By Malith Mendis 


The “Gujral Doctrine” as pronounced by former Indian Prime Minister I K Gujral in a speech made at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies on January 20 th 1997 consisted of  five points on which the Foreign policy of India was proposed to be based. The points were that first,  with  neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, India would not ask for reciprocity, but would give and accommodate what it could in good faith and trust. Second, that no South Asian country should allow its territory to be used against the interests of another country of the region. Third, that no one should interfere in the internal affairs of another. Fourth, that all South Asian countries should respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. And finally, that they should settle all their disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.   


The Sethusamudram Sea Canal project (SSCP) is a kick in the face of the Gujral Doctrine. Sri Lanka was kept in the dark until construction was about to begin. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study did not consult a main stakeholder, Sri Lanka. Hence, the EIA is fundamentally flawed. Several bilateral meetings have not yielded meaningful results. Meanwhile, India goes ahead with the project stubbornly…..

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