COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa has blamed India, the US and European countries for his humiliating defeat in the January election. “It was very open, Americans, the Norwegians, Europeans were openly working against me. And RAW (India’s Research Analysis Wing),” Rajapaksa told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post in an interview. “Both the US and India openly used their embassies to bring me down,” Rajapaksa said ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the country.
A media report from Colombo soon after Rajapaksa’s defeat in the January 8 election had said that a RAW official was instrumental in uniting rival political parties ? the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) ? gainst him during the polls. According to the report, the unnamed official was also asked to leave the country.
India had rejected the report saying that all the normal tenure of an Indian diplomat in Sri lanka is three years and all officials who have been transferred during last year have completed that. “It’s a normal transfer,” Ministry of external affairs spokesman had said. Rajapaksa, who was defeated by his ex-aide Maithripala Sirisena, at that time had said that he did not know all the facts.
In his interview to the Post yesterday Rajapaksa said “I asked the Indians, ‘Why are you doing this? It’s an open secret what you are doing’. I had assured them that I would never allow the Sri Lankan soil to be used against any friendly country, but they had other ideas,” he said. He also defended Chinese infrastructure projects which were started in the country during his regime.
Asked if the docking of two Chinese submarines in Sri Lanka last year had raised India’s hackles, Rajapaksa said: “whenever Chinese submarines come to this part of the world, they always inform India. “The Chinese president was here, so the subs were here. Find out how many Indian submarines and warships came to our waters when the Indian prime minister came for the SAARC South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit [in 2008],” he said. During a visit to Beijing last month, Sri Lanka’s new Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the docking of a Chinese submarine at Colombo harbour coincided with the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Sri Lankan capital and the new government will not allow foreign submarines to use the Island’s ports.
Rajapaksa also told the Post that Lanka’s new government is being unfair to China by unnecessarily dragging it into domestic politics. “They should be thankful to China for the help they extended; instead these people are treating China like a criminal,” he said.