Feature Article

Shaping India's policy on Sri Lanka: a reader's response

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 01:08 GMT]
"Those who watch the current developments sense a race against time on the part of India in achieving something militarily in Sri Lanka. At times it looks as though it is India’s war," writes a reader from Tamil Nadu in response to the LTTE's statement on Monday. "The Refuse-to-Retire advisors cum analysts of India, whose writings often reek of revenge, sometimes back came out with enticing hints that the target is only the leadership of the LTTE, and thereafter India will protect the Tamils. Have these advisors ever seen in their lifetime India proving its credibility in safeguarding Tamil rights in Sri Lanka or for that matter, at least India winning a diplomatic war with Sri Lanka?"

The full translated text of the reader's response sent to TamilNet follows:

The Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam on Monday has come out with a statement seriously cautioning the Indian government against propping up Sri Lanka’s war machine. It has taken exception of a statement reportedly made by the Indian military establishment: ‘India wants to ensure that the Sri Lankan Army maintains its upper hand over the LTTE’.

The possible outcome of this Indian policy, as predicted by the LTTE is, ‘ethnic genocide of a massive scale’. Given the nature and attitude of the Rajapaksa government, it is hard for anyone to imagine anything contrary to the LTTE's assessment.

Is it really a war that is being waged by the Sri Lanka government? It is time that the world has to make a fresh scrutiny of it.

History and the heritage of international system justify war when there is a noble cause and when it is conducted with principles.

What is taking place in Sri Lanka is not war, but murder without any pretensions, with a definite agenda of ethnic cleansing and subordination of a people in the long run.

The International Community cannot shun its responsibility in leading Sri Lankan affairs to the present stage by knowingly confusing international terrorism with a genuine national struggle.

It is now increasingly becoming clear that the IC’s stand was largely aimed at pleasing the Indian establishment, especially the present one. Even though the IC is now distancing itself from justifying Sri Lanka’s war sans solutions, lip service is not enough to rectify the damages.

Many wonder the wisdom of the Indian establishment in propping up a joke of a government to fight a war, the results of which in either way are sure to create only sworn enemies against it.

What is often hinted at in the writings from the Indian side, as an excuse to its fallacy, is the possibility of Sri Lanka going totally out of hands and bringing in elements hostile to India close to its southern border.

This is a sixty years old blackmailing tactic of Sri Lanka that has to be boldly dealt with by India. Failure of India to handle it in the past by carefully nurturing its natural allies has brought it into the present precarious situation.

Unless there is a drastic change in India’s outlook towards Sri Lankan crisis, whatever it is doing is very likely to harm its security in the near future.

Boasting of Colombo government’s ‘new Asian friends’, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary, Palitha Kohona was recently quoted saying, ‘the new donors are neighbours, they are rich and they conduct themselves differently. Asians don’t go around teaching each other how to behave. There are ways we deal with each other perhaps a quiet chat, but not wagging the finger’. He was quoted saying this in the context of citing one billion USD, ‘no strings attached aid’ from China.

A dangerous trend showing its ugly head in recent times, is the rich and powerful scrambling to dump their money buttressing ruling juntas of weak countries, and through that aiming at capturing lucrative businesses, without caring for ethics or emotions of people affected by the money pumped in —all in the name of development.

Whether India wants to play the same dirty game, aiming at short-term gains, or a principled role that earns the respect and love of the people, decides its long term security in its southern front.

However, those who watch the current developments sense a race against time on the part of India in achieving something militarily in Sri Lanka. At times it looks as though it is India’s war. Questions are raised whether the Congress government is in an undue haste before the end of its term to win a war, which it lost 20 years back.

The Refuse-to-Retire advisors cum analysts of India, whose writings often reek of revenge, sometimes back came out with enticing hints that the target is only the leadership of the LTTE, and thereafter India will protect the Tamils. Have these advisors ever seen in their lifetime India proving its credibility in safeguarding Tamil rights in Sri Lanka or for that matter, at least India winning a diplomatic war with Sri Lanka?

Petty politicians of the region attribute Rajiv’s assassination as the stumbling block for the Tamil cause to receive justice. Sections of ordinary people also believe it.

If that is so, it is a serious weak point in Indian foreign policy as it binds its policy options. The rivals can always make use of this fixed position of India to their advantage. It is harmful more to India than to the Tamil cause.

The LTTE has extended an appeal to the people of Tamil Nadu to voice against the anti Tamil agenda of the Indian establishment.

Most of the political bigwigs of Tamil Nadu behaved in funny ways even to the struggle of the people of Kanyakumari joining with Tamil Nadu in the 1950s. The Kanyakumari Tamils achieved it by their own sacrifices, including sacrifices of several lives, to the arrogance of the Malayali police.

The lethargy of Tamil Nadu is taken for granted by everyone, regionally as well as globally, to carryon with their strategic programmes at the cost of Tamil interests.

But the slumber cannot go on forever and the outcome will be revolutionary when the awakening comes.

Rather than seeing the present as the last chance to eliminate the LTTE, the Indian establishment should realize that it is their last chance to keep the southern boundary safe and secure.

If the Congress government of India is finding any difficulty or stumbling blocks in its Sri Lanka policy that it can contribute only to the genocide of Tamils but can’t stop it, then it is the duty of the responsible opposition parties of India to help the government relieved of those difficulties.

Silence on the part of the opposition would amount abiding genocide.

One of the structural problems of the congress government is that politicians, political will or political consensus play smaller roles than individuals and bureaucracy in the process of decision making, in matters related to security, foreign policy etc.

In 1962, there was one V.K.Krishna Menon to mislead Nehru on China. India still faces the consequences. In 1987, there was ‘Mani’ Dixit to mislead Rajiv and the consequences are close to our memory.

At least Krishna Menon was a minister and a politician, responsible to the parliament and ultimately to the people. He bowed down, accepting his failure, and went into oblivion. His line was not pursued thereafter.

But, the Advisors, Intelligence Personnel and Bureaucrats who are allowed to run the Sri Lanka affairs are not responsible to the people. They don’t take responsibility to their failures. They are brought back to key decision making positions even after retirement, despite proven failure of their policies and approaches.

People of India, especially the people of Tamil Nadu should realize the dangers of allowing such a policy making process in serious situations such as an ongoing genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka.

As appeared in the editorial of Dinamani on Tuesday, the Tamil Nadu leadership, rather than meekly saying that such matters are left to the Central government, should take the responsibility of determining what the policy should be.


Chronology:


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