Fair Dinkum, an original essay, with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
In August 2022, under coercion from India, the Sri Lankan authorities denied a Chinese research vessel entry into Hambantota port for provisions and refuelling. India falsely accused the vessel of being a spy ship without a shred of evidence. China requested the Sri Lankan authorities reverse its decision and in good faith, China disclosed the activities of the ship to the Sri Lankan authorities, reassuring them the ship was not a spy ship tracking India’s intercontinental missile. Sri Lanka quickly reversed its decision, and a grand ceremony was organized to welcome the Chinese vessel and its crew with Presential staff attending, speeches, and performances of low-country dances, almost like it was the first moon-landing.
Sadly, the same mistake happened again – this time to Russia when an Aeroflot plane was seized on 2 June 2022 by the Sri Lankan authorities acting on a court order which later turned out to be based on highly erroneous claims. Within days, the court, acting on a request from the government, issued a new order allowing the plane to fly. To prevent the incident escalating into a diplomatic incident and to repair the damage caused, Sri Lanka’s transport minister travelled to Russia. He apologized and reassured the Russian government that Sri Lanka had put in place procedures to ensure that “this mistake will never happen again”.
Of course, neither of these incidents should have occurred in the first place, and it shows how easily Sri Lanka can be manipulated for geopolitical purposes, even if it is against Sri Lanka’s national interests. The Sri Lankan transport minister announced that normal commercial flights between Russia and Sri Lanka would recommence in October, which duly occurred yesterday.
Once again, as we saw with the Chinese vessel, the arrival of the Aeroflot plane yesterday was like the second moon landing in Sri Lanka. As with the Chinese crew, the Russian pilots, flight crew and passengers were treated to a rapturous welcome by a gathering of Sri Lankans applauding and garlanding the Russian crew with flowers and treating them to performances of Kandyan dancing. This paves the way for Russians tourists to start returning to Sri Lanka, and why not?
It is astonishing that Sri Lanka would fall into the trap of sabotaging its own tourist industry by preventing Russian tourists from leaving the island through a dubious court order. Russians enjoy visiting Sri Lanka for their vacation, to experience the island’s natural treasures, culture, peoples, food and to relax.
These two unfortunate attempts to prevent a vessel from China from docking and a Russian commercial airline from departing Colombo serve as a reminder to the Sri Lankan authorities to up their game to prevent foreign interference and to avoid diplomatic minefields laid on by the Indian government and Western interests who certainly did not act in the interests of Sri Lanka.
To celebrate this grand Russian moon landing in Sri Lanka, here are photos and a short film to mark the occasion.
One response to “The Russians land on the Moon in Colombo ”
I should add that as India isn’t firing intercontinental missiles, there is no need for a Chinese vessel to track something that doesn’t exist. I would have thought that obvious.