In 2005, the PM and Congress president Sonia Gandhi was there for the inauguration of the Rs 25,000 crore Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project, which envisaged dredging the mythological ‘Ram Sethu’ to allow large ships to sail between India and Sri Lanka, reducing the shipping distance between our western and eastern coast.
It was Jayalalithaa who had petitioned the Supreme Court against the dredging of the Sethu or Adam’s Bridge. Quoting extensively from various historical literature and compilations, she said ‘Ram Sethu’ was a symbol of the might of human will and the construction of the bridge by the ‘vanara sena’ of Lord Rama was a victory of human endeavour in the face of adversity.
Can assault of visiting Sri Lankan Buddhist monks be ever regarded as a victory of human endeavour in the face of adverse situation created in Tamil Nadu by the release of videos of alleged execution of Balachandran four years ago?
The filial links with India started with King Vijaya, an Indian prince who migrated to Sri Lanka with his followers and made it into a monarchy. When Kalinga war-reformed Ashoka sent his son and daughter to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism, the young princess had taken with her a sapling of the pipal tree ( Bo tree) at Bodh Gaya, meditating under which prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became Gautam Buddha. That sapling was planted at Lanka’s ancient capital Anuradhapura.
Ttrade ties between India and Lanka has grown steadily. India exported goods worth $4.3 billion to Lanka in 2011-12, accounting for 22% of the island nation’s total imports. Indian majors Tata, Bajaj, Bharti, RPG, Dabur, Ultratech, Ambuja Cements and Ashok Leyland have registered their presence along with state-owned NTPC.
But it would be rather unfortunate if constituent states take unilateral decisions, like banning entry of Sri Lankans into Tamil Nadu, on issues which are best left to the Union government.
What will happen if they take a decision that no product of an Indian company employing residents of Tamil Nadu is welcome in Sri Lanka?