Wed. Sep 23rd, 2020

By Daya Gamage– Asian Tribune United States Bureau Diplomatic Note

Washington, D.C. 11 September (Asiantribune.com):

Sri Lanka administration under the Rajapaksa siblings has actually given a strong indicator that it is approaching developing a reasonable diplomacy taking severe note of the emerged international order in the previous 3 years that brought Washington and New Delhi into an unprecedented military bond, on-going military thrust toward Indo-Pacific region, the importance of the Quad– US-India-Australia-Japan – India’s Modi administration’s unique emphasis that Sri Lanka keeps a better operating connection with it, the acceleration of political-military and financial rivalry between US-India mix and China in announcing key diplomatic visits to New Delhi, Washington and Beijing.

The most sensible and essential consultation the Rajapaksa administration made was sending Milinda Moragoda to New Delhi with cabinet-rank status- which is necessary for him to successfully represent Sri Lanka in Washington power circles well known to him for decades– together with the brand-new US ambassador to Washington Ravinatha Aryasinha -another veteran diplomat having most recently worked as the foreign secretary– all amid the US-India now supported political-military bond which is designed to deal with the Chinese expansion in the Indo-Pacific region.Amid this circumstance, in an undertaking to keep the emerging logical foreign policy well balanced, another veteran worldwide known diplomat who was as soon as foreign secretary and one-time Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the United Nation with excellent contacts with Washington and New york city is designated to be the envoy to China: Dr. Palitha Kohona. President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, of course with the concurrence of his older sibling Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in making these diplomatic posts, is bringing Sri Lanka to a reasonable foreign policy trajectory seriously remembering of worldwide power development. Sri Lanka knows that to satisfy India’s dreams– stated clearly when President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa consulted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi– it needs to maintain a close relationship with New Delhi, and designating three individuals– especially Milinda Moragoda– who are diplomatically efficient in focusing Washington, Sri Lanka has thought about the strong political-military bond the United States and India have actually cemented in their December 2018 2 +2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington.It remains in this context that the Rajapaksa administration has actually accepted the 2017-signed Acquisition of Cross-Servicing Arrangement with the U.S.– a greatly enhanced contract which goes to 83 pages over the 2007-signed ACSA of 8 pages– to stay, the Status of Forces(COUCH)agreement which allows American military elements on Sri Lankan soil with diplomatic resistance still under consideration, and the Centuries Challenge Corporation (MCC)Compact, despite a presidential panel in a report concluded that a number of stipulations in the Compact compromise Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, in the words of Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage “might be accepted with a compromise”, is still on President’s Order Book.Not going against the grain, implying seeing the practical element of the development of the International Order, Sri Lanka is and the Rajapaksa bros are, a good idea to comprehend the reality in moving toward the solution of a rational diplomacy in designating three individuals who might help Sri Lanka to adopt” India First’in line with” America First” when it pertains to the Indo-Pacific region to which both New Delhi and Washington have actually provided utmost priority.Mr. Moragoda’s rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is well over a years when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat State absolutely disallowed from Washington since of his supposed complicity with the Hindu-Muslim riots in his state a couple of years prior to. He satisfied Chief Minister Modi in 2008 while being a cabinet minister

in the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration and several times subsequently. Mr. Modi is now in his 2nd term as India’s prime minister, and Mr. Moragoda in New Delhi might be the very best fit for Sri Lanka considering the geo-political environment in the Indo-Pacific area. With the sealed politico-military bond between the U.S. and India, Milinda Moragoda, with his cabinet status, will have the utilize to Washington as the latter considers Sri Lanka a strategically situated in the Indo-Pacific region. With boosted military and United States Defense Department goes to during the past four years, Sri Lanka has become U.S. military hub which is tough to reverse.Moragoda’s best contact at present is Washington’s previous envoy to Sri Lanka(2006-2009)Robert Blake who consequently operated in the position of Assistant Secretary for South Asia in the State Department, and now senior director for Asia in the prominent and well extended Washington lobbying firm McLarty Associates. It is on an invitation from Moragoda’s Pathfinder Structure that Robert Blake arrived in Colombo in May 2019,

met principal political figures, and delivered a lecture that applauded the previous defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s handling of national security during the Eelam War IV talking about the Easter Attack the month before.Milinda Moragoda was heavily involved throughout the Norwegian-brokered 2001-2005 Peace Talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE in his capability as the Economic Minister in the Ranil Wickremasinghe administration keeping a really close discussion with State Department’s Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage who took an unique interest in the Talks. When Armitage visited Sri Lanka in 2003 throughout the Peace Talks he checked out Jaffna for talks with the top brass of the military in Jaffna accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Wills, Prime Minister Wickremasinghe, and Milinda Moragoda. His connections to Washington made him among the primary mediators with Wickremasinghe. His acceptance in Washington is well shown in a diplomatic cable television sent by the then American Ambassador Ashley Wills.Anyone who knows the working of Washington facilities particularly the State and Defense Departments is knowledgeable that the reports of people and their related work are well safeguarded for official usage in later years, and they are well understood and shared. The diplomatic cable television– which was once classified up until Wikileaks released– offers a fascinating description of Mr. Moragoda. That description fits well for the role he is expected to play as a( cabinet-level) High Commissioner in New Delhi which remains in a political-military bond with

Washington. Undoubtedly the diplomatic cable televisions associated with Milinda Moragoda would have surfaced in Washington with his designation.The cable television categorized as”CONFIDENTIAL” analyses Sri Lanka’s pro-US foreign policy under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The cable television was composed on Might 29, 2003 by the US Ambassador to Colombo E. Ashley Wills.Some extracts of the cable are:(Quote)given that concerning power in late 2001, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has used up steps to guide Sri Lankan diplomacy closer to the U.S. In pursuing this pro-U.S. course, Wickremasinghe has actually been supported by two dynamic advisers, Minister of Constitutional Affairs G.L. Peiris and Minister of Economic Reforms Milinda Moragoda.(Note: Beyond their main titles, both Peiris and Moragoda play crucial functions as peace process

mediators and policy formulators for the GSL). In general, the Oxford-educated Peiris’focus has been more on cultivating ties with former colonial power Britain and other Commonwealth countries, however he is really pro-U.S. and often gos to Washington. More than Peiris’, Moragoda’s direct focus has actually been on cultivating relations with the U.S. and with India. Re the U.S., the smart, articulate Moragoda is a perfect fit. Born in Washington, D.C., he is a double national Amcit(Please safeguard )wed to an American, with plenty of Washington connections, many from his days as a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and at Harvard. A”big picture “person, Moragoda is likewise extremely conscious that the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world, and he feels that it is much better that Sri Lanka acknowledge that reality and work within it.( End Quote) Rajapaksa administration met India’s Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Capital City Gandhinagar 08 October 2008 In another diplomatic cable signed by Ambassador Robert Blake to Washington (in 2009 )reporting on his visit as Justice Minister states:”The appointment of the vibrant and well-regarded Milinda Moragoda as the new Minister of Justice and Law Reforms provides some premises for optimism. Post concerns him as a smart and savvy political leader who, despite leaving the opposition UNP in 2007 to visit the judgment union, has so far prevented branding himself directly within the President’s shadow.”In another cable, Ambassador Blake mentions Minister Moragoda’s function as a bridge-builder in between President Rajapaksa and the US administration. A cable television dispatched in April 2008

speaks of a conference with the Minister after his visit to Washington, states:” President Rajapaksa recently designated Moragoda as an unique envoy on external military relations with the United States, India and perhaps other countries” and comments “Although Moragoda occupies the benign post of Tourist Minister, he was used far more senior posts and delights in the self-confidence of and direct access to President Rajapaksa and his 2 brothers. They especially worth his counsel on US matters offered Moragoda’s long experience in the United States.”

All three diplomatic appointments by President Rajapaksa– Moragoda to New Delhi, Kohona to Beijing and Aryasinha to Washington– are well interconnected when favorable signs are emerging that Sri Lanka is on the course of formulating a reasonable foreign policy– I restate reasonable foreign policy– taking the worldwide advancements and nationwide requirements into serious consideration.However, it is intriguing to enjoy. -Asian Tribune– Source

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