The defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa in the elections to the post of Sri Lankan Prime Minister may be mourned by his followers, but New Delhi is sure smiling. Rajapaksa who had lost the Presidential elections a few months had blamed India's Research and Analysis Wing for plotting his defeat.
New Delhi on the other hand which denied these allegations however finds it a better bet to work with Ranil Wickresinghe who is all set to become the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. India would have not been entirely pleased had Rajapaksa come to power once again and the relationship with him had strained considerably in his last few days in office.
The relationship with Rajapaksa had strained considerably over his last few days in office. The issue of Tamils and also the proximity with China had upset India no end. In fact cooperation with Sri Lanka had reached a dead-end for India.
India had said that Rajapaksa had failed to address the issue of Tamils. To make matters worse for India, Rajapaksa was blamed for his growing proximity with the Chinese. The sighting of a Chinese submarine at the Colombo port was a concern that India had raised with Rajapaksa, but there was never any concrete assurance on his part.
Expectations will be high:
New Delhi has a lot of expectations from the Sirisea-Wickremesinghe combine in Sri Lanka. Top on the agenda would be to address the Tamil issue and provide a political solution. India would want to share a normal relationship with Sri Lanka. For this there has to be assurance from Sri-Lanka on a variety of issues which also includes the presence of the Chinese on their soil.
In the run up to the Presidential elections, Srinisena and Wickremesinghe had assured that they would look into the Chinese port city project. Wickremesinghe had also assured that the project would be cancelled. However as of today the project has been put on hold citing environmental issues.
Sri Lanka is also expected to have a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India. India feels with the Sirisene-Wickremesinghe combine being at the helm of affairs the CEPA would get a push and trade could be done without any apprehensions.
The CEPA has been on the backburner for sometime. There have been fears allayed by the business fraternity in Sri Lanka that India would try and flood their markets. However India now expects that talks on this issue would progress and business can be carried out without any apprehension.
An official in Delhi tells OneIndia that they have great expectations from Wickremesinghe and Sirisena. The new set up is more approachable and have conveyed their desire to New Delhi to sort out all issue that are contentious, the official also adds.