[18th May 2024] The Hindu Op-ed: After the Civil War, the stifling impasse in Sri Lanka

PYQ Relevance:
[2022] ‘India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India’s role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in light of the preceding statement. 
[2013] In respect of India — Sri Lanka relations, discuss how domestic factors influence foreign policy. 


Prelims: NA 

Mains: Disruptions in Sri Lanka’s development trajectory post the Civil War

Mentor Comment: A decade and a half after Sri Lanka’s civil war, deep wounds persist, with tens of thousands dead and widespread destruction. Truth, accountability, and justice remain unresolved, and political polarisation hinders progress. Economic reconstruction lags, further stunted by crises. The Tamil middle class aspires to emigrate, while the working class remains destitute. 

Let’s learn


Why in the News?

The future of the Tamil people relies on creating a renewed vision for themselves and the whole nation, founded on the ideals of equality and freedom.

Back2Basics: Sri Lankan Civil WarC:\Users\SSCIS\Desktop\Imgress\ltte.jpg
It was a protracted armed conflict that lasted for nearly three decades, from 1983 to 2009, between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

LTTE was a separatist militant organisation seeking an independent Tamil state in the northern and eastern regions of the island nation.
The conflict was characterised by violence, human rights abuses, and widespread displacement of civilians.

The LTTE, known for its guerrilla tactics and suicide bombings, controlled significant territory in the north and east of Sri Lanka and waged a violent insurgency against the government.

Key Hindrances to Sri Lanka’s Progress

  • Limited Progress: While infrastructure like trains, banks, supermarkets, and hotels returned to the north, rural areas continue to struggle with unstable livelihoods.
  • Setback from Terror Attack: The Easter bombings in April 2019, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing economic crisis since 2022, have exacerbated economic hardships, marking the worst crisis since Independence.
  • Economic Crisis: Economic misery is pervasive, with outmigration and hunger becoming the norm, particularly impacting the deprived and landless in war-torn areas.

Challenges in Reconstruction Efforts

  1. Economic Challenges
  • Failed Investments: Expectations of substantial investments from the Tamil diaspora have not materialised, failing to stimulate local economic revival.
  • International Donor Projects: Projects focused on infrastructure have not effectively revitalised the local economy, while NGO aid has sometimes led to dependency and microfinance debt traps.
  1. Political Polarisation and Neglect
  • Political Neglect: Tamil political leadership has often prioritised international accountability over addressing local livelihoods, perpetuating dependency on diaspora remittances.
  • Parallel Nationalisms: Tamil nationalist politics mirrors Sinhala nationalism, focusing on rights and international intervention, rather than fostering local reconciliation.
  • Reconciliation Challenges: Efforts towards political reconciliation and power-sharing have faltered due to political expediency, exacerbating tensions and marginalising minorities.
  • Communal polarization: Relations between Tamil and Muslim communities remain strained, with unresolved issues from historical displacements and marginalization.

Future Prospects for Tamil People

  • V. Karalasingham’s Reflections (1963): Highlighted the paradox of Tamil leadership and the continued suffering and humiliation of Tamil-speaking people.
  • Aragalaya Movement (2022): Sri Lankans united to oust a President promoting Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism, showing potential for collective action.
  • Path to Change: Embracing inclusive politics, moving away from isolationist strategies, and advocating for economic and social justice can pave the way for a democratic future based on equality and freedom.
India’s Economic Assistance to Sri Lanka:

Bailout Package: During Sri Lanka’s economic crisis in 2022, India was quick to extend financial support, amounting to over USD 4 billion. This surpassed even the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) bailout package over 48 months.

Facilitating IMF Engagement: India’s role was instrumental in the early stages of Sri Lanka’s negotiations with the IMF. India’s Finance Minister, Mrs Sitharaman, played a significant part in these discussions, showcasing India’s commitment to its neighbour’s recovery.

Private Investment: The expansion of the Colombo port’s west container terminal in 2023 by India’s Adani Group was a key development project.

Cricket Diplomacy: Cricket surprisingly became a focal point, with international matches hosted in Sri Lanka, including a notable India-Pakistan game during the World Cup.

Way Forward

  • Political Reconciliation: Advocate for genuine political reconciliation, including devolution of power and addressing historical grievances.
  • Community Integration: Foster solidarity and mutual understanding between ethnic and religious communities to promote social integration.
  • Local Empowerment: Support local initiatives and reduce dependency on external aid, empowering communities to drive their development.
  • Unified Movements: Promote movements that unite diverse groups towards common goals of justice, equality, and inclusive governance.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch