Economics of Ethnic Peace: Lessons for Countries Like Sri Lanka

Ethnic tension is a dormant spark that awaits fuelling in multi-ethnic societies. It is all too well known how ethnic conflicts, once ignited, engulf and destroy peaceful lives, scar ethnic relationships over many generations and become hard to contain without mammoth efforts.

There is a large literature that focuses on ethnic conflicts and wars. There is, however, not much discussion on how to sustain ethnic peace partly because the countries that have ethnic peace just seem to take it for granted. It is important to note, however, that when ethnic peace breaks down and escalates into an ethnic war, the war may gain its own momentum and continue for reasons unrelated to the initial causes of the conflict. Even if such a war comes to an end through some interventions, there is no guarantee that lasting ethnic peace will emerge if the necessary conditions for peace are absent.

Our interest on this topic was generated by the experience of Malaysia and Sri Lanka which have practiced ethnic preference policies. Many countries, including developed ones, have put in place affirmative action plans to redress some disparities that were created by historical circumstances. If the outcome is not Pareto improving (i.e., make the targeted group better off without making other groups worse off) they become discriminatory.

Although Sri Lanka’s ethnic preference policies were mild relative to Malaysia and Sri Lanka had a head-start in terms of socio-economic development, Sri Lanka failed to sustain ethnic peace and got embroiled in a crippling separatist war that came to surface in 1983. Malaysia, on the other hand, has so far managed ethnic peace reasonably well. In fact, anyone predicting the ethnic future of the two countries would have predicted a more turbulent ethnic climate for Malaysia than that for Sri Lanka.

A careful examination of the policies and performance of the two countries point in the direction that it was the open economy that helped Malaysia move forward despite the constant presence of ethnic tension in the country, and it was the closed economy (import substitution) policies that paved the way for the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Poverty and relative deprivation became a breeding ground for both communist and ethnic rebellions in Sri Lanka. Armed communist uprising in Sri Lanka occurred in 1971. This created precedence for the ethnic rebellion. Although Sri Lanka embarked on a private-sector driven open-economy policy in 1977 and repealed many discriminatory policies, it came too late for the country; the ethnic tension had already given way to the formation of rebellion groups.

Sustaining ethnic peace is a constant challenge that policy makers have to grapple with, even in developed countries. Getting good and strong leaders to set every thing right is a cry one could hear around the developing world. Since such a dream is far from reality in general, an important question to raise is: “is there a mechanism that will help improve the quality of the leaders and their governance, provide higher growth, and pave the way for ethnic peace.”

Openness to foreign trade and investment appears to be one such mechanism. Obviously this alone is not sufficient. As pointed out in the 2008 Growth Report by the Nobel Laureate Michael Spence good governance and political stability were very important contributors to the success stories in the report. The experience shows, however, that even the most promising leaders in closed economies have failed to bring about the changes they desired because of over-powering bureaucracies. The leaders who have succeeded in opening the economies have managed to create, perhaps slowly, more responsible bureaucracies. In other words, openness acts as a disciplining force on the government and bureaucracy. Once set in motion, openness appears to generate a sustaining feedback loop between government policies and the country’s socio-economic environment that will bring about economic growth and ethnic peace. Policy makers in this setting are more likely to implement socio-economic policies that harness ethnic peace and share the growth dividends.

It is also in the self interest of the government officials to pursue growth and peace enhancing policies because prosperity opens up avenues to enhance their own wealth accumulation through legal means instead of resorting to corruptive means that often happen in closed economies. As the economic well being improves across the ethnic groups, the opportunity cost of rebellious activities increases. Moreover, as the standard of living improves, the demand for democracy increases and the political institutions may become more and more democratic. This allows for increased political participation and, therefore, channeling grievances into non-confrontational forums. Overall, the probability of sustaining ethnic peace is likely to increase substantially in an open economy. In other words, the value the minority group attaches to political independence is likely to decrease substantially.

To assess these ideas further Nava Ravi Kumaran and I formulated an econometric model representing growth, quality of governance, and ethnic conflict as interdependent variables. To estimate the model we created a panel data set by collecting data on a number of relevant variables over 1980-2000 for 12 multi-ethnic developing countries. In this dataset we used a number of indices developed by others to represent variables such as openness, quality of governance, democracy, and ethno-linguistic fractionalization. In particular, the index of openness we used represent the legal and institutional framework that the policy makers have put in place to facilitate economic openness.

The results show, after controlling for the effect of a number of other variables, a strong and robust positive effect of openness on growth and quality of governance and a negative effect on ethnic conflict. While growth and quality of governance re-enforce each other they both reduce the probability of an ethnic conflict. In other words, as the economies become more and more open, it can create a self-sustaining feedback mechanism that uplift the income levels, improves the quality of governance and increases the probability of sustaining ethnic peace.

Concurring with the findings of others we also find that fragile democracies are not so conducive to sustaining ethnic peace. Authoritarian states and well developed democracies are better in doing this. This means that the political leaders of fragile democracies have to set their short-term petty politics aside and work out a national agenda of policies that needs to be adhered to regardless which party is in power.

21 Responses to "Economics of Ethnic Peace: Lessons for Countries Like Sri Lanka"

  1. Guest   January 15, 2009 at 10:46 am

    It was that fucking Indhira Ghandi did all this ham to Sri Lanka.

    • Anonymous   January 16, 2009 at 4:18 am

      By using offensive and vulgar language,the message you set out to achieve became offensive like the proverbial “cow-dung in the milk” no one would want to pick it up.Young people read these columns and standards of decency must be maitained,please. Thank You, Concerned Sri Lankan

  2. Guest   January 15, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    You spell Gandhi correctly first. She did the correct thing – through whatever mirror you look at it.

    • Outsider   January 15, 2009 at 2:20 pm

      “You spell Gandhi correctly first. She did the correct thing – through whatever mirror you look at it.”You probably don’t know what Mrs Gandhi was trying to do.30 years ago the world was very different.Prime Minister Indira Gandhi trained, armed, and financed several anti-Sri Lankan groups by exploiting Tamil sentiments in both Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu to get back at JRJ’s American leaning government in Sri Lanka.The LTTE was the most fanatical group that cannibalized on all other Tamil groups until it became the ‘sole representative of the Tamils’.That is hardly the right thing by anyone, by whatever moral relativity you seem to imply.RAW (the external intelligence agency of India) practically guided brutal attacks on innocent Sinhalese civilians to encourage a backlash against Tamils.That can hardly be wise, and not just immoral.

  3. Guest   January 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    In 1977 Tamils were relatively well educated and wealthy. Poverty or illiteracy were not the reasons for the Tamil rebellion.When pre-colonial nationalism is evoked in post-colonial states, the very survival of one or more ethnic groups becomes uncertain.For the Tamils, “opportunity cost” of rebellion was very high.But took hold because the very survival of the Tamil community was threatened by resurgent Sinhala nationalism and its resultant activities such as Sinhala Only, prominence to Buddhism, name change to Sri Lanka, ect.,

    • Ajith   January 16, 2009 at 2:40 am

      Sounds very funny that the renaming “ceylon” – (a foreign name) to “sri lanka” angers tamils, or prominance to Buddhism (- meaning everyone is equal, one becomes low caste only by his own acts, not by birth) or Sinhala only act -( must be taken in context, as a balancing act to give the suffering sinhala masses then considered pariahs in their own country, just because they didn’t speak the invaders language, a kind of a relief). Tamils were over represented in public jobs or education or high posts just because they collaborated with the “evil” colonialism. But tamil became an official language later, so the terrorism hasn’t got much to do with it. Racial fanatism is the most relevant reason IMHO.

  4. Outsider   January 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Yes, there is such a thing as too much democracy.Everyone in Sri Lanka is too preoccupied with the next elections. The opposition is just their to oppose everything the legitimate government of the country does. They even go as far as to make deals with the country’s sworn enemies, just to bring down the other party a tiny bit.We should wonder how small and poor countries can afford democracy. It seems democracy works only in rich European countries.LTTE is supported by the Tamil Diaspora, but its most effective advocates are the misguided officials of the Royal Government of Norway and a few other European capitals.This is what propaganda does. The rich North is riding its luxuriously adorned moral hobby horse, while third world country is struggling to stand on its feet.What a mess.

  5. Outsider   January 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    “You spell Gandhi correctly first. She did the correct thing – through whatever mirror you look at it.”You probably don’t know what Mrs Gandhi was trying to do. She trained, armed, and financed several anti-Sri Lankan groups by exploiting Tamil sentiments in both Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. The LTTE was the most fanatical group that cannibalized on all other Tamil groups until it became the ‘sole representative of the Tamils’.That is hardly the right thing by anyone, by whatever moral relativity you seem to imply.RAW (the external intelligence agency of India) practically guided brutal attacks on innocent Sinhalese civilians to encourage a backlash against Tamils.That can hardly be wise, and not just immoral.

  6. peace   January 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    On this special day of hope, Sri Lanka need to restore freedom and democracy in full measure to the North of the country.the time for the liberation to all brothers and sisters as citizens of Sri Lanka as strive to restore freedom and democracy in full measure to the North of country.Thai Pongal which falls on the first day of the month of Thai has a hallowed tradition as a festival of the Sun that is the source of good harvests, and a harvest festival that celebrates the rewards reaped by the hard work of cultivators.“The celebrations of Thai Pongal emphasize the plurality of our society of Sri Lanka demonstrate the ties to their rich cultural heritage. The spirit of revival arid rededication that is part of this festival looks to the future with great hope and expectation of peace, harmony and understanding in our society.“On this Thai Pongal Festival thoughts go out specially, On this special day of hope, glad to assure that the time for the liberation of all brothers and sisters as citizens, to restore freedom and democracy in full measure to the North of our country.wish you all happy Thai Pongal and together with them pray for peace, prosperity and greater trust and understanding among all people in the coming year”.

    • Anonymous   January 16, 2009 at 5:48 am

      Whilst in reality religious differences have never been a divisive factor in Sri Lanka those who have set out to exploit the misfortune that befell us Sri Lankans have consistently endeavoured to keep the religious issue in the forefront,probably to achive their own mischievous expansionist ends.It is now an opportune time to pursue and strengthen the common thread of spirituality that binds the Sinhalese and Tamil communities to ensure long lasting peace.It is time to exploit the things that unite us and wisely reject and discard the things that divide us and those who are trying to do it as well.Let us strive to follow teachings based on Unity Of Faiths founded on Human Values of Truth,Righteousness,Love,Peace and Compassion.After all is it not the common belief of both the Buddhists and Hindus and one would assume the followers of all other great religious teachers, that greed and desire is the root cause of all evil.Any plan for reconciliation sans a place for developing our common Spirituality and teaching and practice of Human Values,as opposed to the so called meaningless,Chritian,Buddhist,Muslim,Hindu etc.,values, is unlikely to produce any durable solution.Sri lankan for Unity.

  7. peace   January 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    On this special day of hope, Sri Lanka need to restore freedom and democracy in full measure to the North of the country.the time for the liberation to all brothers and sisters as citizens of Sri Lanka as strive to restore freedom and democracy in full measure to the North of country.Thai Pongal which falls on the first day of the month of Thai has a hallowed tradition as a festival of the Sun that is the source of good harvests, and a harvest festival that celebrates the rewards reaped by the hard work of cultivators.“The celebrations of Thai Pongal emphasize the plurality of our society of Sri Lanka demonstrate the ties to their rich cultural heritage. The spirit of revival arid rededication that is part of this festival looks to the future with great hope and expectation of peace, harmony and understanding in our society.“On this Thai Pongal Festival thoughts go out specially, On this special day of hope, glad to assure that the time for the liberation of all brothers and sisters as citizens, to restore freedom and democracy in full measure to the North of our country.wish you all happy Thai Pongal and together with them pray for peace, prosperity and greater trust and understanding among all people in the coming year”.

  8. Siri   January 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    To assess these ideas further Nava Ravi Kumaran and I formulated an econometric model representing growth, quality of governance, and ethnic conflict as interdependent variables on openness, quality of governance, democracy, and ethno-linguistic fractionalization!I just cant imagime how this model is going to explain any thing! Because growth by definition is alos a function of earnings, expenditure and savings in any economy! Unless these important variables are taken in to the model you just cannot say much about growth!Of course if you want to, predermined, you can use all sorts of number crunching methods to prove what you havebben wanting to do so! No need of any economic or statistical concepts needed to be used particularly when you want write this kind cheap stuff for the “Gallery”. It is only “bull shitting” to please those who want to get pleased not matter what the logic of the whole analysis is based on!

    • Guest   January 16, 2009 at 9:08 am

      RE: Of course if you want to, predermined, you can use all sorts of number crunching methods to prove what you havebben wanting to do soVery true, and the best example of that is the mythical Purely Tamil State of Ealam.The invented history of Ealam proves that you don’t need facts as long as you hold on to imaginary grievances, even when you secretly know your grievance is shared by everyone.Only in Sri Lanka can a jealous dominant minority (within a minority) can create something like the “Global Tamil Ealam Suicide Project” to destroy its own people.And do all that basically out of spite towards the stupid and gullible Sinhalese! What a waste of good lives!

  9. Anonymous   January 18, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    First of all tamils are original inhabitants of SriLanka while Chinese and Indians in Malaysia are brought in by British and Chinese were given priorities in businesses by British as they are smart, hardworking and cunning.Only Indians are suffering in Malaysia.(All poor people of all races)Tamil is the oldest language and it was maintained by with heavy resistance by others who want to destroy Tamil language and Tamilian.A Leader like Prabaharan who after Cholas become the challenger to oppressor and fighting just rights for NE Sri Lankan Tamils, the rights the lost to Singalese because of the British and inability of earlier tamil leaders.Further Malays never destroy the Ecomic empire of Chinese like what Sinhalese are doing in SriLanka.

    • Anonymous   January 19, 2009 at 8:01 am

      Here we go.Another bullshit argument from a foreign Tamil with a victim complex.You are the real racist that you think everyone else is.You are still worshipping Prabhakaran. He killed far more Tamils in cold blood than anyone else in last several hundred years.Why blame everyone else.The world is not anti-Tamil. Nobody is going to kill 1 crore Tamils even if they try.We can’t solve our problems by segregation in today’s world.Grow up. Wipe hatred from your eyes.If you can’t like your neighbors at least learn to tolerate them.

      • Anonymous   January 19, 2009 at 8:15 am

        Want to correct above. 10 crore Tamils worldwide.Also to add.Vast majority of Tamils live peacefully everywhere they go.But this small racist minority, like the privileged Tamils in Sri Lanka, pollutes the very water they live in with their poisonous ideas about racial superiority and sense of entitlement.Today Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.Tomorrow who knows.Malaysia, Singapore, Norway, Canada: beware the deluded Tamil racists that bite the very hand that feeds them.

  10. Guest   January 23, 2009 at 4:37 am

    Those places in the world that have ethnic peace are the places where the economic haves versus have-nots divide does not run along lines of religion or race. Strife is absent where there is economic/material wealth equality of man without respect to race or religion. ALL wars are economic inequality wars.

    • Guest   February 18, 2009 at 8:24 am

      I agree. But Sri Lanka is a funny country. You may not know this, but minorities on average are better off when it comes to economic power, particularly in Colombo. Tamil, Muslim, Christian etc. dominate certain businesses and nobody has a problem with that. The fact that nobody talks about this makes you wonder what is really behind the problems in Sri Lanka.

  11. Anonymous   February 28, 2009 at 3:33 am

    “Is democracy dangerous in multi-ethnic societies?”, Michael Deibert/IPS, Interview withProf Frances Stewart, Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity(CRISE), University of Oxford, 3 July 2008: : ‘’Horizontal inequalities put people into groups and look at how unequal those groups are. ….. Horizontal inequalities have political, economic, social and cultural dimensions… Inequalities in political power, which are very important, where one group may have total dominance of the political system, and another group does not have any access, which is the situation in Sri Lanka. ….”

  12. Anonymous   February 28, 2009 at 3:44 am

    1.Many in the South know the ‘fortunate’ Tamils in the South. If they go to Northeast they will know hardly any government investment(in education, health, economic development) reach it – that is horizontal inequality.2.Petty politics about the consolidaton of supporters and next elections certainly means absence of good governance. That is also how Northeast has been getting excluded.3.Thank you Tilak for writing this article.

  13. J Jayman, Asst. Prof. (Res), Binghamton University   March 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you for a most interesting post, Dr. Abeysinghe. I find the results interesting, even if I contest them in explaining the conflict in Sri Lanka and why there is no conflict in Malaysia. As you know, in social science it is the disagreements that are more interesting as they offer points of departure for more research. I trust you will take my public comments in this spirit.Dr. Abeysinghe you are making the case that an “econometric model representing growth, quality of governance, and ethnic conflict as interdependent variables” covers all the main variables for Malaysia and Sri Lanka at least, as that is your original puzzle. However, I find the model you present to be flawed particularly in your choice of variables. You have two inappropriate independent variables (good governance is actually a dependent variable, while ethnic conflict needs to be justified in both Malaysia and Sri Lanka as really being conflict amongst two or more peoples, as was the case in the Balkans). And, you have two key independent variables missing: first, leadership of the minorities that drove the vile politics of the 1950s and beyond, and secondly major power intervention by India, both of which are independent in nature, at least in terms of how they manifest independently of other variables you seek to explain, thus avoiding tautology).Let me deal with the variables your study selected one by one.(1) Economic growth as variable makes sense by any count, and I applaud its prominence. However the idea that open economies induce sustainable growth in Malaysia to overcome conflict is rather suspect, and is actually now proved wrong despite the claims of neo-liberal theory. Indeed, increased openness to the global economy will have reverse effects in small states when there are cyclical down turns or crises in the rich export and migratory labor markets. On the foreign direct investment (FDI) and capital mobility side, more openness is not necessarily good. Most of the cases of claimed “openness” among post colonial states are in Eastern Asia. However, more serious study suggests two realities: strong states governing markets accompanied by a strong interest by the US and Japan in their success, thus allowing for export-led ‘miracles’ that only suffered badly when they fully opened up as with the origns of the 1997-98 Asian Crisis. Malaysia survived the crisis due to strong state intervention supported by Japanese transfers in the billions of USD. What other cases of “openness” are there? In Africa? Which states are open leading to less ethicized politics? Not even in Ghana and Uganda the poster children of the IMF and World Bank can claim this. Latin America? Openness in Chile (the Latin American darling of the Washington Consensus) was imposed with severe implications for indigenous non-Europeans who lost their water ways, land, etc. Then openness to US capital led to the conflict between the indigenous peoples and the comprador class in Mexico leading to the Chiapas confrontation. Your general conclusion is thus inconsistent with the empirical evidence. So, here I will agree with the variable of economics being important, but I will question the veracity of the policy prescription of “open” economies as the analysis is fatally flawed in view of the empirical evidence that suggest more openess leads to conflict.(2) “Quality of governance” as an independent variable also makes sense on first glance with reams of publications on this nowadays after the “end of history” thesis. But, what makes for good governance? It is simply good choices/practices made by governments as opposed to bad ones, as you seem to imply? If so, your model will fail as it will have failed to account for history and the development of certain politics that underlies the development of that particular governance result in the first place. That is governance decisions take place in a particular social, political and economic context and it born of it as a dependent variable. Thus notions of good governance are simply an indicator that is largely indicative of the surrounding failures than a cause of these failures. On this score I will suggest it is of no use in your study, offering no independent explanatory power about why there is conflict there in Sri Lanka or less conflict in Malaysia. Indeed, as your findings suggest, Sri Lanka had the better governance, while Malaysia was much more draconian with its barring of Chinese Malaysians from the formal economy, including in the ownership of land. Beyond this, much of the good governance literature features the importance of democracy and representation, while coercion is not really very welcome: yet it was the more coercive Malaysia despite of its more numerous Chinese populations (over 30%) that did better, compared to Sri Lanka with its more empowered Tamil population of only 12%. Quality of governance certainly does not explain why there was war in Sri Lanka over the 1980s and beyond, and not in Malaysia of the 1970s and beyond.(3) Then we have the most interesting “variable” you introduce: “ethnic conflict.” In studies focus on causality, this is usually a dependent variable for some or an independent one for others, depending on whether one places more emphasis on culture or economics as being determining. That is for those who see economic disparities as root cause, ethnic conflict is a dependent variable. And, for those who see ethnic conflict as natural see economic disparity is a result. You are not clear what your take here is, but I suspect you take ethnic conflict as a given, thus lending to its defacto independent variable status. Here, I find your focus on ethnic conflict as an independent variable puzzling, as it is deterministic and not applied to Sri Lanka’s actual situation. For the Balkans this made sense: it was indeed ethnic conflict as citizen neighbors who lived on the same street went to war on opposing sides with devastating consequences, as in Sarajevo. It is the case in Sri Lanka? Certainly, not. The Pogrom of 1983 was organized by elements of the UNP, and not by Sinhalese as an ethnic group by any stretch of the imagination. Of the over 200,000 Tamils living in Colombo, approximately 3000 died, consistent with the terror unleashed by a small cabal in the city, while the majority of Sinhalese and Moor neighbors helped their Tamil neighbors escape. Indeed the empirical evidence is one of ethnic amity despite deep provocation: people in Sri Lanka were kind to each other consistent with the culture. The numerous attacks on Sinhalese and Moor and other people by the LTTE over the 1980s, 1990s and in this present decade were not seen as Tamil attacks: there is not one accusation on these lines I have read from anyone serious. Sri Lanka was never like the Balkans, where ethnic groups attacked other ethnic groups. I see here that you have a variable that is a bad fit as you make a category error in lumping tensions, conflict and war together. My critique runs counter to the popular narrative for certain, but I am consistent with the data and careful with taxonomy, theory and method: I am thus deeply skeptical of ‘ethnic’ ticking bombs, where there are none.What then would capture that ‘ethnic’ tension in Sri Lankan politics that many have misdiagnosed as ‘ethnic conflict’? To answer that, I have to suggest that here you misunderstand Malaysia, and with it why your model fails in Malaysia. You overlook the error by making the wrong case that ethnic conflict there was contained by an open economy. This flies in the face of history. There was conflict that was quelled by the British and the Royal Malay Regiment among others. There were subsequent anti-Chinese riots in 1969, as that community gained the commanding heights of the economy. Yet, it stopped there due to the new pragmatism of the Chinese leadership, which saw challenging the majority for power frontally as with Lee Kuan Yew or the communist insurgency before, was not in their self interest, and so with a grand coalition with UMNO, they crafted a policy of growing the pie aided by massive Japannese investment.It is the leadership of the minorities that is one key that is missing in your study. In Malaysia, the Chinese Malaysians were led by keen pragmatists, while in Sri Lanka the Tamils were led by those increasingly committed to violence, and indeed a form of LTTE barbarism unseen in Asia since Pol Pot genocide. While leadership by the likes of Chelvanayagam and Bandaranaike accounts for ethnic tension, it doe not account for war between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government.What does account for war is external influence. In Malaysia the 1950 counter insurgency was largely seen as a one that was focused on Chinese Malaysians influenced by Mao’s communism. Malaysia solved it high growth curve with the aid of Japan. In the 1980s and beyond the war in Sri Lanka with the LTTE was influenced by the Indian hand of RAW that was confirmed when Rajiv Gandhi was murdered. Sri Lanka is being helped by Japan right now…In my view these are roots of Sri Lanka’s current conflict, and all have to be solved for long term gains:1. poverty and lack of opportunity in a post colonial context of divide and rule.2. leadership that had not faced an ethicized civil war, and thus willing to manipulate the masses with ethnic and other emotional issues.3. the role of India in the region: New Delhi had intervened in every state on its borders, having only been beaten by China and constrained by Pakistan.On the first, we are all waiting for economists to shed their Chicago straight jackets and engage the real economy every where. I suspect the lessons of success in China, India and Brazil will all point to the essential import-substitution industrialization as a necessary stage before more market friendly economics. These countries did not just follow the market to get there, and neither did Malaysia, or any of the Asian Tigers in their Flying Geese formation.On my second point, I think the lessons are being learned. Anandasangaree is aware of the futility of war as is Rajapaksa on its costs. Time will tell if the people will make the right choice. The UNP needs to be more vibrant and open, and the SLFP needs to be willing to have change when the time comes for succession to another generation of new politicians. The new generation of Sajith Premadasa and others will have know the pains of war, and have been educated enough to see that being part of the international community is important. The problem remains how these leaders will compromise for a proper constitution that will assure all citizens.On my third point, I think New Delhi bears watching, but by and large Indian self-interest is in a united Sri Lanka that is pro-India with no bases for China’s coming blue water navy in Hambantota. A divided Sri Lanka with Eelam is a threat to India, as it will open Pandora’s Box of regional tensions within with conflict already over resources such water. Besides, the ego driven politics of the Nehru dynasty is gone for the moment, and the Indian public are enamored by the toughness of smiling Sri Lankans conveyed via the soft power of cricket that serves the apt metaphor for the nation’s unity in adversity.While I have been critical of your paper, I think overall, your study has opened a discussion on the causality of conflict in Sri Lanka in a deeper manner than is available via the public survey driven work on ‘ethnic studies’. I thus welcome your sober attempt to understand a complex problem. More scholars should follow your lead in making sense of what happened in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, and post them.Best wishes.J. A. Jayman