“DEVELOPING LOCAL economy and autonomy is very important,” said former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The foreign dignitary was delivering a lecture on ‘Peace —putting the pieces together’ at the Indian Institute of Management, Indore (IIM-I) on Friday.
The leader from the nation that is in conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said that nations do not compete but companies do and therefore nations and governments have a responsibility towards the welfare of one and all and a single cause of disagreement consumes a lot of time in redressal in a healthy democratic set-up.
Cities have their own peculiar characteristics and local vibrant economies, Europe had its city states, India its famous fledgling cities like Benaras and Patliputra, and that model has to be adopted to fulfill local aspirations at the local level.
The veteran politician said that war is an extension of politics fuelled by dissatisfaction. Though the days of open warfare may have been numbered, civil war has also been bettered by low intensity war changing the rules of the game, thus necessitating bringing about innovation in the methods of negotiation to broker peace. The stakes and bargaining chips have clearly increased.
A new and path-breaking method of bringing about peace in Sri Lanka would only be through joining hands of the major political parties to bring LTTE to the negotiating table. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2006 between his own party —United National Party —and ruling Freedom Party will help materialise in the real sense the ceasefire agreement signed between the Government and the LTTE in 2002. It is important that the peace process be finalised at the earliest.
The Nepalese peace process, which started last year, has already concluded and a comprehensive peace agreement should be evolved by the island country on a similar pattern. A settlement acceptable to all constituent communities is required. The eventual solution to the ethnic issue has to be political in character, he added.
Commenting on India’s efforts, Wickremesinghe said that India has been instrumental in ensuring that the peace process continues and helped successive governments in their attempt to resolve the North- East conflict. Though the donor co-chair countries — United States, European Union, Japan and Norway — are playing a more pro-active role, India’s role behind the curtains remains decisive.
When asked by a retired Indian military officer about why the Sri Lankan Government had no outward show of power like other nations following monarchs or deities in governing their state,
Wickremesinghe said that Shiv with his trident, Vishnu with chakra, Durga with sword and other symbols help maintain an upper hand during negotiations.
“Gandhi only had a walking stick and yet he made India and Ashoka conquer much of Asia through ‘dhamma vijay’ and their Government will do the same,” he said. Earlier, IIM-I director Dr SP Parashar welcomed the guest and presented him with a memorabilia.