23 October, 2020

New Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's Many Challenges Include Balancing Ties With India And China

Will the new government make religious and ethnic minorities in Sri Lanka feel safe and wanted? Gotabaya Rajapaksa's every move will now be monitored

Supporters of Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a rally in Homagama, near Colombo
Photograph by AP
New Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's Many Challenges Include Balancing Ties With India And China
outlookindia.com
2019-11-22T17:33:03+05:30

The search for a “strong leader” in Sri Lanka had begun in earnest soon after the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks. The Isla­mic State inspired strikes in different churches and luxury hotels in April had killed more than 250 people and crippled the tourism industry that employed nea­rly 500,000 Sri Lankans. Furthermore, it had seriou­sly shaken the con­fidence of the nat­ion and ripped open the fissures in a soci­ety, prone to long spells of religious and ethnic strife.

The attacks on Muslim minorities in different parts of the island soon after the bombings had only confirmed the worst fears of sectarian marginalisation. In add­ition, the political bickering bet­ween President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickre­me­singhe—including an abortive coup by the president to get his prime minister rep­­l­­aced—led to serious policy paralysis in the administration. More significantly, revelations in subsequent months that vital intelligence on the terror attacks was ignored by the...

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