Anura Kumara Dissanayake leads Sri Lanka’s JVP Delegation to India

The Indian government has extended an official invitation to Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader of Sri Lanka’s leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) or People’s Liberation Front, to visit New Delhi. The invitation marks a significant gesture from Indian towards engaging with Sri Lanka’s currently most influential political figure.

Member of the visiting delegation Vijitha Herath, confirmed to The Hindu, stating, “We are set to depart tomorrow [Monday] morning for a five-day visit, which will include several key meetings.” This visit is particularly notable as it represents the first official invitation extended by the Government of India to the leader of the National People’s Power (NPP) alliance.

According to sources from the Indian High Commission, the delegation’s schedule includes stops in three major Indian cities: New Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Thiruvananthapuram. The agenda features meetings with Indian government officials and business community leaders, alongside visits to prominent agricultural and industrial excellence centers.

This diplomatic outreach coincides with Dissanayake’s escalating popularity, following the transformative people’s movement in 2022 that led to the ousting of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa amid a severe economic crisis. Recent findings from the Institute for Health Policy in Colombo highlight Dissanayake’s widespread support, with 50% of survey respondents favoring him as the likely presidential candidate this year, significantly ahead of other political figures.

The visit also underscores a notable evolution in the JVP’s perspective on India, almost forty years after its armed resistance against the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, which was criticized as a manifestation of “Indian expansionism.” Reflecting on this ideological transformation, Dissanayake shared with The Hindu in December 2023, his acknowledgment of India’s crucial role as a neighboring economic and political powerhouse, underscoring a matured approach towards future economic and political engagements with India.