Sri Lanka’s recently elected prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, received a warm welcome in New Delhi. He has long been regarded as a friendly statesman, sensitive to India’s national security interests. He had also shown courage in seeking to build bridges with the estranged Tamil minority in the island’s northern and eastern provinces.
During his second tenure as prime minister, Wickremesinghe concluded a ceasefire agreement and commenced negotiations with the LTTE, which were called off by Velupillai Prabhakaran, who appeared determined to undertake a fight to the finish. This decision by Prabhakaran was suicidal. It ultimately led to the defeat of the LTTE and his own elimination in a bloody conflict, which pitted him against the no less determined and single-minded president, Mahinda Rajapaksa.