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Sri Lanka’s contribution to the Sathya Sai Baba movement

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Commmemorating the Swami’s 95th birthday

by M. Wanni Wanniyasekaram

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was one of the most respected persons in the spiritual world in his time. In an attempt to take His Legacy forward, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Seva Samithi was established 53 years ago in Sri Lanka and it has spearheaded this spiritual movement nationwide.

The Sri Lankan public first heard of the miracles and spiritual mission of Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, India, through the visit of Hilda Charlton, an American psychic who arrived in Colombo back in 1965. Upon hearing her stories about Sai Baba, many devotees including M Rasanayagam decided to call their friends to join and listen to the experiences of the Divine. On hearing and viewing the video clips shown by Hilda, a few enthusiastic devotees commenced conducting group bhajans at their homes mostly on Thursdays. K Thiyagaraja’s house in Wellawatta was used for this by many devotees who then went on to conduct Sai bhajans in Kandy, Jaffna and Batticaloa.

A delegation consisting of M Rajanayagam, CCS, a former Commissioner of Labor, Dr Nallinathan, C Balasingham.CCS and Kandiah Thiagaraja visited Puttaparthi to invite Bhagavan Baba to visit Sri Lanka. Accepting the invitation, Bhagavan requested the delegation to “first start regular bhajans. Then I will come.” In accordance with Swami’s directive Sri Lanka was the first country in South East Asia to establish Bhajan Centers in Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna and Batticaloa over five decades ago.

Karu Jayasuriya, the without national titles, but carrying military titles and decorations, Dr Bramadasan from the Eastern Zone, and Wanniyasekaram are the only surviving members of the organization from the time it began.

Invitation to Bhagavan Baba to visit Sri Lanka

The second invitation to Baba to visit Sri Lanka was extended by the then Minister Savumiyamoorty Thondaman who was accompanied on this mission by his Secretary, Thirunavukarasu and a few others. They were able to meet Swami and request Him to visit Sri Lanka. Swami accepted the invitation and nominated dates and time for His visit.

They thanked Swami and while Thondaman went to his home town in India for a few days, Thirunavukarasu returned to Sri Lanka and issued a press notification that Swami was coming here and the dates nominated for the visit. Devotees were very happy that arrangements were well under way and a reception committee chaired by Hon. A. Ratnayake, President of the Senate, was set up. Then Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike kindly agreed to receive Swami at the airport and preside over the public meeting marking the visit.

Meanwhile the Colombo-7 elite living in posh houses jostled with each other offering to host Swami in their homes during his stay. When Thondaman returned from India, they lobbied him to recommend their names. This became intolerable and Thondaman asked C. Balasingham to contact either Sri Kasturi or Sri Indulal Shah, Swami’s aides, and get a ruling on this issue. Balasingham contacted both these gentlemen who spoke to Swami. The ruling from Swami was “I am cancelling my trip to Lanka. I will visit only if the devotees want me”. This decision was conveyed to Thondaman.

The Third Invitation

In 2005 many of us visited Puttaparthy for Buddha Poornima (Vesak) celebrations in a delegation led by Karu Jayasuriya. It included Laksahman Kiriella, late Sivali Ratwatte, late Mangala Moonesinghe, late Dr. W. Rasaputram, Bradman Weerakoon, Lakshman Watawala, Mahesh Mallawaarachi, Janaka Weerakoon, Dr Bramadasan, Prof. Degamboda and myself. We extended an invitation by way of a well designed and worded card asking Swami to visit Sri Lanka .

After Karu Jayasuriya spoke extending the invitation, I prayed to Swami “Swami, Lord Buddha had visited Sri Lanka three times. Please visit “SAI LANKA.” He looked at us all with a gracious smile saying “There’s a passing cloud. Let that settle and when there is unity in the organization, I will come.”

This is the second time that Swami had spoken of ‘Unity’. When will that happen among us? When will anger and hatred leave us and we can sit side by side, shoulder to shoulder, taking forwards His sacred legacy for the benefit of our younger generation. Devotees carrying anger and hatred must reform themselves and leave room for younger people to serve Swami.

Among the national projects conducted by the Sathya Sai Organisation in Sri Lanka are:

Hospice; Sai School Manipay – Jaffna; Children’s Home – Vavuniya; Elders Home Hanwella – Colombo; Introduction of Sathya Sai Education in Human Values to Schools; Leadership training for all office bearers (temporally suspended with approval denied by the International Chair for the participation of overseas Resource Per

sonnel).

One of the Public Events conducted includee the Inter Faith Conference with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presiding and two overseas guest speakers, Dato Jegatheesan a Senior Civil Servant from Malaysia and Dato Dr Ayothya Art Ong Jumsai, Ex Minister Of Education Thailand, held at the BMICH which was well received by the public.

Holy Vesak/Buddha Poornima in the Divine Presence

In 1996, a few Lankan devotees were at Whitefield on Vesak Poya day, bearing the traditional tray with lights to signify the importance of Vesak. Swami, blessed the devotees on the occasion of Vesak and granted their request to hold Vesak celebrations in His presence annually. This was well received by all the Buddhist countries in the Asia Pacific region.

 

Reoyka Hira, who was the former Zone Chair for Asia Pacific which includes Sri Lanka, who is presently a Member of the Central Trust at Puttaparthi suggested that we regularize this event by having a “Buddha Poornima Secretariat” in Sri Lanka covering all the Buddhist countries in South Asia. It was decided to offer the Chairman’s post to Hon Karu Jayasuriya, and the post of Secretary to me. This committee worked with perfect understanding, cooperation, and love until it was scrapped by Dr Goldstein and Dr Reddy in the year 2005. However, the program continued with the participation of other countries.

The organization extends its gratitude to Vidiyapathy Ravi Bandu and his team, Kalasuri Vasuki Jegatheesan and Shanmugampillai Viswanathan, former Director Tamil Program Rupavahini Corporation, for coordinating and organizing an annual cultural program to be staged in the presence of the Divine. For many years Sri Lanka hosted this special event which is at present shared by other Buddhist countries in our region.

A minimum of 750-800 devotees per year from Sri Lanka participated in this event. The Year 2005 was a special year for us with about one thousand devotees present. Swami was very free with the Sri Lankan group, mingling among the devotees collecting letters from whoever who gave them to him. He spent more than two hours morning and evening with us, enjoying the Bhajans sung by the Sri Lankan devotees conducted by Gamini Gunasekara. The overseas Bhajans were conducted by Letchu Chablani of Japan.

Every year distinguished VVIPS visited either Whitefield or Puttaparthi. Mrs. Bandaranaike participated many times as did President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the late Anura Bandaranaike, late Dr Seevali Ratwattea and his spouse, late High Commissioner Mangala Moonesinghe, late Central Bank Governor and Ambassador Warnasena Rasaputra. Bradman Weerakoon who recently turned 91 and had held high office spoke on ‘The Importance of Vesak” in the presence of Swami and devotees. This speech was well received specially by the overseas devotees.

CHAITHANIYA JOTI MUSEUM

A large Buddha Statue was gifted to the museum by the devotees in Sri Lanka. Main sponsors were Rev (Dr) Pannindara Thera, the Chief Incumbent of Sri Dharmaka Veshi Temple, Baudaloka Mawatha Colombo 7 and Dr & Mrs Sivali Ratwatte and their daughter Mrs. Lakmani Welgama. Transport arrangement were made by Mahesh Mallawaarachi and T.G.K. Krishnamoorthy in Tamil Nadu, who ensured the statue was delivered in God’s time.

PAINTINGS FOR THE MUSEUM

Sri Indu Bai requested me to find out from Senaka Senanayake whether he would gift three large paintings for the Museum. Indu Bai has met Senaka during his visits to Sri Lanka and knew his credentials. I promptly spoke to Senaka, who without hesitation agreed and completed the assignment on time. Sri Indu Bai selected two paintings for the Museum, and asked me to forward the third to “Swami’s Abode” with a note “Gift from the devotees of Sri Lanka”. This painting is seen in Swami’s lounge as you enter His Abode.

Sathya Sai Institute for Human Values (SSEHV)

In the year 1970 SSEHV was inaugurated by Dato Dr Auodiya Na Jum Sai former Minister of Education Thailand and the Founder Director Sai School, Thailand, Dr Teerakuiat Jareonsettaisn, or “Dr Judo” as he is popularly called, together with Sister Lorraine Burrows, Director of the Sai School Thailand.

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga came to know of the SSEHV concept that the Sathiya Sai Organisation was arranging to introduce in all schools under Swami,s guidance. She requested the Chairman of this Special Commission for Educational Reforms, Prof. Jayathilaka and Dr (Mrs) Tara De Mel, the former Secretary to the Ministry of Education and Member of the Education Reforms Commission to study this report and incorporate what is suitable in the Government Schools Curriculum.

Prof Sunanda Degamboda and Chandima de Silva were appointed Members of the Committee on Ethics and Value Education in Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Education in recognition of the work of the Education Wing of the Sai Organisation. This was based on the recommendation by Prof Jayathilaka and Dr( Mrs) Tara De Mel to the President.

Introduction to Education in Human Values in Schools

This concept was carried out very well in the Northern and Eastern zones. In one of the Divine discourses that Swami addressed was the introduction of the Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV). Swami requested all countries must introduce this concept universally. Accordingly, this exercise was carried out very successfully in the North and Eastern zones.

Sai Mandir Anniversary Celebrations

“Sai Mandir” at Barnes Place is considered as a landmark Holy Temple for all Sai devotees in Sri Lanka and also for overseas devotees visiting Sri Lanka. Sixty four perches of land in prime residential area in Colombo was gifted to the organization by the late Mrs Meena Ratnam, fomer Deputy Mayor of Colombo, and her daughter Ms Raji Ratnam.

Sai Mandir, Barnes Place, Colombo 7 Sri Gopal Ghandhi (Grand Son of Mahathma Ghandi)

High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka

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The uncommon touch at ‘The Commons’

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by Malinda Seneviratne

On the face of it the name of the small, cosy and friendly restaurant on Ernest De Silva Mawatha, Colombo 7, sounds pretentious. ‘The Commons’ after all refers to ‘land or resources belonging to or affecting the whole of a community.’ The restaurant is not common property. The onus, one would think, is on the owners to ensure ‘belonging.’

That’s about good service, mostly.

Now I’ve not bothered about the labels for I’ve dabbled enough in the advertising industry to know what’s what and what’s not. I’m old enough to focus on substance and leave it at that.  For example, Sooriya Village, formerly a restaurant which was ‘surrounded’ by a practice studio, recording studio, bookshop, hangout place for anyone in any of the arts and a location for interviews, weddings, book launches etc., was not a ‘village.’ There was sun but not always, and anyway shade was what I preferred. There was warmth and like any village, there was a sense of belonging amidst multiple ways of differentiation.

The Commons. That’s what this is about. I’ve been here hundreds of times, literally. Sometimes I’ve ordered a coffee, sometimes food. Sometimes it’s been, much like Sooriya Village, an office of sorts. People meet me here. I ask them to come. Most days though, I just sit somewhere and write. Always received with a smile. No questions asked, except if I wanted some water. Indeed, sometimes, the water is served even without the question.

You could put it all down to familiarity and general Sri Lankan hospitality. After all, I’ve not surveyed others who sit here and hardly ever order anything.

This morning, Thursday January 14, in a Covid-19 encumbered world, I realized that it was not just about familiarity. Here’s my story.

I walked in. My way was partially blocked by what I thought was a television crew.

‘Are you shooting a film?’ That’s what I asked.

‘No, it’s a shoot,’ I was told.

So I went to the open space at the back of the restaurant, sat down as I often did, opened my laptop and started to type.

The ‘crew’ moved to where I was. A camera on a tripod and a photographer. A young man was seated at the table. A young woman appeared to be arranging things. Food was served to a nicely laid table. I realized they were photographing the food.

‘Are you going to shoot the entire menu?’ I asked.

They smiled and affirmed it was so.

‘He won’t be able to eat all the food — you might as well give me some!’ I said in jest.

They shot. I wrote. A few minutes later, the owner, the legendary Harpo, arrived. He saw me and greeted me with that inimitable smile of his, brought his hands together a la Covid-19-induced greeting protocols and said ‘hi.’

I responded and repeated my observation: ‘if they are going to photograph the entire menu, you could distribute the food among all of us.’

In jest. Didn’t think twice about it. Went back to my work.

Fifteen minutes later, Prasanna, one of the waiters, came up to me with a platter of wraps. Cheesy eggs and bacon tortilla wraps with some dip that I couldn’t identify. Prasanna didn’t know that I didn’t eat meat. There was a hint of dismay in his eyes so I said ‘I will remove the bacon and eat the rest.’ I avoid eggs too, but I indulged. Great stuff. Lunch, for me. On the house.

I didn’t need that to feel at home. I’ve always felt at home. I don’t own ‘The Commons’ but I was always convinced I belonged here or rather that it belongs to me. Everyone, from the security guards Kingsley and Sudakaran, to the waiters (the long-standing ones and the students doing internships or side-jobs), the managers and Harpo himself never once said or did anything to make me doubt this.

I don’t recall having seen Pravin Jayasundere, a student at Law College who has been doing photo-shoots on the side for a few months now, and Rajeev Coltan, the ‘model,’ at ‘The Commons.’ I don’t know what they feel or how they’ll ‘see’ this place if they became visitors as regular as I have become. I don’t know if they’ll secure common ownership, so to speak. I don’t know if they’ll feel as ‘belonged.’

I can’t speak for others. This is my place, and I don’t mind others owning it, Harpo included. It’s common property in the middle of a high-end residential area of Colombo. Pretty uncommon.

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Tastes and flavours from around the world

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Plates is a 24 hour muilt cuisine restaurant bring the best of World cuisines together. Ou can embark on a journey of culinary discovery form around the globe.

by Zanita Careem

Having always been a trailblazer in epicurean experiences, Cinnamon Grand Colombo continues that momentum with the launch of Plates, its 24-hour gourmet dining venue with an unparalleled collective of tastes and flavours from around the world. The restaurant will be open to the public from Saturday, 16 January.

Plates is all about experiences: the experience of friends and family dining together, the experience of enjoying multi-country multi-cuisine dishes at any time of day, the experience of having a gastronomic tour of global cuisine in a single venue and the experience of enjoying the tropics in alfresco dining or seated within the contemporary sleek interiors in air-conditioned comfort. It also boasts a unique range of beverage options, specially crafted with local ingredients. The unusual, yet satisfying blend of components will give guests a wide variety of beverages to choose from, to complement their meals.

Cinnamon Grand Colombo General Manager Kamal Munasinghe, commenting on the new restaurant, said, “Plates offers a place for guests to come together and experience a multitude of international cuisine, 24-hours of the day. The ambiance and décor have also been done to support togetherness, and an environment where food can be enjoyed on many levels, in different types of ‘plates’. The fresh new look, as well as the unique offerings in both food and beverage, which have been developed with intricate detail, are aimed at giving guests the finest culinary experiences.”

Plates’s interiors hold a modern colour palette of white, blue and copper, with a contemporary look and feel intended to compliment the view of the pool, with its blue hues encircled by verdant greens. This tropical canvas is seen through large French windows which open onto a deck and outdoor bar for the perfect alfresco dining ambience. The delightful tropical weather which Sri Lanka has can be enjoyed at any time of year due to the retractable awning that sits atop the deck of this alfresco space.

The essence of Plates is all about togetherness, echoing the axiom that “the fondest memories are made gathered around a table”.  Add the multiple plates of Continental, Indian, Asian and Sri Lankan into the gastronomic recipe and food does bring people together. 

Whether it’s the decadent buffet spreads for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a special children’s menu, all day A la carte dining or an extensive range of beverages including wines and cocktails. The night snack menu includes hand-picked selections from the À la carte menu.  Curated music styling accompanies each gourmet journey adding to the unique ambience.

The buffets have always been legendary at Cinnamon Grand Colombo and Plates is heaven on a plate.  While the international breakfast buffet includes continental, American, Sri Lankan, Indian and even a Japanese corner, the lunch and dinner buffets add Far Eastern, Mediterranean, Arabic, carveries, pasta station, live pizza oven, a salad bar, a healthy corner and desserts with an action station, promising to pile those plates high. 

For lunch, guests who wish to enjoy a light and healthy lunch can enjoy the salad-and-dessert-bar only option. And memories of blissful Sunday brunches are brought back to life at the Sunday Brunch Buffet which has all of the above and more, including a surfeit of seafood from oysters, mussels, jumbo and lagoon prawns, shoe lobsters and salmon, Shawarma and Mongolian counters, an extensive range of carveries and grilled meats and a delightful chocolate fountain adding to the desserts.

Adhering to stringent COVID-19 guidelines as directed by the Government and the Ministry of Health protocols, Plates has a total seating capacity of 163, with the deck area seating 41, while all guests are subjected to strict health and safety protocols. More details are available at www.cinnamonhotels.com/cinnamon-care.

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“Selling the Family Silver” and India-SL bilateral relations

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by Dr Sarala Fernando

A remark attributed to the US Congress that “Sri Lanka is a valuable piece of real estate” had made the news here hinting at the strategic value of our island location while some had connected the remark to the MCC, an economic project integral to the US pivot to the Indo Pacific.

This sudden interest in Sri Lanka’s land assets made the headlines after Harvard economists in 2016 advised on the incorporation of a land project under the MCC to address constraints to national growth by a re-survey, re-valuation and deed grants on lands around the country. Local experts argued that such a programme would lead to pressure on smallholders to sell land to more powerful entities for commercial exploitation increasing rural poverty, environmental and wild life destruction and water scarcity.

The Harvard economists and the MCC have come and gone. However, it seems the spirit of their view of land as a commodity is still alive judging by recent government decision to release nearly 1.5 million acres of other state forests to be repurposed for development work. This has become a hot topic of discussion and environmentalists have filed court cases to revert to the previous protection provided to unrecognized forest covers.

The silent constituents, the trees and the animals have felt the brunt of this decision with the increased deforestation and destruction of mangroves, the killing of large mammals like elephants and even our prized leopards and most recently hundreds of birds found dead, probably poisoned, off Wilpattu. Are there criminal gangs behind the sudden spate of shooting of tuskers and snaring of leopards, questions still not answered by the authorities? The government focus on land has extended to the urban areas where long standing wholesale markets, social and sports clubs have been taken over by the UDA with scant explanation of the reasons behind the seizures and plans for redevelopment of these valuable lands (urban housing/recreation for the public?). Selling lands, the equivalent of the proverbial “family silver” is to be expected in these extraordinary times where Sri Lanka has heavy foreign debt obligations.

However since the government land acquisition strategy remains opaque, without consultation or explanation of any business plan, public protests are now spreading even to non-agricultural foreign investment proposals ranging from allocating the ECT terminal in Colombo port and the KKS port to India, to mining of titanium from sands in Mannar – a water scarce area – to an Australian company . Land issues came to the fore early when the Tourism authorities set up a one-stop shop for new hotel construction despite the crisis in the hotel industry with the Covid epidemic and drying up of tourist flows. In other countries, empty hotels are being taken over by the government and converted to new uses like urban housing; however our authorities seem more concerned about allocating land in water shortage areas like Kalpitiya and Mirissa for 600 room hotels, so called “foreign” investments promoted by local barons.

In Yala, a new foreign managed hotel has suddenly emerged and is said to be destined for those “high spending” East European tourists irrespective that Yala is suffering from over-tourism and the animals are more in need of food and water. Added to the confusion, in parliament it was announced that the source of the second wave of Covid infection had been traced to a Ukrainian pilot and now the public is in a panic over the pilot project to bring in hundreds of Ukrainian tourists.

Public protests are spreading in agriculture areas with the Mahaweli authorities demarcating lands for large scale foreign investment taking from forest reservations and commons, dislocating animal feeding grounds and overriding even the demands of the local villagers for protection of their rights to customary land and forest use.

A recent news item featured the Agriculture Ministry offering Rs 700 million to local farmers to grow fruit for a foreign multinational company which will provide the plants and drip technology and presumably buy the fruit cheap and retain the export earnings for its own profit! What will be the value addition for the government if they have also provided tax concessions for the foreign investor? Even more serious, what will be the negative impact of these tasteless new hybrids on our heritage varieties of delicious local pineapple and bananas? Once the valuable land is allocated, the promised foreign money transfer may not even take place, the foreign investor’s preference usually being to bring in little foreign exchange and to borrow from local banks. Thus, when there is trouble, the “footloose” foreign investor gets away leaving local banks and insurances saddled with non-performing loans.

From the time of the Greek civilization, people have been lamenting over the vagaries of weather and other threats invariably faced by agriculture, which makes large scale operations a risky business. The problem is that tax concessions are being offered today to promote large- scale agriculture without the safeguards to prevent expensive failures. Even local large plantation companies are finding it difficult to operate today with all their experience, given the issues of soil depletion, non use of chemical pesticides and fertilizer and rising labour costs. Yet it seems an intrepid developer with more experience in seafaring than agriculture had demanded 40,000 acres to grow maize – (mind you he may not have heard about the fallworm crisis). Fortunately those in charge of the Mahaweli lands had allocated only 5,000 acres for a trial project but still this is hardly a good example of due diligence which should look for experience in agriculture rather than the usage of prison labour, as announced by the entrepreneur.

Before it is too late, we should learn from the experience of our neighbour India. I recall a lecture by the eminent Dr M. S. Swaminathan many years ago at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (then Sri Lanka Institute of International Relations) where he prophesied that the intensive agriculture “green revolution” would eventually render barren productive areas of their country due to heavy chemical applications degrading the soil. In India today, they are returning to traditional farming practices to revive the soil, re-foresting and trying to connect the farmer to the markets.

Instead of cattle grazing on open land, sheds are being constructed within the village and herders encouraged to bring feed to the cattle. Should we not even now look to small, smart and more sustainable practices to make small farmers more independent? Talking with farmers growing organic high value rice varieties on their lands in Wellawaya with support from Jetwing, it seems they still have faith in traditional practices, calling the mechanical harvester “boothaya” and preferring to bring down buffaloes from Bandarawela to the tractor! Bangladesh is tapping the Indian experience in elephant conservation which is a new area of their bilateral cooperation. Private sector investors in India have recently set up a hospital for treatment of sick domesticated elephants with ultra modern equipment.

Here in Sri Lanka, despite the interest of private philanthropists, the government appears unwilling to give land for an elephant sanctuary or “soft” release area for translocated bull elephants. A central question is why, as a Buddhist nation, Sri Lankans have not included into the Constitution, the protection of animals and living creatures as illustrated in every step of the Gautama Buddha’s life journey and his preachings? Even today, many proposals to strengthen the environmental safeguards and ethical treatment for animals have been sent to the Committee to prepare a new Constitution, but no one has even received an acknowledgement! By contrast, the Indian Constitution is way ahead of us, Article 51-A (g) which deals with Fundamental Duties of the citizens states: “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.”

Our land endowment also includes the small islands, over 100 around the mainland, enabling extension over expanses of territorial seas. Instead of pushing only commercial fisheries, should the government not think about declaring a marine sanctuary zone all around our island, a domestic security Zone of Peace with proper management safeguards for national land and maritime resources? Sri Lanka received too many multi-day boats after the tsunami, several of which have been converted to nefarious purposes like illicit immigration and smuggling.

Furthermore, why prioritize investment in commercial fisheries at a time when global attention is being called to clean

ing the oceans, replenishing fish stocks, restoring coral reefs and mangroves affected by rising sea waters and ocean temperature rise? Protecting our seas and coastline should be given high priority since our island is in the vicinity of some of the busiest sea lanes in the world and vulnerable to disasters such as New Diamond oil tanker which caught fire off the East Coast.

Cooperation with India has been vital in this regard throughout the years as they have access to both expertise and stocks of fire fighting foam which can be quickly deployed.

While enhancing cooperation with India in addressing marine disasters and security issues such as smuggling, illicit immigration and terrorism/criminal related activities of mutual concern, as a small state with no pretensions for offensive power projection, we should feel free to disagree with India on the imperatives of high defence spending and partnering with the US on security manoeuvres in the Indian Ocean with their latest weaponry.

The recent Malabar naval exercises by the Quad in the Bay of Bengal and naval sonars are believed to have impacted the unprecedented beaching of some 100 pilot whales in Kalutara around the same time, rescued after a marathon effort by our navy and volunteers.

(Sarala Fernando, retired from the Foreign Ministry as Additional Secretary and her last Ambassadorial appointment was as Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva. Her Ph.D was on India-Sri Lanka relations and she writes now on foreign policy, diplomacy and protection of heritage).

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