Mahinda Rajapaksa: India behind my defeat!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
The stunning defeat of Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the hands of his own minister Maithripala Sirisena for the Lankan presidency was a major breaking news report of the world in the New Year. In fact no one had expected, except a few individuals, the defeat of a powerful man, who deliberately advanced the poll to enable to win the presidency very easily, on a massive scale.
Mahinda Rajapaksa had made his remarks about his most expected and crushing defeat without naming any particular nation but only said some foreign sources a were behind his defeat.
Mahinda Rajapaksa has come out openly to blame India for his humiliating defeat in the January election. Apart from India, he claims, the USA and European countries also worked against him. “It was very open, Americans, the Norwegians, Europeans were openly working against me. And RAW (India’s Research Analysis Wing),” Rajapaksa told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post in an interview.
Rajapaksa reiterates that both the USA and India openly used their embassies to bring me down. Rajapaksa made this heartbreaking statement ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the island nation.
A media report from Colombo soon after Rajapaksa’s defeat in the January 8 election had said that a RAW official was instrumental in uniting rival political parties — the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) — against him during the polls. According to the report, the unnamed official was also asked to leave the country.
Rajapaksa, who was defeated by his ex-aide Maithripala Sirisena, at that time had said that he did not know all the facts.
India had rejected the report saying that all the normal tenure of an Indian diplomat in Sri Lanka is three years and all officials who have been transferred during last year have completed that. “It’s a normal transfer,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesman had said.
In his interview to the South China Morning Post on 12 March, Rajapaksa said “I asked the Indians, ‘Why are you doing this? It’s an open secret what you are doing’. I had assured them that I would never allow the Sri Lankan soil to be used against any friendly country, but they had other ideas,” he said.
Mahinda Rajapaksa defended Chinese infrastructure projects which were started in the country during his regime. Rajapaksa also told the Post that Lanka’s new government is being unfair to China by unnecessarily dragging it into domestic politics. “They should be thankful to China for the help they extended; instead these people are treating China like a criminal,” he said.
Asked if the docking of two Chinese submarines in Sri Lanka last year had raised India’s hackles, Rajapaksa said: “whenever Chinese submarines come to this part of the world, they always inform India.”The Chinese president was here, so the subs were here. Find out how many Indian submarines and warships came to our waters when the Indian prime minister came for the SAARC South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit in 2008,” he asked.
During a visit to Beijing last month, Sri Lanka’s new Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the docking of a Chinese submarine at Colombo harbour coincided with the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Sri Lankan capital and the new government will not allow foreign submarines to use the Island’s ports.
It seems Rajapksha feels India, more than any other country, had played the devastating role in getting him removed from Presidency unceremoniously and the most shocking manner.
As the super power of South Asia, India seems to decide the regime changes in the region that generally suit New Delhi. However, Maldives has deviated from the usual pro-India stance and now even challenged New Delhi by deciding politics of the nation on its own. Reports suggest the Maldives government refused to oblige New Delhi in releasing former president Mohamed Nasheed who is in jail on terror suspect charges.