To the rescue of Sri Lanka

Published: 24th May 2016 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th May 2016 07:28 AM   |  A+A-

India’s foreign policy under the current dispensation has accorded the right priority to nurturing and improving relationships with neighbours such as Sri Lanka and Nepal. Even otherwise, India has always been proactive in providing humanitarian assistance to countries in distress, near or far, without too many policy calculations, as it ideally should be. So it is not surprising that India rushed aid to Sri Lanka which was reeling under challenges posed by floods due to depression-induced torrential rains. A Sri Lankan defence ministry press release gratefully acknowledged the arrival of two Indian naval ships laden with essential emergency relief supplies. India even pressed into service its IAF C-17 transport aircraft displaying its keenness to lend a helping hand to the island nation.

India’s swift response cannot but also be viewed in the context of the race with Pakistan, Nepal and China on disaster relief. Though India has made the right moves and gestures towards Sri Lanka, the government cannot afford to ignore the lessons from India’s disastrous engagement with Nepal during the 2015 earthquake. Indian media and Indian citizens on social media went to town trumpeting their contribution totally oblivious of the plight of the Himalayan nation in the throes of a disaster it couldn’t handle. The backlash from the people of Nepal was so strong that its tremors were felt in Delhi’s South Block. The amateurish and insensitive television and social media response was vulnerable to misinterpretation by Nepal as a reflection of Indian government’s attitude towards its small and dependent neighbour.

This time, both the government and the media have tread with caution, especially given the history of India’s relationship with Sri Lanka which is marked by challenges ranging from post-LTTE political settlement, reconciliation and reconstruction to Indian fisher folk in conflict with the Lankan navy. That’s a relief indeed, given Sri Lanka’s importance.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.