Special Correspondent

If rulers feel Army can win the war, says expert

  • Tremendous expansion of economic ties between India and U.S.
  • Both countries should not have "exaggerated and unrealistic expectations,"
  • Tremendous expansion of economic ties between India, U.S.

    CHENNAI: The move to change aspects of the Constitution in Sri Lanka might not get enough attention if there was a general feeling among those in power in the island nation that its Army could perhaps win the war, according to South Asia expert Teresita C. Schaffer.

    "My occasional discussions with visiting Sri Lankans in Washington has left me with the impression that on the military side there is a sense that perhaps this time the Sri Lankan Army can win," said Ms. Schaffer, Head, South Asia Programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC.

    If this was true, then "nobody can be blamed for not paying enough attention to constitutional changes."

    At present, the Sri Lankan Government's political strategy appeared to be to increase its majority in Parliament so that it was more secure. "It appears to me to be the right strategy," said Ms. Schaffer, who has served as United States Ambassador in Sri Lanka.

    She was talking at a roundtable at the Centre for Security Analysis here on Thursday.

    On Indo-U.S. relations, a topic on which she said she was planning to write a book, she said that in the past 16 years there was a tremendous expansion of economic relations between the two countries.

    Warning India and the U.S. against harbouring "exaggerated and unrealistic expectations," she said both Governments had "done a great deal of work" to put up the "bilateral infrastructure." But they were yet to articulate their vision of the world though there were some areas where their ideas ran parallel and others where there was a divergence.

    The fact that India and the U.S. were rooted in democracy and the suspicion on China were factors that fuelled the bilateral relationship.