Last week, the new Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Santosh Jha met Mahinda Rajapaksa. His meeting was significant. Between 2007 and 2010 when Mahinda was the president of the country he was working in the commercial division of the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka.
The period of 2007 and 2010 was a period of close relations between Mahinda and the Indian High Commissioner’s office in Sri Lanka and the Congress government of India. Mahinda needed India’s support to win the war, and for this, he closely associated India. During the war, India was negotiating to sign ( Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement – CEPA) with Mahinda’s government.
After winning the war, Mahinda had promised to give 13+. But after winning the war, Mahinda refused to sign CEPA. He ignored to give 13 +. Santhosh Jha, as the head of the Commerce division, must have been involved in the negotiations regarding the CEPA agreement. He must have had a good understanding of Sri Lankan leaders and their broken promises.
When the war ended and Mahinda’s government was facing a big economic crisis, and opted to go to the IMF Western countries requested IMF not aid Sri Lanka due to human rights violations. At that time, India took the initiative to speak to the Western countries and persuaded them to grant IMF relief to Sri Lanka. But after winning the war, Mahinda’s government forgot all that and went behind China.
Today when Santosh Jha came to Sri Lanka and met Mahinda as the High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, Mahinda was in a very helpless situation. If Mahinda had listened to what India had to say then, he would not have fallen into a Chinese debt trap and destroyed the economy. If Mahinda had given 13+ that day, he would not have lost the 2015 presidential election. Maithripala won the 2015 presidential election with votes from the north.
It is not known if Mahinda remembered these things when he met Santosh Jha. When he finished his service at the Indian High Commission, Mahinda was a world-conquering president. When Jha left Sri Lanka, he saw national organizations protesting not to give CEPA, and 13 +.
Even today, there are national organisations and leaders. Today, they’re all silent. Now Ranil’s government has resumed negotiations to sign the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India. Neither national organisations nor their leaders speak out against it. It is unclear whether Santosh Jha will be able to complete the project he began but was unable to complete while working in the commercial section of the Indian High Commission. Anyway, he has arrived in Sri Lanka at a time when the country is more dependent on India than ever.