From Rotary Peace Wiki
/* Myth or Reality? Reconciliation in Sri Lanka */
Influential State Actors. Sri Lanka’s northern neighbor, India, is a key player in the security environment and its foreign policy. It was reported that by Rao that “India views itself as a security manager of South Asia” <ref>Rao R, V. (1988). “Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka: India’s Role and Perception”, Asian Survey 28, No.4, p419.</ref> and also since Sri Lanka is also home to a Tamil population under distress – this gives India a further impetus to be “involved” and to become a stakeholder. Separately, there is a possibility of LTTE revival despite its crackdown because of the “divide and rule” approach that the current Sri Lankan government is adopting. The level of armed conflict cannot be discounted even though the level of violence among ethnic groups has generally decreased in the past two years. The availability of small arms after the “war” has resulted in an excess of weapons, which it falls into the hands of armed groups, could restart armed conflict again within the country. Nevertheless, India continues to remain as Sri Lanka’s leading trading partner despite their mutual distrust. On its foreign policy with other countries, Sri Lanka has adopted a paradigm shift<ref>Under the Rajapaksa administration, three main elements of new foreign policy are outlined: (1) Sri Lanka is a non-aligned country and will maintain friendly relations with other countries (2) Sri Lanka has shifted the focus of its foreign policy from the US and EU to countries in the region (3) Sri Lanka maintains special relations with India to maintain consistency in its security concerns (limited external self-determination).</ref> with a stronger focus on countries in the region despite wanting to “re-win” the support of the West especially on the areas of economics and trade.
Ethnic Groups. Sri Lanka has been involved in ethnic conflict since the country became independent from the British rule in 1948. Its main ethnic population as of 2011 is as follows: Sinhalese (73.8 percent) and the Sri Lanka Moor (7.2 percent) and Tamils who make up 8.5 percent. The long and bitter civil war arising from ethnic tensions between the majority of Sinhalese and Tamil minority in the northeast has scarred Sri Lanka for decades. Historically, Sinhala nationalism was a key factor and serves as a barrier to the peaceful resolution of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.<ref>When the British was in power decades ago, the majority Buddhist Sinhalese resented they saw as “British Favoritism”, which fanned flames of ethnic division and civil war that erupted in the 1980s against Tamils who were pressing for independence.</ref>