Sri Lanka model not fit for Myanmar


Ranga Kalansooriya, information director-general of Sri Lanka (L). Photo: MOI

A Sri Lanka official on Saturday admitted that his government had only achieved 'negative peace' through a military solution that ended in the decimation of the Tamil Tigers.

"We have defeated and crushed the Tamil Tigers militarily. But the Tamil cause for political autonomy has not been demolished," said Ranga Kalansooriya, information director-general of Sri Lanka.

After his presentation, a National League for Democracy MP asked Kalansooriya whether the military victory of the Sri Lankan army had brought the country 'negative peace'.

"I agree with you. This peace is negative because it is only achieved by force of arms," said Kalansooriya in reply.

German professor Aurel Croissant stressed the need for the transformation of a war economy to a peace economy as key to democratic transition in Myanmar.

"It is not so much a question of transformation from a socialist command economy to market economy in Myanmar. The key to democratic transition is to transform a war economy created by 70 years of civil war into an economy of peace," Croissant said.

Indian author Subir Bhaumik, responding to the presentation, unveiled the Indian strategy of 'using peace negotiations as an instrument of war." 

"The Indian state has perfected the art of killing insurgent movements on the negotiations table. Look at the Naga peace process, that has now gone on for 20 years without any solution in sight," said Bhaumik, author of "Troubled Periphery: Crisis of India's Northeast."

He said that the Indians use a combination of reconciliation, economic inducements, use of force, and divide-and-rule to wear down the armed groups.

"The Indian state never appears to be in a hurry to sign agreements with armed groups. They just want ceasefire and ensure there is no resumption of hostilities. It is the rebels who want a settlement sooner than later," said Bhaumik.

Col Aung Myint Oo of the National Defence College asked Kalansooriya about the challenge of maintaining both humanitarian laws and tight security related special laws in conflict zones.

"That is a really difficult to reconcile. Very often both state and non-state actors violate these laws," Kalansooriya said.

He referred to the famous white flag case when Tamil Tiger rebels trying to surrender with white flags were all killed.

"Such measures makes the conflict even more bitter," Kalansooriya said.

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