Prelims level : India and Srilanka Mains level : Challenges to Internal Security
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Why in News:

  • A series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high- end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing 290 people, including dozens of foreigners.


  • The apparently coordinated attacks were the deadliest to hit
  • the country in the decade with the end of a bloody civil war that killed up to 100,000 people and evoked painful memories for many Sri Lankans.
  • They also marked a devastating escalation of violence against the country’s Christian minority which is a such brutal effect. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the government said eight people had been arrested and investigators would look into whether the attackers had “overseas links”.
  • Sri Lanka also imposed a nationwide curfew and curbed social media access to prevent “wrong information” from spreading in the country of 21 million people. The powerful blasts six in quick succession and then two more hours later injured hundreds. At least two of them involved suicide bombers, including one who lined up at a hotel breakfast buffet before unleashing carnage. At least 156 people were killed and more than 500 other injured after six near simultaneous blasts hit three Sri Lankan churches and three five- star hotels on Easter Sunday.
  • These are the first major attacks since the end of the civil war 10 years ago.

UN Condemns Sri Lankan bombings:

  • The United Nations strongly condemned the ghastly attacks in Sri Lanka, in which over 200 people were killed, stating that the serial blasts were aimed at undermining the unity of the people.
  • “The United Nations in Sri Lanka strongly condemns the attacks against civilians carried out in places of worship and city hotels on Easter Sunday.
  • The United Nations in Sri Lanka expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families and victims as well as the government and people of Sri Lanka.
  • Attacks such as these are aimed at undermining the unity of the people of Sri Lanka, the United Nations urges authorities, and all citizens to ensure that the rule of law is upheld, human rights are protected, and security and safety is ensured for all.
  • Several countries including India, Unites States and the United Kingdom have condemned the attacks. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Special Task Force raided a house in Colombo’s Orugodawatta in connection with the blasts. Seven people were also arrested in relation to the attacks by the authorities earlier.

India Sri Lanka Relations:

  • India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour.
  • The relationship between the two countries is more than 2,500 years old and both sides have built upon a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic intercourse.
  • Relations between the two countries have also matured and diversified with the passage of time, encompassing all areas of contemporary relevance.
  • The shared cultural and civilizational heritage of the two countries and the extensive people to people interaction of their citizens provide the foundation to build a multi-faceted partnership.
  • The relationship has been marked by close contacts at the highest political level, growing trade and investment, cooperation in the fields of development, education, culture and defence, as well as a broad understanding on major issues of international interest.

Conflict Zones:

The Fishermen issue:

  • Arrest of Indian fishermen on the Sri Lankan side of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Palk Straits and the Gulf of Mannar by Sri Lankan authorities has been a long- standing problem. The catch on the Sri Lankan side is better both in terms of quality (high- value prawns) and quantity.


The Kachativu Issue:

  • Kachativu, meaning of ‘barren island’ lies about 15 km from Rameswaram and 20 km north of Neduntivu off the Jaffna peninsula and is just 1.5 km from the International Boundary Line in Sri Lankan waters after the 1974 agreement.
  • The windswept, desolate 112 hectares has very little plant or animal life. Its only man-made structure is a church, dedicated to St. Antony.
  • The Island’s importance stems from the fact that the sea around it is rich in white and brown prawns and other varieties of fish. After a good catch, fishermen from Rameswaram used to rest and dry their nets there. While Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) claimed that Kachativu belonged to it because the Portuguese and later the British rulers of Sri Lanka exercised jurisdiction over it from Colombo, India argued the island formed part of the zamin of the Raja of Ramanathapuram. Though the dispute erupted now and then in the late 1960s, it figured for the first time at the highest level when Prime Minister, Kumaratunga’s visit to New Delhi on the last week of December, 1998.

Way Forward:

  • Both countries have agreed on certain practical arrangements to deal with the issue of bonafide fishermen of either side crossing the IMBL.
  • Through these arrangements, it has been possible to deal with the issue of detention of fishermen in a humane manner. India and Sri Lanka also enjoy a growing defence relationship built on extensive training and Service-to-Service linkages. The commonality of concerns of both countries, including with respect to the safety and security of their sea lanes of communication, informs their bilateral exchanges in this field.
  • Today, the India-Sri Lanka relationship is strong and poised for a quantum jump by building on the rich legacy of historical linkages and strong economic and development partnerships that have been forged in recent years.
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