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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

Manmohan Singh is the last man to help Sri Lanka as he wants to keep his fragile coalition – 'Frontier Post' of Pakistan

By Walter Jayawardhana

'The Frontier Post' of Peshawar Pakistan in a hard hitting editorial on India categorically pointed out that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be the last to listen to Sri Lanka’s urgently needed sophisticated weapons to combat a Tamil insurgency to keep his fragile coalition government dependent on politicians of Tamil Nadu , an Indian state which supplies the insurgency with weapons and hence Sri Lanka should look elsewhere for its needs.

“The Sri Lankans are outraged at the Indian national security advisor’s bluster that for their defence needs they can look only to India and cannot go to China, Pakistan or anyone else,” the editorial pointed out bluntly.

The editorial was commenting on the recent statement of Indian Defense Secretary M. K. Narayan that not only said Sri Lanka should buy from India and from no other country but also should buy what India decides as the categories of weapons which are defensive and not offensive.

Narayan’s statement has been described by some Sri Lankan quarters as a call for India’s “Brown Imperialism”

The editorial pointed out the statement is reminiscent of an earlier era of Indira Gandhi when her government trained armed and bankrolled the Tamil insurgency in Sri Lanka and her son Rajiv Gandhi even thought of invading the island nation for the dismemberment of the country until he realized that the Frankenstein Monster India created would destroy his own country.

Rajiv Gandhi was later assassinated by a suicide bomber of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the very insurgent group helped by India.

The following is the full text of the editorial that appeared in 'The Frontier Post,' under the headline 'Colombo’s Grievance' on June 5:

“The Sri Lankans are outraged at the Indian national security advisor’s bluster that for their defence needs they can look only to India and cannot go to China, Pakistan or anyone else. This warning he had sounded out to Colombo after its defence secretary recently visited New Delhi with a request for arms to combat the spiraling militancy of its separatist Tamil Tigers. The Indian top-ranking official had statedly responded that from India, too, the Sri Lankans could hope to get only “non-offensive weapons”, leaving them in the lurch for meeting their pressing needs for sophisticated weapons to face up to the mounting insurgency of the Tamil Tigers, who have lately unfolded the possession of an air force arm as well, with which they attacked the Colombo airbase fatally only a short while ago.

“At their command the separatists already boast of a lethal naval force, which they have long been employing to sink Sri Lanka ’s warships, disrupt its maritime shipping, and even to lay down naval blockades on it. The Sri Lankans do have a reason to their grouse. But they are by and large forgetting history of the not-too-distant past. It was in the 1980s that they had confronted a similar warning from India . They were then cozying up to the Americans and also snuggling up with the Israelis for their security purposes, albeit to the great disliking of New Delhi . The then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi took strong exception to these newfound relationships of Colombo and sternly asked it to pull back, propounding simultaneously a doctrine that the political and diplomatic observers instantly labeled as the Indira Doctrine likening it to the famous Monroe Doctrine.

“Just as the American president had decreed that the American continent was the exclusive turf of the United States , she too pronounced the South Asia as India ’s sole preserve not open to any outside power to tread on. The Sri Lankans had then some compelling compulsions to move out of India ’s orbit and forge relationships outside to build up their defences. At that time, the Tamil nationalism had begun rearing its head stridently in the island state, and was feeding richly on the munificence of its sympathisers in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, then being swayed by rabid Tamil nationalists. In pursuit of her own geopolitical objectives, Mrs. Gandhi had also opened up the sanctuaries for the training, arming and bankrolling of Sri Lanka ’s Tamil insurgents in India and unleashing them on the island state. After her assassination, he son Rajiv Gandhi, who succeeded her in the prime ministerial office, kept up with her policy of fueling up the Tamil insurgency in Sri Lanka . Indeed, he went a step further and actively toyed with the idea of invading the island state in support of the Tamil rebels and dismembering it militarily. From this adventurism he was held back by some wise men of New Delhi , warning him that this would inevitably boomerang disastrously on India itself, when its own Tamil Nadu state was being flayed by a raging Tamil nationalism and had even gone through a strong separatist movement in the 1960s.

“That is a different matter when in the late 1980s he sent out an Indian expeditionary force to Sri Lank in pursuance of a peace accord to tame the Tamil Tigers the Indian military itself had trained at the behest of the premier Indian intelligence agency RAW, they turned out to be the Frankenstein’s monsters. After two and a half years, they sent packing this Indian military force in humiliation with a bleeding nose. Of course, that kind of Indian official interference in Sri Lanka may have now come to a close.

Yet, this cannot be said of the Tamil Nadu’s nationalists. Their sympathies for their nationalist peers of Sri Lank have not dried up. They remain as wet as before. And if independent reports are any guide, money and even arms keep flowing out from this Indian state for the Tamil Tigers even now. In any case, Colombo cannot hope for any bigger or appropriate military assistance for its security from this Indian government whose crucial part make up the Tamil nationalists of Tamil Nadu. The Indian advisor may have acted arrogantly, callously and hubristically in the character of “the Nazi regime of Hitler”, as bemoaned a Sri Lankan daily. The newspaper may not be wide of the mark in saying that “ India always behaves like a sadist deriving, as she does, immense pleasure from the sufferings of her neighbours”. The newspaper may have, though, forgotten that by saying India was a “big power” that cannot allow China and Pakistan enter its sphere of influence, the Indian official was reiterating a New Delhi ’s fond long-held but not frequently stated policy. But no less critically is politics involved here. For keeping his fragile coalition government in place, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be the last even to listen of Colombo ’s request for sophisticated weapons to combat the Tamil insurgency. For that, it will have to look elsewhere.”

- Asian Tribune -

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