Sri Lanka should not divert from its non-aligned foreign policy

Reclaiming our non-aligned foreign policy, restoring faith in diplomacy, and seeking justice for those who endanger our citizens is crucial, as the alternative is a funeral march mourning the loss of our sovereignty—a fate no Sri Lankan should accept.

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A huge lightning strike was seen over the Colombo city sky on November 2, 2023, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Thilina Kaluthotage/NurPhoto)

Sri Lanka, a nation that once proudly championed a non-aligned foreign policy, finds itself at the crossroads of a severe economic crisis. Locally, the verdict delivered by the Supreme Court for those responsible is almost erased from public discourse. The culprits and their kith and kin continue to enjoy their desires while mocking the justice system. Meanwhile, external forces, including foreign financial institutions, have manipulated this dire situation to play a geopolitical game, using Sri Lanka as a mere chessboard. The consequence? Our foreign policy has devolved into a perilous “no policy is our policy” stance, jeopardizing the very foundation of our nation.

The recent annual report by the Government Auditor has laid bare the corruption and malpractices deeply rooted in the Ministry responsible for our foreign policy. This extends beyond ministerial levels, implicating the chief administrative officer, the Ministry’s secretary, and others in charge. Our diplomatic missions, rather than serving the nation’s interests, have become breeding grounds for individuals with political connections, fostering an environment of nepotism and inefficiency.

As the nation grapples with these challenges, it is disheartening to witness the apathy of those vying for leadership. In stark contrast stands Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who, through adept diplomacy, has maintained balanced relationships with India, China, Japan, and Russia while strategically engaging with the USA. Nobody has the courage to order her, and the Bangladesh government has ceased providing facilities to this country and that country, as they are considered enemies of a third-party nation.

The question then arises: What are our leaders doing to salvage this broken nation? The echoes of their indifference resonate louder as the UNDP report reveals a staggering wealth disparity, with the top 1 percent owning 31 percent of the country’s wealth, while the bottom 50 percent owns less than 4 percent.

The report also sheds light on the alarming reality that 33.4 percent of the population faces vulnerability and deprivation due to mounting debt. Meanwhile, corruption and malpractices continue to flourish, epitomized by the shocking case against the former Minister, key players in the management and stakeholders of the Health Ministry. How can one human play with the lives of others for profit, manipulating blood donations for the production of illegal drugs? The justice system’s failure to swiftly address such egregious crimes is a damning reflection of the nation’s descent into degradation.

In the face of these crises, if Sri Lanka’s foreign policy continues to serve the interests of a select few, we stand at the precipice of losing our nationhood. The impending election is an opportunity for the people to demand accountability, transparency, and a foreign policy that safeguards the interests of all citizens. It is time for a united front against the forces that seek to compromise our beloved motherland. The path to redemption lies in reclaiming our non-aligned foreign policy, restoring faith in our diplomatic missions, and ensuring justice for those who have played with the blood of our fellow citizens. The alternative is a funeral march mourning the demise of our sovereignty, a fate no Sri Lankan should be willing to accept.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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