrorism, but also making
a praiseworthy contribution to develop the country. Unlike some Western
countries, China did not vain-glorify what it had done to help eradicate
terrorism. This was amply proved by its strong backing to Sri Lanka to
crush LTTE terrorism and develop the areas destroyed by the LTTE.
The financial backing pledged by China to construct the
Colombo-Jaffna Expressway is ample testimony of China's commitment to
usher in a better future for those liberated in the North. This would be
an added fillip to the thriving Northern economy and a tremendous boost
to further develop the livelihood of the Tamils who had been liberated
from the jaws of LTTE terror.
China's biggest financial institution that provides development loans
to foreign countries - the China Development Bank (CDB), is a partner in
many agreements signed between Sri Lanka and China last week. The
construction of the new Colombo-Jaffna Expressway is one of the major
CDB chairman, Hu Huaibang has assured President Rajapaksa that Sri
Lanka will always be given top priority when granting financial
assistance. Expressing gratitude to President Rajapaksa for Sri Lanka's
close cooperation with the Bank, the CDB chief said that he was eagerly
looking forward to further enhance the relations with Sri Lanka.
Huaibang affirmed that the bank would give the highest priority to
Sri Lanka's needs for development assistance. His unequivocal statement
would enable Sri Lanka to embark on several mega development projects in
the near future.
Having eradicated the three-decade long terrorism scourge, the
government is now going hammer and tongs to assure equal development
throughout the country. While the average economic growth rate of the
country is around eight percent, the growth rate in the Northern
Province is over 22 percent. This alone is ample testimony of the
Government's priority to restore infrastructure facilities destroyed by
Certain Western countries, which for quaint reasons, turned a blind
eye to these stark facts, are still trying to browbeat Sri Lanka by
exploiting reconciliation as an effective tool. If these countries are
sincerely keen on ushering in a better tomorrow for the Tamils in the
North and the East, they should ungrudgingly help the Government's
development in the two provinces.
Regrettably, they are singing hosannas for the LTTE cohorts. On the
other hand, some Western politicians are only concerned about the votes
of the adopted Tamils from Sri Lanka.
In this scenario, Chinese assistance is an eye-opener to the Western
peace merchants who even approached the United Nations Human Rights
Council (UNHRC) to intimidate Sri Lanka.
Two successive resolutions brought up at the UNHRC by the US would
certainly not do any good to the Tamils in the North, who went through
hell due to LTTE terror. Regrettably, none of these Western human rights
godfathers uttered even a word of comfort when those hapless civilians
were forcibly kept as a human shield by LTTE terrorists.
It was the Government alone and the Security Forces which liberated
those Tamils from LTTE terror.
China's contribution to further develop the infrastructure facilities
will be a god-send to the Northerners.
What baffles us all is that those who shout from the rooftops to
crush global terrorism adopt a different yardstick when it comes to
terrorism in this part of the world. It was a crying shame that India
too had to fall in line with the US-led Resolution at the UNHRC sessions
earlier this year. Being our closest neighbour, Sri Lanka has maintained
close ties with India all along. Sri Lanka, quite naturally, expects a
better understanding from India as terrorism had affected South Asia to
a large extent.
Last Sunday's terror attack in Central India reiterated the need to
crush global terrorism. A heavily-armed gang of nearly 300 Maoist rebels
killed at least 24 people and injured 37 in an attack on a convoy of
local Congress Party leaders and supporters.
The landmine and gun attack was the deadliest in three years, and the
latest in a long-simmering conflict that puts the insurgents against the
authorities in the forests of mainly central and eastern India.
The Indian Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who rushed to the
Chlattisgarh state capital Raipur along with Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh after the ambush, had quite rightly pointed out that this was not
an attack on Congress or its leaders, but an attack on democratic
Hence, the South Asian countries should unite to wipe out terrorism.
Sri Lanka's first-hand experience and expertise could well be exploited
to make that goal more effective and efficient.
When most of the so-called powerful Western countries looked down
upon the country, Sri Lanka waged its lone battle against barbaric
terrorism and set a shining example.
The West should not feel diffident to make the utmost use of Sri
Lanka's success, if it is sincerely interested in eradicating global