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Our enhanced stature

India has come to acknowledge that Sri Lanka had in fact fought its (India's) own war when it took on the LTTE. Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon meeting a delegation of Editors from Sri Lanka is reported to have endorsed a remark made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa that he had been fighting India's war since it was the LTTE that killed Rajiv Gandhi and that the security of Sri Lanka is interlinked with that of India.

This certainly is an outstanding tribute paid to Sri Lanka and its Head of State particularly given that even the fourth largest Army in the world from across the Palk Straits failed in their mission. Hence India has certainly been magnanimous in lavishing kudos on Sri Lanka's success and has acknowledged the benefits to its own country in the defeat of terrorism by its tiny neighbour.

This was in sharp contrast to the days Sri Lanka was viewed with suspicion and even hostility by our SAARC neighbour who went to extent of promoting terrorism on our soil to teach the country a lesson. The admission that we have defeated the very terrorist movement raised and nurtured in India only makes the victory that much sweeter, though we should acknowledge the support extended by India in the latter stages that hastened the defeat of the LTTE.

The Foreign Secretary has also acknowledged that the defeat of the LTTE had removed an overarching threat in the region. He said, "India would not remain a safe place if Sri Lanka's security is threatened. It is an admission that President Rajapaksa had removed a threat that could have had a dangerous fall out in South India and by extension to the stability of India as a whole. The Mumbai attacks also showed the mayhem that could be caused by cross border terrorism.

This endorsement of Sri Lanka's contribution to regional peace by its giant neighbour has now raised Sri Lanka into the big league and placed her as an active player in the region's affairs. This endorsement from a major world player no doubt is going to put Sri Lanka on a new level of standing among the international community and as a prominent player on the global stage. Already our Security Forces have received the highest encomiums from world powers on the defeat of terrorism that have defied the more developed countries and has caused the country to be looked upon with new respect. The sentiments expressed by India only mirrors this sea change.

Without doubt the defeat of the world's powerful terrorist outfit in the world has caused the world to sit back and take note of Sri Lanka. The country will no longer be treated as a push over and a docile by-stander like in the past. The stead-fast refusal by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to pander to the whims of western powers had seen to that. The rallying behind Sri Lanka by its regional allies even putting aside geopolitical enmities at the UN Human Rights sessions showed this new standing acquired by Sri Lanka in the aftermath of its military victory. The Foreign Secretary at the meeting with Editors had insisted that a political solution to the National Question is a Sri Lankan affair and it is not the task of India, Norway or the United Nations to push Sri Lanka towards a political solution. He said "It is only Sri Lanka that would decide whether to provide a solution on the lines of the 13th Amendment or go beyond it".

This now gives the President more room for manoeuvre in arriving at a final solution without having to be hamstrung by solutions imposed externally. He had already made it clear during his victory address in Parliament that Sri Lanka would not adopt solutions that are being experimented by other countries nor will alien concepts be supplanted in Sri Lanka.

"The Indian Foreign Secretary has said in no uncertain terms that a political solution is Sri Lanka's own affair," a far cry from the days before the vanquishing of the LTTE when a political solution was chanted as the manthram by all and sundry in attempts to thwart the military push. This is not to say that we can ignore a political solution to minority grievances now that war is over. In fact we should grab this new found goodwill with India to keep the political forum alive. President Rajapaksa no less is on record saying that India's support is vital in arriving at a final solution. This is therefore an ideal time to explore the possibility of reactivating the political process.

Taking care of IDPs: Progress so far

The people who have been displaced due to the recently concluded North-East Humanitarian Operation are being provided with necessary shelter, medical and other facilities by the Sri Lankan Government.

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Six years after US-UK invasion:

Iraq remains a country robbed of its precious heritage

Six years after the United States led invasion Iraq remains a country robbed of its very valuable heritage carefully preserved over several centuries and all valuable documents to ensure the smooth functioning of a society burnt and destroyed.

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Do not kill or abandon children:

Give them to the Probation and Child Care Services Department – Commissioner

Extracts from an exclusive interview conducted with the Probation and Child Cares Services Commissioner Sarath Abeygunawardana. Here he talks about IDP children, adopting children, children staying in orphanages and the society’s responsibility towards children.

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