ECONOMYNEXT — The National People’s Power (NPP) cannot be bought by any foreign power or corporation and their recent visit to India does not mean the leftist alliance now supports an investment by India’s Amul or the divestment of Sri Lanka Telecom, according to NPP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.
Speaking at a women’s rally held in Anuradhapura on Sunday February 11, Dissanayake was emphatic that the NPP’s policies have not changed following his widely publicised visit to India on the invitation of the Indian government.
News of Dissanayake meeting India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and representatives of Tata and the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation of India (Amul) made headlines in Colombo.
The NPP, an alliance led and controlled by the Marxist-Leninist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) that Dissanayake also leads, had been vocal in its opposition to proposed plans to divest shares of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), which at least one Indian firm has expressed interest in, and purported plans to sell Milco, Highland and 31 dairy farms owned by the National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) to Amul.
Historically, the JVP has also been critical of what it once called “Indian expansionism”, particularly at the height of the second violent insurrection the party led in Sri Lanka’s south in the late 1980s, which led to thousands of deaths as the then United National Party (UNP) government sought to quell it by any means necessary.
“We have a strong foreign policy,” said Dissanayake speaking at Sunday’s event.
“We’re small people, but no powerful nation or corporation can buy us. Just because Mahinda was bought, we can’t be bought.
“We said in India that the world has changed and we have changed along with it. India’s foreign minister said yes, India has also changed with the world.”
The JVP leader scoffed at comments on social media that the party is about to change its tune on Indian investments in the country.
“Some are saying after we went to India that we will support the sale of Telecom or support Amul. No, that will not happen, remember that.
“We will under nocircumstances mix up our dealing with foreign countries and meeting their leaders with a national economic policy,” he said.
Dissanayake said the party’s approach to foreign relations is to first formulate a national economic policy and then formulate a foreign policy to secure the international support needed to fortify that economic policy.
“That is our objective,” he said.
Dissanayake also accused President Ranil Wickremesinghe of alleged attempts to cancel the presidential election that’s due to be held this year.
“He’s trying various tactics to not have the election. There is definitely going to be a presidential election before October 17 this year.
“They’re forming all sorts of alliances under various names. [Former president] Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge has become a party leader once again in 2024. Why? They’re panicking.
“This is the Maha season. By the time of the Yala harvest, there will be a new government,” he said. (Colombo/Feb12/2024)