ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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War and Peace in Sri Lanka-Government s Reform Proposals and Beyond

Government's Reform Proposals and Beyond Sumantra Bose THE constitutional reform proposals presented by the Chandrika Kumaratunga government have been broadly welcomed in Sri Lanka, India and internationally. This generally positive response is in itself not unexpected or inexplicable. When one of the parties to a seemingly intractable and interminable civil war, which has exacted a horrifying human toll, finally puts forward a detailed blueprint for a political resolution of the stalemated crisis, a certain level of optimism is neither avoidable nor unwarranted. Yet it might be prudent to temper that optimism with a good measure of circumspection and even a sizeable dose of scepticism. First of all, there is the perhaps unfortunate but nonetheless inescapable reality that any peace process' in Sri Lanka that does not involve the participation, in a central role, of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is likely to remain an exercise in futility. The relapse into massive violence that has followed the breakdown of the ceasefire on April 19 is a maximally unfavourable context for peace-making efforts of any kind. Prospects of a change for the better in the foreseeable future appear dim, since both belligerents seem committed for the time being to a trial of military strength.

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