PM says all projects will be on Lanka’s terms

RanilCalling former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s China-focussed foreign policy an “aberration” and “blunder”, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday said from now on all projects in the island nation will be on Sri Lankan terms, The Hindustan Times reported.

Assuaging India’s apprehensions about China being handed out a piece of “sovereign land” in the temporarily suspended China-funded Colombo Port City Project (PCP), Wickremesinghe said: “There will be no sovereign territory (in Sri Lanka). Whatever the Rajapaksas wanted will not happen”.

“That was an aberration. Everyone thought (Mahinda) Rajapaksa was god. (But) They did not know anything of foreign policy,” Wickremesinghe told HT, over a cup of Chinese green tea, at his official residence the Temple Trees on Saturday morning.

Overwhelming favourite Rajapaksa lost to the current President Maithripala Sirisena in a shock defeat in the Presidential election on January 8. Subsequently, Sirisena appointed Wickremesinghe – whose party, the United National Party, was the primary force behind the broad coalition that supported Sirisena – as the Prime Minister.

The Parliament, however was dissolved recently to pave the way for Parliamentary election on August 17 in which Wickremesinghe is now pitted against Rajapaksa, attempting to come back as Prime Minister as the candidate for the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

“We are not babes in the woods for foreign policy. I have been Prime Minister twice. They (the Rajapaksa regime) blundered. We will take their experience and get back,” the PM said when asked about the former government’s foreign policy.

When asked about the docking of Chinese submarines at the Colombo port last year, he said that that had been a decision which was based on Colombo’s then relationship with China and India; the visit of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to Sri Lanka around that time also played a part.

“That’s a thing of the past. It was based on the relationship between China, Sri Lanka and Delhi and the arrival of the Japanese PM. Not a problem for us. For us it is a thing of the past.”

Talking about the Chinese projects in Sri Lanka, the PM said some of the agreements will be renegotiated.

“We will renegotiate. Some agreements have been signed. There is nothing we can do. The PCP will depend on the environment report. As far as we are concerned, the Chinese or anyone is welcome on our terms.”

Asked about China’s “one belt, one road” (OBOR) projects, Wickremesinghe said the focus should be on ensuring the security of sea routes in the Indian Ocean (IO) region.

“We are not a regional power. We know the value of being in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We will talk to other countries including India about maintaining security in the IO region. Whether you call it the silk road or anything else, it does not concern us. We are only concerned that the maritime routes are secured,” the PM said, adding that Sri Lanka will cooperate with the Indian navy and other navies in the region to keep the sea lanes secured.

Wickremesinghe says that what Sri Lanka is looking from India is “Friendship”. “We have had that for thousands of years.”

6 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Vijaya,

    The United States was rich in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Former President JR went behind the US without knowing what is pragmatic. India felt threatened by his decision, and created the Tamil armed groups to counterattack his move. Due to his foolish decision the country had faced a disaster for thirty years. President JR shouldn’t have gone behind the US; if he couldn’t unite the country. This country is still in a fragile status; going against India will lead to a disaster again. If you don’t know what is pragmatic you shouldn’t talk politics. Trust me, Singapore media would not have published your foolish comment; that is why Singapore has advanced. When Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965 it had six media, now it has eight. In Sri Lanka any idiot can start a media or comment for a media. This shows the foolishness of this country. We can talk whole day about Sri Lankans’ stupidity, and how the previous leaders should have governed, including JR, Chandrika, and Mahinda. But the truth is foolish Sri Lankans aren’t meant to live like the smart Westerners, Japanese or Singaporeans. I rest my case…

  2. This man who became illegal Prime Minister even without winning an election does not know simple economics. China is the country with monitory power so every country in the world needs China. USA and UK has no money even for their country so you cannot expect investment from them. Rajapaksa was the right person to run the country and Rajapaks should win again so Sri Lankans become happy again after 7 months of poverty.

    • The United States was rich in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Former President JR went behind the US without knowing what is pragmatic. India felt threatened by his decision, and created the Tamil armed groups to counterattack his move. Due to his foolish decision the country had faced a disaster for thirty years. President JR shouldn’t have gone behind the US; if he couldn’t unite the country. This country is still in a fragile status; going against India will lead to a disaster again. If you don’t know what is pragmatic you shouldn’t talk politics. Trust me, Singapore media would not have published your foolish comment; that is why Singapore has advanced. When Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965 it had six media, now it has eight. In Sri Lanka any idiot can start a media or comment for a media. This shows the foolishness of this country. We can talk whole day about Sri Lankans’ stupidity, and how the previous leaders should have governed, including JR, Chandrika, and Mahinda. But the truth is foolish Sri Lankans aren’t meant to live like the smart Westerners, Japanese or Singaporeans. I rest my case…

  3. This election is not all about PM Ranil Wickremesinghe vs Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa; or the UNP vs the SLFP. It is all about India and the West vs China. It is all about India and the West joining together and isolating China from the Indian Ocean. The West created and uses the Facebook, YouTube and the other social media to get info. The West knows who will win the election tomorrow. Plus thousands of Sri Lankans are holding the Western citizenship, including Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The West has so many ways to influence its interests in the world. The Chinese communist party leaders don’t understand this reality; they think that building factories is good enough to rule the world.

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