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News Room : SL risks expulsion from OGP over Online Safety Bill, etc. – The Island


By Rathindra Kuruwita

A National People’s Power (NPP) administration will not do anything that will undermine Indian security, but it will maintain economic and political relations with China, the NPP delegation to India told Indian officials, JVP/NPP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said in an interview with Sirasa TV, on Thursday (15).

In his first interview since his return to the country, Dissanayake said India had extended an invitation to the NPP in December.

“However, we had other commitments in December. One of them was visiting China at the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party. We told India that we maintained full transparency in our external relations.”

The NPP leader said that the incumbent government’s privatisation drive had attracted both Indian and Chinese investors, and that had led to friction between the two major powers.

“The government has decided to privatise Sri Lanka Telecom, and the two main contenders are Chinese and Indian interests. It’s the same with Lanka Hospitals. It is the government that wants Amul to buy NLDB.”

From the J.R. Jayewardene administration onwards, successive governments followed disastrous foreign policies that made Sri Lanka a battleground between major powers, Dissanayake said.

“JRJ beckoned Americans to Sri Lanka, and at that time, India was with Soviet Union (Russia). This angered India. Then, other governments tried to balance China and India by selling each country valuable national assets and giving each country contracts that didn’t adhere to the tender process,” the NPP leader said.

The NPP adheres to a non-aligned foreign policy, Engaging all stakeholders transparently is the key to avoiding misconceptions and triggering hostilities, he said.

States operate in an information-sparse environment, which often leads them to operate on assumptions. The NPP believes in transparency and engagement in foreign and domestic affairs because of that very reason, he said.

“We know that some individuals, who frequently attend Embassy functions, are spreading misinformation about us. On the other hand, we don’t really have the time to attend all these functions. However, in recent months, diplomatic missions have reached out to us because they think we will win elections, and we have used these opportunities to explain what our policies really are.”

The NPP leader said that their political opponents are very worried about their Indian visit because it dispels the narratives they have built about the party.

“One of the claims made was that the NPP has no international connections or standing. Anyone who can think logically can understand that states engage with political actors that have power. India, China, the US, and many others are now engaging with us because they think we will win elections. Some people believed Ranil knew foreign leaders personally and that they would bail the country out. How has that worked out? States act out of strategic considerations. We have said this from the beginning. However, some of our political leaders thought it was a good idea to put a lot of their eggs in the ‘NPP has no international standing’ basket. Now this has been proven obviously wrong, and they are panicking,” he said.

Dissanayake added that they are well aware that the two main parties and their affiliates will do everything in their power to thwart an NPP win.

“This is not like Ranil replacing Mahinda or Ranil replacing Gota. A lot of crooked elements are afraid of us coming into power. They will do anything to stop us, and already we are seeing strange political bedfellows emerging,” he said.