COLUMNS

Chinese Defense Minister’s to visit to Sri Lanka

In Perspective
By P.K.Balachandran
The visit to Sri Lanka of China’s Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe later this month,may be described as a “routine ministerial visit”. But seen in light of the developing situation in Sri Lanka and the South Asian and Indian Ocean region, the visit is significant.   China is keen on developing ties with India’s neighbors in South Asia to wean them away from New Delhi. Beijing is effectively using its infrastructural development program under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) towards this end. It is ...Continued

The role of Portuguese in the decline of Muslims in...

Columns
By P.K.Balachandran
Colombo, April 12: Muslims of Ceylon and peninsular India, who are ethnologically similar, were in the vanguard of maritime trade in South and South East Asia from the 3 rd., century BC till the emergence of the Portuguese and other European powers in the 16 th. Century. These Tamil-speaking Muslims of part Arab ancestry were trading peacefully in the region for centuries. But they were eventually outmaneuvered by European traders who were ruthless, armed, and technologically better equipped than the Muslims. The Europeans not only ...Continued

Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday

In Perspective
Prince Charles has paid tribute to his “dear papa” as details of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral plans emerged, including Prince Philip’s special request that his coffin be borne on a Land Rover. Speaking at Highgrove, the Prince of Wales said: “My dear papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him.” Charles, offering a statement on behalf of members of the royal family, said ...Continued

Evolution of China’s policy on the minorities

Columns
By P.K.Balachandran
Colombo, April 9: Among issues on which China is unsparingly criticized in the Western world is the way it treats its minorities. No doubt, China has problems with its minorities, like other countries. And again, like other political systems, Chinese political systems have, over the centuries, tackled the question in a variety of ways with varying degrees of success. To put the issue in the contemporary context, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has charged that Beijing’s “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Extremism” has entailed mass arbitrary ...Continued

Was Portuguese proselytization in Ceylon ruthless as portrayed?

Columns
By P.K.Balachandran
James Emerson Tennent was Colonial Secretary in Ceylon from 1846 to 1850 and Acting Governor in April-May 1847. Tennent was not just an administrator, a Colonial master lording over obsequious natives. His keen eye and ear caught the nuances of the communities he was administering. His scholarship got him the Presidency of the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. In “Christianity in Ceylon” published in 1850, Tennent traces its encounters with, and the challenges it faced from, entrenched faiths like  Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and ...Continued

Indo-Lankan fishing conundrum Geographic, historical and political factors prevent solution

Columns
The Indian authorities have invariably succeeded in securing the release of arrested fishermen on appeals from Tamil Nadu fishermen and State leaders. But this time round, a sense of urgency was palpable. A possible reason is that, Tamil Nadu is in the final leg of campaigns for the April 6 State Assembly elections. The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in alliance with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is fighting to retain power against a formidable challenge mounted by ...Continued

Pope Francis writes to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Palm...

Columns
In a March 28 tweet, Assange’s partner Stella Moris said that “after a hard night, Julian woke up this morning to a kind, personal message from Pope Francis @pontifex delivered to his cell door by the prison priest.” “Our family wishes to express our gratitude to the many Catholics and other Christians campaigning for his freedom,” Moris said. The contents of the letter were not disclosed; however, it has been rumored for years that Assange is suffering from psychological trauma related to prolonged stress and ...Continued

Xi says China ready to support Sri Lanka’s post-pandemic recovery...

Columns
In a telephone conversation with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Xi suggested that the two countries steadily push forward major projects like the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port, and promote high-quality collaboration in jointly building the Belt and Road. Xi pointed out that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Sri Lanka have pulled together and helped each other, writing a new chapter of China-Sri Lanka friendship. China attaches great importance to the development of bilateral ties, and stands ready to ...Continued

Rising communalism across borders could derail India-Bangladesh relations

Columns
New Delhi has taken in its stride, Dhaka’s growing economic relations with Beijing through the latter’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). On her part, Sheikh Hasina has curbed the activities of anti-India and anti-Hindu Islamic radicals and terrorists and has completely stopped sheltering Assamese separatists. India’s failure to deliver on the Teesta river waters sharing issue continues to irk Dhaka, but it appears to have put it on the backburner. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two–day visit to Bangladesh, which concluded on Saturday, was a ...Continued

Violation of UN resolutions is not uncommon

Columns
By P.K.Balachandran
She made this observation based on a 15-year review of compliance with UN resolutions done by the University of San Francisco Professor Stephen Zunes. Zunes had concluded that compliance depended on the influence of each State and its backers. The more powerful the backer, the less the chance of compliance, he said. Those countries which did comply were made to comply by a powerful country or a set of powerful countries through sheer coercion, economic or military or both. For a start, UN resolutions are ...Continued

India Signaled it unwillingness to upset its neighbour

Columns
Under the caption “Tactical abstention: On the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka” The Hindu editorial further states that India was keen not to lose diplomatic space to persuade Sri Lanka on devolution for Tamils. The full text is as follows By abstaining from the vote on the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, India has signaled its unwillingness to upset its neighbour. At the same time, it does not want to be seen as ignoring Sri Lanka’s reluctance to meet ...Continued

Genocide triggered Bangladesh’s independence A political conflict between Zulfiqar Ali...

Columns
By P K Balachandran
The horrific genocide which forced Sheikh Mujib to declare independence has been described by Inam Ahmed and Shakhawat Litonin their book entitled: Genocide They Wrote: A rebuttal of Pakistan’s denial of its 1971 crimes in Bangladesh (Daily Star Books, 2016). Around midnight on March 25, the Pakistani army started massacring Bengalis, including government officials, police and army personnel, university students and teachers, and ordinary men, women and children, using tanks, artillery, machine guns, small arms, and rifle bayonets. Flame throwers were used to burn houses. ...Continued

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