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Game of Thrones: Local Opposition Creates Problems for India


India’s latest attempts to remain the preeminent force in South Asia have been put in jeopardy by its own politicians. The Madras High Court has filed a public interest litigation to cancel the central government’s proposal to sell two warships to Sri Lanka. J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu wrote a letter to the prime minister, urging him to cancel the deal immediately.

This litigation complicates India’s attempts to woo Sri Lanka in order to counter China’s increasing presence in India’s neighborhood. In a recent 2-day visit to Sri Lanka, the Indian minister for External Affairs presided over agreements to build a power plant, exchange fishermen that have been caught by the coast guards, and the sale of two Indian warships.

Tamil Nadu, which has close affinity to the Tamils of Sri Lanka, has been incensed by the Sri Lankan government ever since their bloody crackdown on the LTTE, a banned Tamil liberation outfit, in 2009. Since then, Jayalalithaa has been trying to block any overtures by the central government towards Sri Lanka, including a request to boycott the approaching Commonwealth summit that is to be held in Colombo. This complicates India’s positioning vis-à-vis China.

The inevitable consequence of being the world’s largest democracy is that domestic politics sometimes overrules foreign policy considerations.

[Image of Indian Flag from Shutterstock]

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  • Andrew Allison

    In what way have US domestic policies overruled foreign policy? Nor specifically, when in recent history has a US State challenged national foreign policy?

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