India, Sri Lanka and Maldives: Shared Commonality yet Challenges to Sub-regional Cooperation
India, Sri Lanka and Maldives: Shared Commonality yet Challenges to Sub-regional Cooperation in Venugopal B. Menon and Joshy M. Paul, Eds., Sub-Regional Cooperation in South Asia – India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, Vij Book Publishers, 2016.
M. Mayilvaganan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies
Sri Lanka and Maldives are the closest neighbors of India in the south who share historical, cultural, religious, ethnic and linguistic interaction with India. All the groups in these island nations in one or other way are linked with India in every sense, as the geographical proximity, cultural and religious linkages propose. Nonetheless, this proximity seems to have played a part in forcing them—Sri Lankan and Maldivians—to exhibit that they are ‘distinct’ in an effort to defend and promote their own ‘identity’ which is essential for their existence. And this ‘identity’ of being distinct has indeed contributed to distrust in their relations with India and which in turn challenges the sub regional cooperation in the region.
The chapter/paper discuss the challenges of sub regional cooperation in South Asia while highlighting the existence of clear cultural, religious, ethnic and linguistic interaction of India with Sri Lanka and Maldives.