| by Upul Joseph Fernando

( August 13, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) When Mahinda decided to hold a snap poll for a third term Presidency he was smitten with fear of an Opposition backlash against his erratic foreign policy, which had embittered relations with world powers. He felt timorous about America spearheading an economic sanction programme, which could affect the economy of the country which would ultimately be used by the Opposition to arouse public dissention against the government. Rajapaksa clan had assiduously prepared contingency plans to face such a damaging situation, which could affect the presidential election. It is known that they have prepared a blueprint of a plan of action to show the country and the world that the world powers like India and China are closely aligned with Mahinda and his Government.

As a first step towards implementing this strategy a highly publicized event was planned by the government by inviting the Pope for a State visit. As the next step in this pre-planned propaganda blitz was to invite Dr. Subramanium Swamy and a group of BJP Parliamentarians to the country and get Swamy to declare India's unstinted support to Mahinda and his Government. He declared at a press conference that if the Tamils could vote for Fonseka at the 2010 presidential election there should not be any difficulty now to vote for Mahinda. Even Chinese officials who visit the country do not make such appeals to the common people to vote for President Rajapaksa at the next election. Such matters are considered internal affairs and foreigners have no right to interfere by advising people to vote for a person of their choice.

The latest move in this consolidated plan of action is to get maximum propaganda mileage from Chinese President's expected visit. For co-ordination of his visit Mahinda has sent his brother Basil to China to attend to the preliminary work for the highly important and eagerly awaited visit by the Chinese leader. Basil has met with the Vice Premier of China, Wang Yang and has held discussions with him regarding a spate of bilateral agreements to be signed during the Chinese leader's visit.

Chinese authorities

Knowledgeable sources reveal that the main thrust of Basil's discussions with the Chinese authorities was to use the land mark visit by the Chinese Head of State to extract the maximum advantage from it, to show the world that China is with Mahinda all the way and they will implement extensive Chinese aid programmes, provide grants and economic assistance to Sri Lanka purely due to the high esteem Chinese leaders have towards Mahinda as a benevolent leader and a friend of China.

In the past, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka did not have a defence attaché as defence relations between the two countries occupied a low-key position. But recently China has appointed a defence attaché to their Colombo office signifying the new developments in security relations between the two countries. One can safely assume that these new developments would have caught the attention of America and India.

Chinese steadfastly, contend that their interest in Sri Lanka is purely in the sphere of economic relations and it has nothing to do with security and military affairs. Even Hambantota Port development was part of their economic plan they contend.

In truth, the recent developments have brought to the fore the real intention of China's increased involvement with Sri Lanka. Instead of proverbial cat jumping out of the bag, a live dragon has jumped out. China will offer an attractive load of carrots to extract maximum benefits from its relations with the country. Mahinda in his own inimitable way will make an all out attempt to grab the biggest share of the favourable propaganda emanating from the Chinese leader's visit.

However, Mahinda could not feel to be in the comfort zone if and when anti-government forces are unleashed by US and the West.