Millennium Post

The Lankan lore

The Lankan lore

As "Terminator" Rajapaksa storms with victory as Sri Lanka's next President, India has a good reason to watch out for the developments in the island neighbour. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was said to have garnered between 53 to 54 per cent votes as he was heading towards victory. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the one to spearhead the brutal crushing of Tamil Tigers a decade ago, but upon his victory in the divisive election, he promised to be a president for all of Sri Lanka's races and religions. This election happened seven months after Islamist extremist attacked that killed 269 people on Easter. Rajapaksa's election comes on the back of a nationalist campaign promising security and to crush religious extremism in the Buddhist-majority country. But given the episode of the Tamil Tigers, Sri Lanka's Tamil and Muslim minorities as well as activists, journalists and possibly some in the international community following the 2005-15 presidency of his older brother Mahinda Rajapaksa have a reason to be alarmed. Only a decade ago, Sri Lanka emerged from ethnic and religious tensions and a brutal civil war that cost 100,000 lives. In a gracious statement, The President elect said that "I am conscious that I am also the President of those who used the vote against me", adding that "it is my duty to serve all Sri Lankans without race or religious discrimination...I promise to discharge my duties in a fair manner." Rajapaksa has emerged as the hands-down winner with 52.25 per cent of the vote share. While Ranil Wickremesinghe's term has come to be defined by the massive failure of intelligence that led to the Easter attack in Columbo, the point of greater concern to India is that Under Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka borrowed heavily from China for infrastructure projects and even allowed two Chinese submarines to dock in Colombo in 2014, alarming Western countries as well as India. While election is a matter internal to the island nation, as a possible security concern, India must be alert.

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