An Item Of Greater Importance
Than Joint Regional Defence With India
Periscope - Global Sinhala
Village For LankaWeb
Notwithstanding the importance of the Joint Regional Defence Agreement
with India under review at present, Sri Lanka and the South Asian region
per se seem to be faced with a dilemma of alarming proportions involving
India according to the following article courtesy of the Economist of
Nov 4th 2004.
It should be of primary importance to initiate a World lobby against
this proposal commencing with a concerted Sri Lankan Government effort
to address this issue to India which may of vital importance to regional
preservation rather than its security which would appear to be of secondary
importance although an issue which also merits justification towards
What good would it be logically to initiate a Regional Defence Agreement
in a region which according to reliable information offset against the
Sethsamudaram Project would have a devastating environmental impact
on Sri Lanka and could essentially innundate and wipe out an entire
archipelago of Islands where even the Maldive Islands would be at risk
together with all inhabitants in the region?
Read on !
Courtesy of The Economist.
The Palk palaver
Nov 4th 2004 | COLOMBO
From The Economist print edition
A unilateral canal
A BIG bugbear in India's relations with its neighbours is its habit
of announcing cross-border infrastructure projects without consulting
them. Sri Lanka, for example, is incensed about a plan to dig a shipping
canal through a 19-mile (30km) stretch of shallow sea in the Palk strait,
which separates the two countries. At present, big ships plying between
the east and west coasts of India have to circumnavigate Sri Lanka.
This channel, first conceived in 1860 by a British seaman, will save
21-36 hours of sailing time.
The projectthe Sethusamudram Ship Canalis included in the
coalition government's programme at the request of one of its parties,
from the state of Tamil Nadu. But it is controversial in India because
of its environmental impact. The area is home to thousands of species
of plants, animals, corals and shells. Sri Lankan environmentalists
are even more worried, fearing that water from the Bay of Bengal will
rush into the narrow Palk Bay, alter the currents there and sink as
many as 85 small islands off the northern coast.
A particularly alarmist report forecasts that the entire Jaffna peninsula
The project's promoterswho took out full-page advertisements
this week to argue their casedeny there is any threat. Their studies
show that there will be no big change in the direction of currents,
and no blasting is envisaged. Only sand and clay will be dredged, to
be dumped 15 miles away where the drift is northward, away from Sri
Economic worries are looming too: increased shipping and periodic dredging
in the shallow and narrow Palk Bay may threaten the livelihoods of over
200,000 Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen. The
canal will also hurt Colombo, the island's main international port,
which relies on India for 70% of its trans-shipment businessthough
the very biggest ships will still have to sail the southern route.
Sri Lanka has already reacted sharply to the Indian decision to go
ahead with the project, though to little effect. An
inter-ministerial committee has been formed to study the impact, which
is hardly likely to rattle India. Chandrika Kumaratunga,
Sri Lanka's president, will have raised the issue again during her visit
to Delhi. And her hosts, no doubt, will have listened politely.