Category Archives: World News

Who Will Control Maldives Territory If Maldive Islands Sink In The Sea?

One of the most discussed topics in Sri Lanka today is the the unrest in our neighbourly Maldive islands with the democratically elected president Mr. Ibrahim Nasheed’s resignation. Many Sri Lankan websites and bloggers have been writing a lot about it. But these articles focus almost exclusively on current Maldivian politics and maybe some bits of Maldivian history. However among these I came across a rather different kind of blog post written in Sinhala language with a title saying something like, “What Should Be Sri Lanka’s Strategy on the Future of Maldives!” It’s a very thought provoking article because I don’t think many Sri Lankans have ever thought about the enormous geo-political and strategic advantage Sri Lanka has in possibly taking control of the Maldives territory when that country sinks into the Indian Ocean in the near future.

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Google Satellite map of Maldives and Sri Lanka

If you are not familiar with the Maldives you may wonder what all this talk about the country sinking is. Even though the country has 298 square kilometers of land and about 1200 islands, the highest point of the Maldives is said to be just 2 meters or 7 feet. The average ground level of the country is 1.5 meters or about 5 feet above sea level. This has made Maldives officially the lowest country in the world!

Now with global warming, the sea level is expected to rise a meter or two in the Indian Ocean by the end of the this 21st century. So sadly it is very likely we may witness a slow sinking or submerging of the majority of the Maldives within our lifetime. The Maldives may be the Atlantis lost to the sea in the 21st century.

What Will Maldivian People Do When The Maldives Sinks?

Maldives currently has a population of about 400,000. So when the country sink into the ocean what are these people going to do? Their only option will be to migrate to other countries. As climate refugess these people can get visa to most countries of the world. I heard sometime back that Australia and some other coutries had said they will grant citizenship to Maldivians when it sinks. But in recent years the Maldivian government has given serious attention to this issue. They say they don’t want to be climate refugees living on dole-out. So they have setup a special fund using money from their booming tourism industry to buy land in foreign countries like Australia, India and Sri Lanka. So one day when the country submerges Maldivian people will have their own land in foreign countries to move to.

Who Will Control Maldivian Territory Without Local People Or Visible Land?

If as predicted, the sea level rises a meter or two the majority of Maldives land will submerge and the local population will have to leave the country and become citizens in foreign countries. In that case even though the Maldivians may retain rights to the lands and territory they will not likely be able to function as an independent country with a government would.

Also though the country will become inhabitable for normal living, tourist resorts that are raised above sea level and built can will still function in even when Maldives goes underwater. So big question arises when their is no local population and government, who will control the current Maldivian territory?

My guess is it will be one of these following global or regional power houses. As it is situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean in one of the worlds busiest shipping lanes whoever controls Maldives territory will wield a lot of geo-political power.

1. The Indians

2. The USA (Another Diego Garcia for the US In the Indian Ocean?)

3.The Chinese

4. NATO

5. Britain with Europe

There is a slim chance for even Sri Lanka to take control of the Maldivian territories when the country submerges. That is if we our Government and private sector can build a strong partnership with Maldivians now like investing and consolidation on Maldivian tourism and other sectors and most importantly inviting them to settle in Sri Lanka and making sure the largest share of Maldivians who migrate settle in Sri Lanka.

colombo port construction

Colombo Port Set To Enter Top 10 Busiest Ports in the World!

Even though Sri Lanka is a small and developing country, it currently has one of the busiest container port and largest harbour in the world. The Colombo port in Sri Lanka which is currently ranked as the 29th busiest port in the world in Wikipedia’s list of world’s busiest container ports.

new colombo port

Above Pic: A New 1.5km long container quay of Colombo Port, spreading out to the Indian Ocean from the shores of Colombo.

However as you can see in the photos here which I took recently, a mega expansion project is going on at the Colombo port. This Colombo port expansion project is going to it 3 times as big as it is now!  That means when this port expansion project is over (within 2 years), Colombo port will be set to become one of the 10 largest and busiest ports in the world!

According to the previously mentioned Wikipedia world’s busiest port list, Colombo port handled about 4 million TEUs (or Twenty-foot equivalent units of containers) in 2010. That made it the 29th busiest port in the world. This itself is a impressive record for a country like small Sri Lanka, considering that world famous and busy ports like New York City (ranked world’s 19th) handled only 5.3 million TEUs in 2010.

When the Colombo Port expansion project (called the Colombo South Port) is  complete the Colombo Port will have the ability to handle more then 12 million TEUs annually. According to current world port statistic that will make Colombo Port able to claim the 9th or 10th place among the top 10 busiest ports in the world.

colombo port construction

Above Pic Shows construction work going on 24/7 at Colombo Port expansion project. The strange shaped objects in the foreground are the giant concrete boulders that are used to fill the sea, reclaim land and build the new quays of the port.

S0 look forward very soon for the day our port will beat world famous ports like Rotterdam  (11.1 million TEUs, Busiest Port in Europe) and Los Angeles Port  (6.5 million TEUs, busiest port in North America). Not bad for a small 3rd world country no?

Old Town of Madampe & Voice of America Shortwave Relay Station

This photo shows the Old Town of Madampe. Though you see only a few shops along a highway this place and surrounding areas seem to have a lot of character, history and secret missions going on.  I’ll share here what I heard about this area. I hope those from the Madampe area or know more about this area will come forward to add details about this town in the comments below.

old town madampe

Today this original Madampe town is overshadowed by the newer town known in Madampe area as the “Silver Town” which is located to the north of this old town. I heard the, “Silver Town” or the present Madampe town developed only recently as a result of banks and other important institutions opening up near the Madampe railway station which was a little away from the Madampe Old Town.

The world famous Voice of America Shortwave radio station’s Asia relay station is also located quite closeby to Madampe old town in the place called Iranawila. I was able to see the tall relay towers of the Voice of America Shortwave Radio from the paddy fields you see in the photograph below. There were a dozen or so towers and they were much taller than the telephone towers. Because I took these photos from my phone camera I couldn’t capture the towers clearly because they were very far in the horizon. I heard from Madampe people that the towers are lit at night and is a very beautiful sight to behold. According to wikimapia.org US propaganda radio stations that function under Voice of America such as Radio Ashna, Radio Azadi, Radio Farda, Radio Free Afghanistan, Radio Free Asia, Radio Liberty and Radio Sawa are aired into Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and India from this relay station in Sri Lanka.

paddy field srilanka

For those unfamiliar with the location of Madampe, it is situated in Puttalam District in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. The people of the area constitute of poor and middle class Muslims and Buddhist and Christian Sinhalese.

 

sri lanka journalist

“Why Middle East Is Burning” Public Lecture by Latheef Farook

“Why Middle East is burning ” is the theme of the keynote speech by veteran Sri Lankan journalist and author Latheef farook at the Founder’s Day of All Ceylon Muslim League Youth Fronts.

Date: Thursday 12 May 2011
Time: at 4.30 PM
Venue: KG 7 Elvitigala Flats, Elvitigala Mawatha.Colombo 8.

The speech will be followed by question and answer session.

It is a public meeting and all are welcome.

sri lanka journalist

Seen here is a copy of the book "Nobody's People". It is one of several scholarly works written by Latheef Farrok. I have not read the book but I hear it is very good and thorough in the subject it deals. Took this photo last week when I saw in in a book shop, didn't think I'll get a chance to use in on a blog.