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/* 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>
LTTE and its Remnants. Founded in 1972, the LTTE is a Non-state Armed Group that has lasted nearly three decades that wanted an independent state for the island’s Tamil minority. It used to operate like a military with a small number of aircrafts and marine fleet with Special Forces used for suicide bombing missions and other terrorist acts<ref>The LTTE was previously known for employing female suicide bombers to infiltrate into official strongholds to carry out suicide attacks against Sri Lankan government officials.</ref> It was defeated in May 2009 by government military forces and killed its leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran. While the LTTE is now defeated, it is conceivable that its remnants may launch guerilla-type attacks on the country, and re-activate propaganda activities to revive defeated LTTE diasporas within the region.
The Military. Sri Lanka’s military has taken over the reconstruction of the Northern Province, which reportedly contributed to “weakening international humanitarian efforts and worsening tensions with the ethnic Tamil majority”.<ref>International Crisis Group - Asia Report. “Sri Lanka’s North II: Rebuilding under the Military”.</ref> Many Tamils in Sri Lanka view the military negatively and feel that they impose Sinhala and Buddhist cultures across the country. The purpose of military was primarily to protect against the renewal of violent conflict. However, it was reported to be “deepening the alienation and anger of northern Tamils and threatening sustainable peace”.<ref>Ibid.</ref>
International NGOs. Some international donors have supported Sri Lanka via donations and humanitarian aid to support its development and reconstruction efforts. Nevertheless, NGOs have also accused both the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE of engaging in widespread human rights abuses and the use of child soldiers.<ref>Jayshree Bajoria, “The Sri Lankan Conflict”. Council on Foreign Relations, dated 18 May 2009.</ref> In 2007, the Human Rights Watch released a report that highlighted alleged atrocities from both sides. On the same note, Amnesty International made similar conclusions in their 2011 report on the Failures of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission<ref>Amnesty International, “When will they get Justice? Failures of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” dated 2011.</ref>whose mandate and methods cast serious doubt on Sri Lanka’s approach to their “willingness to uncover what really happened in those fateful months”.<ref>Darusman, M, Ratner, S and Sooka, Y. “Revisiting Sri Lanka’s Bloody War”. The New York Times, dated 2 March 2012.</ref>