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Sacred Cows and Orbital Dreams in Sri Lanka

It happened 20 years ago, but I still remember the incident. In early 1990, as a young science journalist working for the Asia Technology magazine of Hong Kong, I was being shown around the Pakistani space agency SUPARCO premises in Karachi. At the time, they were readying the country’s first digital communications satellite, Badr 1 […]

Fiscal Devolution: A stepping stone towards conflict resolution in Sri Lanka

[Authors note: This was a talk given at the International Conference entitled ‘Taking the Sri Lankan Peace Process Forward’ organised by the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi on May 11, 2010.] Introduction For too long, the political processes in Sri Lanka to resolve minority grievances have been preoccupied with the nature of the state (unitary […]

Ground realities in Jaffna and its environs: Two key perspectives

From the psycho-social trauma and destruction of the social fabric in Jaffna after close upon three decades of brutal war to the challenges of post-war development, entrepreneurship and economic revival, these two interviews focus on two leading Tamil civil society activists who have lived in Jaffna from when the war was still raging. Dr. Muttukrishna […]


On the first anniversary of the end of the war, with the presidential and parliamentary elections behind us, now is the time to start thinking seriously about addressing some of the problems dogging the economy of Sri Lanka, including a massive debt and unsustainable budget deficits. Failure to do this will mean falling living standards and […]


There has been speculation this week that the government is planning to present a Vote on Account rather than a full and proper budget. The DNA/JVP has already announced its opposition to this, and perhaps more importantly, the IMF has indicated that the next tranche of the loan granted last year in order to avert […]

PIGS: The Achilles Heel of the EU and lessons for Sri Lanka’s policy makers and corporate sector

First it was the Swine ‘Flu and now it’s the PIGS. The four countries of the European Union; Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, saddled with the current debt crisis, weak economies, and high unemployment; are referred to by the acronym PIGS. Will it be the end of the road for the European Monetary Union (EMU)? […]

Bell Pottinger and Sri Lanka: Millions spent for what?

Bell Pottinger hired Qorvis Communications as a subcontractor for its work with the government of Sri Lanka, starting December 1, according to a filing with the US Department of Justice. Qorvis is providing media relations and monitoring, crisis communications planning, and stakeholder representation in the US. The budget is approximately $483,000. Though freely available on […]

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President, I’d like to congratulate you in advance for your impending victory of the Presidential election in the following days to come. With the SLFP consolidating their power through the provincial council polls in the aftermath of the war, a presidential re-election and another term with you as President seems inevitable. The potential […]

Promising the moon to lure the voters is dangerous for the economy

The country is being told some dangerous lies by both main candidates contesting the Presidential election. The manifestoes put by both main candidates with much fanfare are ignoring economic realities. MR wants to give us more of the same when he has failed to resolve the problems of the economy or run any public service […]

Between a Horek and a Mule

Over 6 decades of independence and universal adult franchise and SL has reached probably the lowest points of its political life. Listening, reading and drawing inferences from what’s coming out and not coming out of the 2 main camps in the presidential foray; I cannot help but come to the conclusion that the people of […]


[Editors note: This article complements The Rajapakse Regime and the Fourth Estate, also by the same author.] This is a disjointed exercise that does not claim comprehensiveness. That is impossible in a short essay, the more so because I write without ethnographic exposure to the experiential subjectivities of either the Tamil people in Sri Lanka […]

Chellaney on Indo-Sri Lanka relations: How not to win friends and influence your neighbours

Intellectuals in India have unfortunately not played positive roles in building good relations with its small neighbors.  For the most part they ignore all neighbors other than Pakistan.  In the few cases they do not, they tend to do active harm.  The recent article in on 9 October 2009 ( by Professor Brahma Chellaney […]