Buddhism, terrorism, peace and foreign policy


India successfully pulled Sri Lanka out of the Chinese influence orbit, at least for the time being. Will it last?

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Buddhism, terrorism, peace and foreign policy

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  1. PM Modi goes to Lanka : Prime Minister Modi paid a two-day visit to neighbouring Sri Lanka, to participate in the celebrations marking the UN Vesak Day, the most important in the Buddhist calendar, which commemorates Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing away. Modi’s visit came just ahead of the Chinese Belt and Roads initiative (BRI) in Beijing, a super-massive infrastructure project connecting China with Europe and Middle East. India is not participating in the Belt and Roads initiative citing sovereignty concerns.
  2. It’s all about money, friend : It is obvious that India does not have the resources to create a sphere of geo-political influence. It has neither the money to invest in such a cross-continental economic initiative, nor does it have the political will to do so. Our policy of looking inward and the rise of China as an economic superpower (due to umpteen reasons including communist authoritarianism) have hurt India’s regional commercial ties and subsequently minimized our geo-economic influence. Also, through the 1980s and 90s, we missed the manufacturing bus that could have transformed our destiny. A look at GDP comparison is telltale.
  3. Sri Lanka is a good partner : Sri Lanka, India’s largest trading partner in SAARC, whose port in Colombo receives more than 70 percent trans-shipment from India, has received around $15 billion funding and investment from China in 2016 alone. Most of these are in "major infrastructure projects, especially ports and airports" and some are also in roads and railway network. China is slowly but steadily aiming at decimating Indian influence in the IOR, of which Sri Lanka is a key element.
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  5. The context : The past four decades have not been peaceful and promising, due to many reasons not the least of them being the cyclone of violence unleashed in the LTTE episode. Sri Lanka has gone through a bitter phase, and has tried to rebuild itself. The bad blood between India and Lanka became so intense that ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa saw India not as a friend, but someone bent on bullying, and thankfully for India, Sirisena defeated him in the Presidential elections.
  6. Submarines at the port : Prior to Modi's visit, Sri Lanka turned down China's request to dock one of its submarines in Hambantota port so as not to upset India's sentiments. India has been bemused by the “String of Pearls” strategy of China, and Lanka understands that concern well. Under Modi, high-level diplomacy and bilateral visits have increased manifold. President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe have been to Delhi thrice each and this is Modi's second visit.
  7. Action and speed : Since 2014, the PM has moved with speed to repair India's ties with Lanka, and has brought a fresh thought to foreign policy by using Indian soft power (something China sorely lacks – given Mao Tsetung’s anti-cultural bias). This is the Modi Doctrine, which has shown results on many fronts. The bonds of Buddhism that bind India and Lanka are unique, and China will never build on any such religious symbol.
  8. A new beginning? Buddhism’s message may help India take the Lankan equation away from only the mirror of Tamil politics and give a new look to it. Modi said : "On this auspicious occasion of Vesak Day, I also bring with me the greetings of 1.25 billion people from the land of the Samyaksambuddha, the perfectly self-awakened one. Air India will soon operate direct flights between Colombo and Varanasi. This will ease travel to the land of Buddha for my brothers and sisters from Sri Lanka, and help you directly visit Sravasti, Kusinagar, Sankasa, Kaushambi and Sarnath".
  9. The Modi Doctrine : Thus, in view of amazing challenges all around, PM Modi is redrafting the mail pillars of India's foreign policy and bringing his flavor into it. The Sri Lanka outreach is an example, that even the staunchest of distracters will find difficult to find fault with. Read on Modi Doctrine here.
  10. Do check out exams-focussed Confidence and Vocabulary Booster series of learning resources here
  11. Download Resources : PDFs on India's international affairs and related issues available on Bodhi Resources page here. And, here are some facts and images to help the case better.
  12. Deep Dive : (1) India's international affairs - here(2) Various issues in South Asia - here, (3) Terrorism and related issues - here, (4) Religion related issues - here
  13. Bodhi Saar Prashn : a fantastic collection of all quiz questions for your revision - here!

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Bodhi Saar: Buddhism, terrorism, peace and foreign policy
Buddhism, terrorism, peace and foreign policy
India successfully pulled Sri Lanka out of the Chinese influence orbit, at least for the time being. Will it last?
Bodhi Saar
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