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Wars in Asia: War and Peace in Sri Lanka, the Chaos and Stumbling Blocks

The days have come in Indian Ocean's war-torn island to realize the war is un-winnable after the decades long never ending war.

The world is not any more ready to watch both parties waging a war for just passing the time until a solution comes.

The political leaders has started to realise that they can't stay in power by encouraging some military high officials by uplifting their stars and colours and the ranks at the expense of some of the poor soldiers from the underprivileged families in the fields.

One factor is apparent that a country like Sri Lanka can't wage a war continuously on economic grounds.

And the other factor, communal thinkers can't live in a fool's paradise and recalling archaic stories which community came first to the Island, while the inter-marriages between the both communities from the pre-historic time have made a null and void in the ethnic-origin arguments and confusions.

They should realise we are living in an era where the transportation and telecommunication have changed the world into one village and globalisation is a reality.

The UN is active though it met some failures in some incidents in some countries but it has reduced the fatality of those countries' disasters and still the UN is a accepted global platform for discussing and solving much of the world problems in political, social, economic, judicial and other arenas and giving sense to a new world order.

The economy has gone bad to worse after the independence and the nation is facing a severe foreign deficit problem, which could not be overcome by the declining GDP. If things are not corrected at least at this stage, the country will have to go for interest-based heavy loans and then it will have to earn very hard for the interest too.

A country which is losing its competitive edge in its cash crops-tea and rubber, will go into more difficulties and the expectations of Sri Lanka as an IT hub of South Asian has already become a myth after the slow down in the US economy and the September 11 disaster and their direct impact on the investment - cut in the IT projects.

These situations have made the country to think other avenues for income generation and mainly an urgent cut in the defense spending. Sri Lanka is the highest military personnel employed vs. the population and a much-needed human resource is being wasted in the war zone from both sides.

Argentina realised an end to its civil war in high time and though it succeeded to an ultimate solution, it was too late to re-structure the country's economy and they came out with various chaotic economic re-structuring models and faced the worst economic chaos ultimately.

In Sri Lanka we are also in the same situation more or less and if we couldn't take any corrective action at least at this juncture, we will be in a position worse than Argentina.

The perception and interest beyond merely overcoming the economic chaos out of peace negotiations, but by the realization in mind that the minority Tamils also really having some problems and it cannot be achieved just by isolating the LTTE but by negotiating with them and a settlement through them towards the Tamil minority is still far away.

The leaders are lacking to take interest to win the hearts of the Tamils and the perception to ban the LTTE around the world will bring an end to the problem, resulted in other way around so far by more increasing sympathy towards LTTE and more funding through their front-organizations made the LTTE more capable of buying sophisticated arms in the world market and made them more a conventional army.

Though the earlier governments succeeded in banning the LTTE, to which extent that might have prompted the LTTE to consider negotiation with the governments is highly questionable.

They have opted a strategic move with hostile mentality for a good time to blow-up things for a fresh offensive than any sincere motive towards the governments.

Still in the country there are some elements not willing for a peaceful settlement and calling them as a self-made Marxist generation and shouting like pundits that what they are saying all on undermining the negotiation are correct while rest of the world is keen on solving the nation's problem.

I met recently a young couple from West Bengal in Koddaikkanal of the Nilgries Mountains in India on a private visit last year. They were too keen on finding what is going on in Sri Lanka and whether there is any possibility for peace in the near future. What I could have answered to them other than just keeping silent.

Another major issue why so far both communities could not come to a settlement, is mostly on the fear what Tamils ask, are if once provided, will lead to separation.

The solutions should be based on the realities of the contemporary social, ethnical and economical problems and not by the anticipation of something whether that will happen or not.

Though some pre-cautionary measures could be taken by the mutual acceptance of the both parties but that should not undermine the main objective.

If we are going to waste more and more time for the right time for negotiation, implementation and more wide study for the pre-cautionary set-ups, then the country will be in the lines of Israel-Palestinian conflict.

A Palestinian told me sometime back that if Yasser Arafat had accepted what Israel has proposed twenty years ago, we would have gained much more than what now they are willing to offer us.

I feel that if Israel had applied more diplomacy towards accepting the peace accord by the Palestinians, now they would have developed their country into a self-reliant and an economic-power house status in the Middle East than merely begging Americans for everything.

The government and the LTTE will have to navigate jointly this Island into a new direction for a lasting solution rather than checkmating each other.

If the renewed war and the hostility could not be stopped early as possible, then what will happen to peace negotiation? Well, anything is possible in this Planet Earth. Who anticipated the magnitude of present development in the ethnic crisis? Norway is now functioning mostly as a facilitator-mediator status and coming with the support of the international community.

If there is a prolonged checkmating between the government and the LTTE, the facilitator might take the ethnic issue to the UN with the help of some of the permanent member countries of the Security Council.
The UN might try to get involved in many grounds in the Sri Lankan politics and on other national interests too by directly or indirectly.

All these suggestions might be some laughing points to some of the foreign policy experts but when India entered into the Sri Lankan Air-Zone, all Sri Lankans silently observed.
When Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) landed in the Sri Lankan soil, they all surprisingly observed.
When the LTTE and the then Government were united together, sending the IPKF out of the island, we more surprisingly observed.

Sometimes foreign policy is determined by the circumstances of that time and not by any standard rules and regulations. But if the Sri Lankans couldn't realise anything from their past observations at least at this juncture, then they all are going to observe pathetically, the sovereignty of the Island - Paradise is falling into the hands of some of the International Financial Institutions, International Judicial System and the International Forces in the near future.

About the Author: Rajkumar Kanagasingam is author of a fascinating book on German memories in Asia and you can explore more about the book and the author at AGSEP

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