Archive for the ‘India a blundering necessity in SL’ Category

In most or every way, India is more resilient, professional and organized than us, Sri Lankan. Or else, they would not be the big brother in the region. The geographical size and the population alone would not give that ability. They gained that respect over centuries with many prosperous civilizations behind them that have left them with a very rich culture. Perhaps that has permitted for an uncompromising ego to play a negative role every time the Indians decide to intervene in Sri Lankan politics.

Their sad intervention in covertly strengthening the Tamil armed groups to contain the Jayewardene regime in early 1980’s was by any standard an unwise decision. It wasn’t that India did not have more decent options in engaging the Jayewardene regime. Diplomatic channels were open, including that of the Commonwealth Membership, but never stretched to its full. That is why the decision to militarily support Sri Lankan Tamil youth groups in the 80’s becomes principally wrong. A society never alien and could very easily strike a historic chord stretching up to the Chola Empire, with the Tamil polity of India, thus letting off a synergy that would lead to a more complicated armed presence on either side of the Palk Straits.

That in fact was what subsequently developed. Apart from the support and assistance afforded by Delhi, Tamil leaders in Madras moved in to support both politically and financially. The biggest star then in Tamil Nadu politics, MGR, was in close supportive contact personally. The Centre in New Delhi could not ignore the pressures of Tamil Nadu fired by the Tamil spirit of these new and militant youth groups. India was thus trapped in its own snare and had dragged in Sri Lanka fast that would have any way got entangled in an armed rebellion in the North, the way the government was treating the political issues of the Tamil polity.

Rajiv in a way was more pragmatic than his mother in trying to resolve the issue; his mother was party to, in creating. Where Rajiv’s intervention as PM lapsed was in calculating for a political consensus in the Sri Lankan society to push through the PC package. His whole proposal was very Indian weighted. There was no responsibility given with adequate time for President Jayewardene to win his constituency to what was proposed as a solution. The Indian leadership was making use of Jayewardene’s limitations in dealing with the escalation of the conflict and his fissures in government. According to J.N. Dixit in his book “Assignment Colombo” the whole process of agreeing, developing and signing the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord had been shuttled in between 25th May and 27th July, 1987. Again, this macho Indian intervention had its own repercussions in the Sinhala South, in the Tamil North-East and on India itself. First, it paved the way for a very independent LTTE that thereafter did not depend on official Indian sympathies or assistance. Two, it politically instigated the savage uprising in the South led by the JVP and helped to register a social ideology against devolution of power. And the third was the tragic death of PM Rajiv Gandhi that there -after altered the stance of Indian politics towards the Sri Lankan conflict.

This altered stance of India was evident even during the Norwegian brokered CFA from February, 2002. India then did not want to give its full co-operation to work out a negotiated solution to the protracted conflict they were also responsible for. They in fact turned down the invitation to be a participant to the 2003 Brussels Aid Forum, a donor platform that was initiated on the basis of the CFA signed between the GOSL and the LTTE. India did not at that time want to be even an “observer” at that forum. The only reason being that India would not sit with the LTTE they have banned as a terrorist organization. Meanwhile, for the first time, the JVP was a very prominent presence in every Indian function. It was seen as an Indian effort to give the JVP a credible acceptance. The political assumption thus was, India once again was covertly supporting the opposition to stall the peace process they perceived if successful would bring the LTTE into the mainstream. For the Indians, it was said, any conclusion of the conflict in Sri Lanka should be without the LTTE as a player.

This seems the hardened stand now, with India. After the N-E PC elections India pledged total support for the development of the East. None would say don’t, if it is possible to develop that area within a peaceful atmosphere. It is evident now the East is not going to be peaceful at all and there are serious concerns about its Chief Ministera’s capacity to function as an elected democratic politician. It would be an area that would be run by an armed group, backed by State security. There would thus be no role for the ordinary people to play in the administration. Worst is that the elections have further widened the gap between Muslims and the government ally in the PC.

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