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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2735

Indo-Lanka Accord: Sri Lanka’s ‘Finlandisation’

By Janaka Perera

July 29-30 marks the 26th year of Sri Lanka’s virtual ‘Finlandisation’ by India. Lest some readers wonder what this term means it refers to Finland’s subservience to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. (In other words a powerful country arrogating itself to the position of dictating policy to a smaller neighbour)

The day after President J.R. Jayewardene under duress - and under cover of a full-day curfew - signed the Indo-Lanka Accord and Naval Rating Vijitha Rohana, accorded Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi an ignominious ‘welcome’ with a rifle butt the Indian ‘Peace Keeping’ Force landed in Sri Lanka. Tamils here who were unaware of what was in store for them within months were happy to see them.

The term IPKF was however a misnomer since ‘peace’ is exactly what it failed to keep. Instead of totally disarming the LTTE the Indians thought they could tame the Tigers and pacify Tamil Nadu racists, who in Indian politics have always been a tail trying to wag the dog. This was Delhi’s fatal blunder that claimed the lives not only of Indian soldiers but also eventually that of Rajiv Gandhi.

Neither had the 13th Amendment (introduced to the Sri Lankan Constitution under the Accord) a people’s mandate nor was it allowed to be debated in Parliament. Needless to say Delhi twisted the Colombo’s arm into having the Parliament ‘approve’ the Amendment. Government MPs were given rooms in a tourist hotel for their own safety

Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa and National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali boycotted the July 29th ceremonies and Health Minister Gamini Jayasuriya resigned from the Government in protest. There was a massive and violent outcry against the Accord which paved the way for a second brutal insurgency in the South. The whole country plunged into a blood bath all because of Indian meddling.

Instead of allowing the Sri Lankan Government to finish off the LTTE in 1987, Delhi’s bullying, supported by bogus peaceniks, prolonged the war for another 22 years. It allowed the Tigers to grow in strength and consequently caused the loss of thousands of more lives both in the North and the South. In the eyes of many Tamils the IPKF became the abbreviation for ‘Indian People Killing Force.’ The Accord created only discord. It paved the way for EPRLF leader Varatharaja Perumal to declare unilateral ‘independence’ from Sri Lanka, though the ‘independence’ did not last long since Prabhakaran wanted no competitors. But the self-proclaimed international community has not demanded that India be held accountable for these crimes.

Shortly after the Indian Peace Keeping Force left the shores of Sri Lanka in early 1990, the late Deputy Defence Minister, General Ranjan Wijeratne gave an interview to the now-defunct Sinhala monthly Kalpana (May 1990). Asked to comment on the then Indian Deputy High Commissioner’s claim that the IPKF had accomplished the task of protecting Sri Lanka’s unity and territorial integrity, Gen. Wijeratne said:

“The IPKF came here to disarm young Sri Lankan militants. But what they did was to give back their weapons to them before leaving Sri Lanka. The occurrence of clashes between the LTTE and the EPRLF is a result of the Indian Army’s presence. In fact we can say that the Indian Army made a mess of it. Instead of taking back the surrendered weapons with them they gave them to people here.”

Fifty years ago during our school days we were taught four factors that impacted Sri Lanka’s history due to its geographical location. They were (1) Sri Lanka being in the middle of the Indian Ocean (2) Sri Lanka being just next to India (3) yet separated from India and (4) being far away from all other Indian Ocean countries except India. We however failed to realize at the time it is this geography – and not language or any other issue - that would prove to be the strongest root of a terrorist problem in the years to come.

A retired Sri Lankan Naval Officer who wishes to remain anonymous said that when former President J.R. Jayewardene was asked in private why he signed the Accord JRJ had likened his action to the quick-thinking of man who is about to be stabbed. With one hand he thwarts the attack and with the other shakes the assailant’s hand! If the President had not done it there was no question that Delhi would have annexed Sri Lanka to the Indian Union or made this country an Indian protectorate. There was no better indication of this motive than the Indian Air Force violating Sri Lanka’s airspace.

Among the biggest misfortunes of the Accord is that it has brought to the fore intellectual frauds, traitors, crackpots and self-proclaimed anti-war crusaders who branded the Sri Lankan military Tamil killers equal to the Nazis who killed Jews. The peaceniks peddled political ‘solutions’ that ranged from federalism and power-sharing with the LTTE to recognizing the Tigers as a Liberation Movement and their right to self-determination. All these dubious campaigns were well-funded. Everyone who opposed these ‘solutions’ was branded a Sinhala Chauvinist fool ‘dreaming’ of defeating Prabhakaran.

These are the real foreign-backed war criminals that misled successive governments into farcical ceasefires and ‘peace talks’ none of which succeeded in ending the conflict but made it a lucrative business for NGO crooks some of whom have now fled Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

Naval Rating Vijitha Rohana, accorded Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi an ignominious ‘welcome’ with a rifle butt
diconary view
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