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Dealing with two Asian superpowers: President Sirisena’s visit to China

Image courtesy Asia One Sri Lanka stands to benefit enormously by dealing positively with the two Asian super powers, India and China. The two countries are potential rivals. The two Asian whales may not fight but a small fish can get crushed when whales dance. Sri Lanka has to be mindful of that when dealing […]

The other side of Narendra Modi’s Sri Lanka visit

Photograph via Quartz Ever since becoming the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, Narendra Modi has concentrated on building strong diplomatic ties with foreign nations. The process began with the swearing-in ceremony of the new Indian Prime Minister when Modi extended a formal invite to the heads of state of neighbouring countries which included […]

FM Samaraweera Calls for Patience on Human Rights Front and Improved Sri Lanka-USA Relations

Photo courtesy MFA Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in his first visit to Washington, D.C. after assuming office addressed a full-house gathering at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) on Wednesday February 11th. The CEIP, founded in 1910, is the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States. In the last few […]

Sri Lanka’s geopolitical importance to the United States

Image courtesy California Bangla An analysis of Nisha Biswal’s visit to island nation During late January and early February 2015, Sri Lanka witnessed the visits of many foreign officials to the country. Prominently featured among them were the visits of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State, Hugo Swire, the United States Assistant […]

Charting a New Course: Sri Lankan Foreign Policy

Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images, via Time There could not have been a better time to be a student or a professional of International Relations in Sri Lanka, given the geopolitical dynamics in the region. As one government official told me, “India and China are on the rise, we simply need to jump on this […]

Post-War Development in Nepal and Sri Lanka: A Comparison

Image courtesy Wikipedia This is an abridged version of a paper presented at the Annual Symposium of the Centre for Poverty Analysis on Post War Development in Africa and Asia in Colombo on 01 September 2014 Introduction Both in Nepal and Sri Lanka the transition from war to durable peace has been painful and is […]

Portraits of diversity from Myanmar vital for Sri Lanka

When the British administrator J.S. Furnivall coined the term “plural society” he was talking about colonial Burma to describe the extraordinary diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, races and religions that inhabited its cities. Sixty years ago he wrote, “Bengali Muslims jostled alongside Iraqi Jews and Armenian Christians”. Walking around Yangon’s streets today, you can still experience […]

FAQ on the UN Human Rights Council Resolution (2014) on Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Rights Now A UN investigation into allegations of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka is about to commence. As an aid to public discussion, Friday Forum sets out below information to help the general public understand the legal basis, origin, nature and scope of this inquiry. 1. What is the Human Rights Council? The Human Rights Council (HRC) is the […]

International Human Rights: Dispelling the Myths

Photo courtesy JDS A Talk given at the Colombo Club, August 2014 Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. I do so with trepidation since speaking to captains of industry is quite outside my zone of comfort. My brother Indrajit Coomaraswamy, with whom you are more familiar, once told me in the […]

UN Investigators for Sri Lanka, Show Your Work!

Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi, AFP/Getty Image via Al Jazeera If the U.N. wants to promote reconciliation in Sri Lanka, it has to show its work.  U.N. investigators should use tools and methods that are transparent, replicable, and open to scrutiny by all.  Every Sri Lankan, both inside and outside the country, deserves the chance to […]

The conflict between Israel and Gaza: Silence of UN and US led world

Photography via Slate On again and off again ceasefires, rocket launches, bombings and killings involving Israel and Gaza dominate television news at this time. When the indirect talks between the two sides fail in Cairo, the military campaigns restart and the destruction caused by Israeli bombings in Gaza is there for all of us to […]