It had to begin. Most of the analysis of Shashi’s candidacy has started with the assumption that it entered into a void created by weak candidates. But now,a former Sri Lankan Assistant Foreign Secretary attacks Shashi’s candidacy in the press. We believe that this is the first time that a public figure of a country that is supporting one candidate is publicly attacking the candidacy of another.
The article asks a series of interesting questions about the problems of an Indian candidacy, for example:
Further the Hindu – Muslims riots which have become an everyday feature in India in recent times will also not lend to Islamic countries supporting the Indian nominee. Then there is the unresolved Kashmir issue; a UN Observer Mission is stationed in Kashmir; what would Tharoor’s position be if a fifth war broke out between Pakistan and India over Kashmir?
But then the real viciousness begins. First that Sri Lanka’s pride was challenged by India’s non-endorsement:
When India did not declare its support for our candidate it was perceived here as another unfriendly act; I was under the impression that we not only shared history but also have common norms, shared values and interests and considering her frequent statements regarding the close relations that exist between our two countries, (”our two countries are inseparable, your territorial integrity and ours are one” etc) to have enthusiastically supported our eminent candidate as if he was their own candidate but now we realize that India had her own agenda and the close friendship they profess to is confined to mere words.
Then he goes on to suggest that Shashi should drop out and India should back Dhanapala:
If India wishes us and the world to accept her as an emerging super power and as the regional power then she should act like one
I do hope that India would test the waters and then gracefully withdraw her candidate if there is even the smallest possibility that he would not make it. She should save herself the embarrassment of rejection by the international community.India should then support Dhanapala as a consensus South Asian candidate or is this too much to expect?
Our sense is still that Dhanapala is a failed candidate, for reasons which we have described here. But interesting nonetheless. This campaign is really entering a new stage.