THAT India and Sri Lanka have decided to enhance their defence cooperation, is a welcome tiding from the seemingly estranged neighbourhood. The neighbouring country, which appeared to be drifting towards China in a substantial manner in various fields, now has shown willingness to mend fences with India. Sri Lanka, it appears, has realised the fallacy of over-dependence on a country whose design is expansionist in nature. This realisation has possibly come when China sought a free lease of 90 years for a port project, virtually establishing its ownership over the project. India, on the other hand, has shown no such tendencies while offering cooperation in various fields. Whatever projects India has undertaken in Sri Lanka are turn-key in nature, thereby respecting Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. Such a change augers well for both the neighbours. The traditional relations between the two countries were soured somewhat for the past few decades due to the ethnic Tamil problem. But they have traversed a long distance since then and have now realised the utility of forging closer ties.
TWO toughest sporting jobs that have challenged even the best in the business are coaching Pakistan’s national cricket team and being the coach of India’s national hockey team. Both test the mental reserves of the person in-charge, constantly under the glare of officials and top echelons. Indian hockey, in particular, is notorious for its way of treating coaches, putting them on permanent notice and showing them the door without remorse. This is not indictment of the Hockey India brass but a statement on the ways of running the national game since decades. Tackling the administration and ever-demanding bosses will be the biggest challenge for Australian Graham Reid, who has taken over as the new national coach. Reid has sought a stable environment, something many of his predecessors found was a delusion. Yet, the confidence Reid has shown should serve India in good stead, especially in the year when the team seeks a berth in the 2020 Olympics. This is Reid’s sternest test that could determine his future.