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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Security Dilemma of Sri-Lanka: A Conceptual Analysis

Title: Security Dilemma of Sri-Lanka: A Conceptual Analysis
Author: William Nunes
ISBN: 978-93-82395-02-7
First Edition: 2013
Binding: Hard Cover
Price: Rs.1200/-

About the Author:
Dr. William Nunes is currently Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. He teaches Political Theory and International Relations. He was awarded the University Research Fellow at the Maharaja Sayajiroa University of Baorda (2003 to 2006). His area of interest is International Relations, Security Studies, South Asian Politics and Foreign Policy and Political Theory.

About the Book:
The concept and issues of security is and has always been a major area of debate and discussion both at the theoretical as well as the practical level. However, the debate for long continued to be based on the bi-polar phenomenon and security was seen only in term of protection and preservation/defence of state territorial boundaries and core values. This book, although do not provide fresh evidence, makes arguments that would urge one to understand the problem of security from different perspective and is an attempt to provide a framework for analyzing security problem especially of third world and particularly small state.

This book has attempted to study the security of South Asia in the changed international environment and its bearing on the sovereignty, security and stability of the state by undertaking a case study of Sri Lanka. The security environment of South Asia has experienced significant change consequent to the end of the Cold War, emergence of globalisation and demand for greater democratisation as well as assertion of sub-nationalist groups. Such changes in the international and domestic milieu have posed tremendous challenges to the state necessitating a reorientation of its foreign policy outlook and relations.

The book has analysed the changes and shifts as well as continuities in the structure of the international, regional and domestic milieu and tried to conceptualise the imperatives it posed to the state to protect its sovereignty, identity, stability and security. Thus in order, to understand these developments the book analyses the major patterns and trends and the challenges, and the responses of the state to these changes and challenges. It therefore, analyses the major policies adopted by Sri Lanka to offset these challenges by undertaking an historical analytical approach as it draws from the past and makes comparison with the present context to delineate the trends and patterns of state behaviour and policies.

The book also discusses the development that led to the creation of the Federal Party (FP) and to their demand for autonomy and parity of status of Tamil language. The failure of successive government to negotiate a political solution by accommodating their demands aggravated the problem leading them to demand for separate state by the young militant group LTTE led by Velupillai Prabhakaran. The LTTE had led the war for separation too far, and all attempts at devolution of power were rejected by the LTTE. The Norwegian efforts which culminated in various rounds of talks also failed as the LTTE laid down conditions which were not acceptable to the Sri Lankan.

The LTTE was not willing to negotiate for anything short of a separate state, nor had it made efforts to design a concrete proposal for peace. It should have realised that post 9/11 developments have led the international community to take strong stand against terrorism. Therefore, with it tendency to drag its feet in resolving the crisis the international community was bound to empathise with the Sri Lankan government. On the other hand, the alliance of the PA and the JVP poses doubts over the future of the peace process. The JVP’s opposition to market driven economy/liberalisation, devolution and talks with the LTTE could be the potential area of new tension that could emerge in the future.

From the brief discussion, one theme which stands out as common is that the security problems and issues of a state cannot be understood without reference to factors and issues emanating from all the three levels. Security is therefore determined by the combination of the security of individual/civil society, states, regional and international system. Furthermore, it is evident that Sri Lanka’s security concern was not governed by any given framework. It evolved with the changing nature of the international and regional system as well as the challenges emanating from the domestic milieu, particularly the attempt to establish a national identity, economic development and allocation of resources to its citizens.

The security problem of Sri Lanka was mainly domestic in nature. Therefore it is imperative that the political order be restructured to provide participation and better representation of the minorities and also evolve an economic planning system that would generate growth and enable the state to equitably distribute resources and opportunities. However, with the economic stagnation and slow process of peace (rehabilitation now) there are doubts that the conflict may end either like Cyprus, Pakistan or Yugoslavia.

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