For over a quarter century, Sri Lanka endured a harrowing civil war pitting government forces against the insurgent Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The conflict ended in 2009, but a new period of political turmoil under President Mahinda Rajapaksa began. The surprise 2015 election of opposition leader Maithripala Sirisena has raised expectations of a new beginning, but the island cannot easily escape the legacies of the past.

How did the Sri Lankan civil war begin and what are its lasting impacts? Author and journalist Samanth Subramanian drew on his prize-winning book, This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War, to address this question. Carnegie’s Milan Vaishnav moderated.

Samanth Subramanian

Samanth Subramanian is the India correspondent for the National. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Granta, and the Guardian, among others. His second book, This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and won the Crossword Book Award for non-fiction.

Milan Vaishnav

Milan Vaishnav is senior associate in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he works on the political economy of India.