Speaking Of Asia: Has Sri Lanka got its Modi?

More than his attitude towards big powers, Sri Lanka's new President must be watched for his approach to the island's minority Tamils and Muslims

ST ILLUSTRATION: MIEL

Shortly after being appointed defence secretary in his brother's Cabinet in early 2006, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa submitted a long list of expensive war equipment he wanted to buy. Many, including then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, were surprised.

Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa's response was simple and direct. "All of you will start with hopes of talking peace with the Tigers," he told them, referring to the insurgent outfit, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. "When you realise it is futile, you will come to me. I cannot wait until that moment. I need all this now to be fully prepared."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2019, with the headline 'Has Sri Lanka got its Modi?'. Subscribe