When a new Sri Lankan head of state is appointed, India will be the first official state visit. India, too, follows tradition when a head of state from Sri Lanka extends an official invitation to visit India. However, when Ranil became President, India did not extend an official invitation to him. In addition, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not congratulate Ranil. When a new Sri Lankan president is elected, India is usually the first to congratulate him or her. Modi congratulated Ranil a few months later . Ranil visited India a year after becoming president.
Why is that…?
The reason for that is the unclear image of Ranil in India.
In Mahinda Rajapaksa’s own words, it was India that formed the Maithri-Ranil alliance that defeated Mahinda in 2015. Gota too told that story. If that story is true, then Ranil became the Prime Minister in 2015 thanks to India. Maithri won the 2015 presidential election and made Ranil the prime minister who did not have even 50 MP seats.
Before the presidential election, Ranil held a press conference and said that the Colombo Port City, which is a Chinese project, would be cancelled. But not only did Ranil start rebuilding the port city within a year of becoming Prime Minister, Ranil leased the Hambantota port to China, doing something that even the Rajapaksa did not do. India faced a situation where the temple that they went to worship collapsing on the head.
After winning the 2018 local government election, Modi invited Mahinda and Namal to India and gave them a big welcome, showing that India has no problem with the Rajapaksa’s return to power. During Modi’s first visit to Sri Lanka after Maithri became President, Mahinda had to make a big effort to get an appointment to meet Modi. At that time, Mahinda and Basil wanted to take Gota to meet Modi.
The Rajapaksa family wanted to show that India was angry with Mahinda because they allowed Chinese submarines to enter the port of Colombo and because Gota did that stupid thing. Gota was allowed to be brought after much persuasion. Despite that, Modi gave a big welcome to Mahinda, who was just an MP at that time, after winning the 2018 local government election.
Namal also went to India to meet Modi with Mahinda. The reason for this is the shock caused in India by Ranil by leasing Hambantota port to China.
Modi came to Sri Lanka thrice during the Maithrie-Ranil government. Mahinda met Modi all three occations. On all these three occasions when Mahinda met Modi,and also when Mahinda visited India and met Modi, Mahinda had only one story to tell Modi. Even if the story is words, it can be told in this way.
Ranil did something we didn’t do. We didn’t sell our stuff to China. Ranil did it. It is not only China, but also America and Western countries are brought here which poses big danger to India
Mahinda surely must have uttered these words to Modi. Then Ranil met Modi when he was Prime Minister. Before that, before 2015, when he was the leader of the opposition, Ranil had spoken to Modi on the phone. Ranil would have told this story at that time to Modi.
Rajapaksas are dragging this country towards China. The Rajapaksa’s want to make Sri Lanka a Chinese colony. Don’t let this happen…’
This is the story that Ranil may have told Modi on the phone before 2015.
All is ready to lease oil tanks. But the Rajapaksas are creating a big anti-Indian movement in the country. China is behind this…’
This is the story that Ranil may have said when he met Modi several times when he became Prime Minister in 2015.
Not long ago, Ranil became the President in July 2022. When the Colombo Port City Act presented to parliament in July 2021, Ranil said that is like handing over ‘ ealam’ to Prabakharan port city act is like entrusting the port city to China.
In this manner, since Ranil was against the Rajapaksas and the Rajapaksas were against Ranil, it is not surprising that Modi saw stars when the Rajapaksa made Ranil the president and Ranil suppressed the ‘aragalaya’ and protected Rajapaksas. Meanwhile, the Chinese spy ship Yuan Wang arrived in Sri Lanka amid India’s opposition, soon after Ranil became president.
Whom does Modi trust now? Ranil? Or Rajapaksas?
Both Ranil and the Rajapaksa’s have deceived Modi and India. Just as Ranil used India to take power, the Rajapaksa’s also used India to capture power, and Modi is not stupid to not understand the deal between Ranil and Rajapaksa has been there for some time. So Modi took a year to invite Ranil to India, he must have been unable to fathom why this fellow is coming.
‘If this fellow can strike a deal to get the presidency from his arch enemy Rajapaksas, what kind of deal will he hatch with our enemies…?’
India and Modi must have had that issue. Ranil to show India that there is no such problem it must have taken a year.
‘But will India trust Ranil…?’
India has two issues with Ranil. One is to become the strong Prime Minister with the aid of India and leasing the Hambantota port to China in 2017 and start business directly with America without going through India. Gotabaya, who was the president before Ranil, became the president and won the trust of India to the letter. He ignored China. Moreover, Gota did not accept the official invitation of China to come to the country. Also, when Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, another enemy of India, came to Sri Lanka, he was willing to address the Parliament, but Gota prevented it. According to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, by allowing Ranil to become the President and let the Chinese spy ship come, helping Pakistan in IMF facility Ranil has demonstrated to India that he is not Gota. But if India has not help to get IMF facility Ranil would have perished long time ago.
To obtain the next IMF instalment Ranil needs China to debt restructure. Ranil needs India to debt restructure. China needs to take the loan premium, restructure the debt. Ranil also wants India to restructure its debt. But it will not be easy for Ranil to deceive China and India the way he deceived Rajapaksas and got the presidency.