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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2609

India "will" & "will not" interfere in Sri Lanka

By Shenali Waduge

Addressing a public rally in 1927 Ceylon, Mahatma Gandhi referred to Sri Lanka as "India's daughter state", years later Jawarhalal Nehru desired to make Sri Lanka a "Protectorate" of India and then Sri Lanka's fate became sealed no sooner his daughter Indira Gandhi ascended office and instilled the Indira Doctrine leaving Sri Lanka a war-ravaged nation. Her son Rajiv, continued the doctrine but had his life cut short by the very monster created by his mother and now his widowed wife Sonia's Congress is aligned with the very party that supports Tamil Eelaam separatism. Never underestimate the power of politics & the desire to remain in power.

It is interesting to take Mahatma Gandhi's reference to Sri Lanka being India's daughter state, ironically India is obsessed with bearing only sons - Ten million female fetuses have been illegally aborted in India, which doesn't really say much of India's love for daughters and one wonders how Sri Lanka is placed within this scenario. Nevertheless, taking to consideration the past 30 years of relations between the two nations we can satisfy ourselves by saying that things could & should have been better.

With the element of doubt and distrust now rooted, relationships even though diplomatically iced become an arduous affair. The trips by Indian delegations to Sri Lanka are one of the instances that automatically create anti-Indian sentiment and if India concerns itself with the Sri Lankan sentiments, it may well do to understand things from Sri Lanka's point of view. If India was paid "flying visits" by nations bigger than theirs and given demarches would India be happy?

What India and the world needs to take note of here is how an overwhelming number of Sri Lankans have come together leaving aside their political affiliations to give their fullest support to the armed forces to crush Sri Lanka's terrorism. What is unique about this is that affiliations to political parties have taken second place & the entire nation is looking with much hope for the last to be taken by the armed forces & the Lion Flag to be hoisted all over the country. This feeling has been lacking for over 30 years and India, the international community, the foreign media, INGOs and NGOs cannot ignore that the people are very much looking with hope and thankful for the forces for giving the country to look forward to 2009 without LTTE terror.

So what is important for India and the international community to ask themselves is – who is more important? A democratic country and its people demanding the elimination of LTTE terrorism or a Tamil Diaspora unlikely to ever return to Sri Lanka and a handful of LTTE cadres now struggling to save the remaining territory that they were able to terrorize for so many years? India or the international community with their ceasefire calls and peace talks could never get beyond cups of tea and foreign trips, but if they feel that "some" Tamils cannot live within an united Sri Lanka as the Sinhalese are such a horrendous lot, then it may be wise to create this Eelaam in an area well away from the Sinhalese and possibly Norway may be able to offer the territory in Norway for this alternative! But, it must be asserted that more Tamils live amongst the Sinhalese presently than living amongst their own in the North or the Eastern provinces. This fact certainly makes it puzzling to deduce that the Sinhalese are discriminating or taking part in ethnic cleansing! Fabrications eventually will meet their own fate as the LTTE is experiencing.

None of us are naïve to the fact that eliminating the LTTE of its territory is unlikely to completely eliminate the LTTE – there is likely to be a handful of brainwashed cadres still desiring to follow Prabakaran's warped killing spree but these will be cut down to minimal & the people will be more alert. There is no point getting all excited over projected happenings as some local and foreign political analysts enjoy doing. It is in all likelihood that no sooner the armed forces capture the remaining territory still held by the LTTE, the Tamil people will give a sigh of relief and possibly it would be they who would assist in identifying the remaining camouflaged tigers posing as civilians.

The Tamil people will now be able to admit that they have had to pay lakhs of money to upkeep the LTTE, can they even visit their relations up North unless they fill the LTTE kitty …there are those who are nicely domiciled abroad ready to carry placards and cry genocide but have they ever cared to sponsor a poor Tamil Childs education and uplift their own people? There are many to ridicule the Government run hospitals but have these Tamil Diaspora sent a cent to install new equipment or even paint the hospital, have they even attempted to build a library for the poor children of these areas or portable drinking water, even Tamil doctors are reluctant to serve in these areas?

Everything is taken care by the Government which has been even feeding the LTTE and even providing medical supplies to them as well. The LTTE makes USD300million annually – without buying arms and killing people they could have easily developed the areas they were ruling all these years….a closer look at the lifestyles of those speaking on behalf of the LTTE will reveal exactly why they are so passionate about keeping the LTTE alive and kicking especially those working overseas for the LTTE.

India's role in this complicated situation is one that its Governments had to shoulder over the years having created a covert operation in Sri Lanka. It is important that when referring to India's role in Sri Lanka, we do not forget to tie this with India's Central Government’s handling of the Tamil Nadu state.

India would not forget Tamil Nadu's own desire to function as a separate state. The We Tamil Movement was crushed successfully in the 1960s but its champions are still living and the desire still kept silently alive. Thus, the open support of LTTE by some Tamil Nadu leaders. We may laugh the matter off as election gimmicks for Central Government support but we need to be cautious of the actual eventuality for Tamil Nadu if Prabakaran was actually able to pull of the Eelam in Sri Lanka and the foreign backing that he was able to garner probably would have ended up a force to destabilize India eventually. We cannot forget that India too nurtures a desire to become a world superpower and despite its size and being the largest democracy it does not have representation in the UN Security Council.

So the happenings in India or Sri Lanka turns out to be a political monopoly game of sorts. It is in this scenario that we may even imagine that the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord and the 13th Amendment with the Provincial Council system may have been created to avert any Eelam taking place. The clause to merge the Eastern Province would have meant a bonus for India in the form of the Trincomalee harbor. It is in this context that the 2001 Ceasefire Agreement has to be viewed as a sequel to the 1987 Accord providing India greater access to take action in the event Prabakaran's Eelam lengthens itself to Tamil Nadu state. We have often heard of the R2P concept floating around and we experienced this same doctrine in 1987 for the arrival of the IPKF forces was without UN mandate.

So, we cannot be oblivious to the fact that India is well aware of what its covert operation would entail and similarly India would also have reckoned on its inward ramifications within the State of Tamil Nadu, thus the 1987 Accord and later the 2002 Cease Fire to ensure that India would not suffer and that it had India's turf covered by a foul proof plan. Another bogus has been the erudite manner in which India has entered Sri Lanka economy and bagged plenty of key industry sectors & placed Indians at the helm of corporate in Sri Lanka. In all likelihood unless Sri Lanka's political leaders and corporate heads wake up from slumber and realize the need to think nationally we may as well get used to indirectly functioning as another state of India! Thus, it is important that Sri Lankans wake up from their slumber especially the "parampara" allegiance to political parties and start instead to put Country First.

India enjoys working in dual roles – a friend and foe. Presently, the landings of India envoys are at best ploys to keep the South Indian politicos happy and obviously India is mature enough to realize that the LTTE has now served its time and served its purpose and Sri Lanka's President is weathering the international storms probably with the blessings of India. On record India needs to remain a "tormentor" and India may enjoy this status of being called a "bully" even the calls for Prabakaran to be handed over to India are viewed with skepticism by Sri Lankans….but a Prabakaran in India would create further problems & thus we can safely deduce that India would rather have a Sri Lankan soldier deal with Prabakaran before hand!

So India "will" publicly bully Sri Lanka, but India certainly "will not" want to make the LTTE into a phoenix! The more we become aware of the dual speeches and statements we should deduce that even the international powers are realizing they need to say adieu to the LTTE – only those on LTTE payroll may give it their best shot for they have to protect their jobs and with the state of employment these days & their notorious resume's not many employers are likely to employ them, unless of course another separatist project surfaces!

- Asian Tribune -

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