Factors relevant to Indo-Lanka relations

India and Sri Lanka flags

While Sri Lanka are always made to remind itself that every time India sneezes Sri Lanka is likely to catch a cold, there are some facts that cannot be ignored as well. Countries may be big and powerful but that is no grounds to brush aside smaller countries using that logic. It is strange that India as big as it is should feel obsessed about keeping Sri Lanka trampled and with explicit orders only to run to mummy India despite its history of misdemeanors. India needs to seriously address this complex for it dents relationships at every level. Nevertheless, there are some factors that Sri Lanka cannot overlook.

Fact 1 : Armed Tamil militancy began because of India

  • Let’s not beat around the bush but acknowledge that India first undertook to clandestinely engage unemployed Tamil youth from Sri Lanka to be brought to India and given military training in various locations. India thereafter, divided these Tamils into various groups headed by different leaders under different names. LTTE under Prabakaran was one such India-trained armed militant group handled by Indian intelligence. When these Tamil youth had been ‘handled’ by one country it naturally raises possibilities of these groups being ‘handled’ by other countries too and that should explain what happened to Rajiv Gandhi.
  • India needs to accept and apologize for its role in arming Tamil youth and turning them into armed militants that led to Tamils killing each other and thereafter to 3 decades of terror. The initial phase of LTTE and other armed militant groups was solely handled by India and its intelligence agents.
  • India cannot claim to be protector or friend of Sri Lanka until and unless India acknowledges its crime of aggression committed clandestinely over a period of time against a nation that did no wrong to India. The Jain Commission report very clearly gives places of training in India with numbers of Sri Lankan Tamils trained.
  • RAW may have trained the LTTE but the decision to arm Tamil youth and turn them into militants was made by the Indian Central Government – a decision made by Indira Gandhi. RAW was only carrying out orders.
  • India must avow to the Sri Lankan populace that India will not indulge in any future destabilizing operations while apologizing to India’s role in creating, training and arming LTTE and other armed militancy.
  • Accountability calls cannot omit IPKF rapes of some 4000 Tamil civilians, Jaffna hospital massacre of even Tamil doctors or the Velvettiturai massacre of unarmed civilians. Sri Lankan Tamils must realize these killings were committed by IPKF Indian soldiers, the country that has been projecting ‘concern’ for Tamils.

Fact 2: India well in control of Tamil Nadu state

  • Contrary to general perceptions, India’s Central Government is NOT manipulated by Tamil Nadu, it is ONLY an impression given to leverage diplomatic pressures over Sri Lanka. India’s Central Government is very capable of controlling Tamil Nadu IF it wants to and when it needs to. We need to realize why India’s Central Government does not when it should. Sri Lanka’s politicians need to realize this dynamics and play upon it.

Fact 3: India and Tamil Nadu playing politics with Sri Lankan Tamils

  • Tamil Nadu pretends concern for Sri Lankan Tamils and is part of a piggy-back ride because of (6) so Tamil Nadu can make the most out of the discontent evolving between 2 nations and make itself look more important than the rest of the States, this in turn invites all the foreign destabilizing operators to make detours to Tamil Nadu and open their goodybag of whats in store if their line is towed. The game is called politics.
  • Both the Indian Central Government and Tamil Nadu are playing football with Indian fishermen for their own personal political agendas. Unnecessarily fishermen on both sides of the spectrum are getting arrested and released in a game of fish / arrest and get freed.

Fact 4: ‘Concern’ for Tamil slogan

  • When Tamil Nadu politicians declare ‘concern’ for Sri Lankan Tamils, the Tamils in Sri Lanka must count and read out all the names of the Tamil politicians, Tamil public servants, Tamil unarmed civilians, Tamil children that the LTTE and other armed groups training by India killed and seek an explanation from India. It is all the time only the Sinhalese raising these killings from India and not Tamils.
  • It is also time for Sri Lankans and Tamils too to wonder how India can solve Sri Lanka’s problems when India has not solved theirs. With hundreds of terrorist elements and other destabilizing agents on ground and infiltrating into interior India, India has no time or manpower to be solving issues that it enjoys creating in other countries. Moreover, if Sri Lanka has a problem it is Sri Lanka’s problem not India’s or any other country. Assistance can come ONLY and IF ONLY a request is made.
  • The fishermen issue is the best example. If Tamil Nadu are so concerned about Sri Lankan Tamils, why are they sending Indian Fishermen to Sri Lankan seas and thereby denying Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen their livelihood. How much of revenue are these Sri Lankan Tamils losing as a result of Indian fishermen and the equipment there are using is also affecting the Sri Lankan coastline and long term it will only affect the Sri Lankan Tamils. Is it not ‘fishy’ that the Chief Minister and TNA are also mum on fighting for the rights of their own people when it comes to the fishing issue? Indians cant fish in Sri Lanka and destabilize our country too. What if Sri Lankan Government allows Indians to fish in Sri Lanka’s North, the Tamil fishermen would be denied livelihood and that will not be good for TNA when it comes to voting time!

Fact 5: More to Rajiv Gandh’s assassination / Investigate LTTE links to Maino family

  • Congress Government’s Chairperson needs to own up to links with her family and LTTE and the Indian Government needs to immediately launch an investigation to how many Indian artifacts and priceless treasures have been smuggled out of India to be sold in Italy. This accusation made by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy needs to now be thoroughly investigated.
  • With regard to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi- it must also not be forgotten that Rajiv Gandhi was killed by Indian and Sri Lankan Tamils.

Fact 6: Clear stand on Eelam (If not in India – then not in Sri Lanka)

  • AIADMK Manifesto clearly promises to create an Eelam for Tamils. The Modi Government must put a firm lid on this and other such future declarations by AIADMK or any other political party in India if India is genuinely concerned about forging sincere diplomatic ties with neighbors. Similarly, the Sri Lankan Government for political correctness should not sit silent when the Northern Province passes resolutions for similar eelams.

Fact 7: India must tell Indian Tamils and Sri Lanka must tell Sri Lankan Tamils – There will be no Eelam

  • Both Sri Lankan politicians need to realize that Tamils in Sri Lanka are Sri Lankan citizens and Tamils need to realize this too. Indian politicians and States and their politicians need to also realize that when referring to Sri Lankan Tamils these Tamils are by virtue of their citizenship NOT INDIAN. If they so wish to be they are welcome to denounce their Sri Lankan citizenship and obtain Indian citizenship rights. Therefore, whenever any Indian politician makes a furor on Tamils in Sri Lanka they must first realize that they are referring to citizens of another sovereign nation and be mindful of the threats they make.

Fact 8: Custodian of Buddhism should belong to Sri Lanka – leaders need to take wholehearted ownership

  • Buddhism and its protection belong to Sri Lanka. India having abandoned Buddhism should not use it simply as a soft tool for political gain thus diminishing the value of the noble teachings of Buddha. The protection and fostering of Buddhism rightfully belongs to Sri Lanka and it is good for Sri Lanka’s leaders to realize that Buddhism is not to be considered as a soft tool only but very powerful in its own right.

Fact 9: 13th amendment must go – Both India & Sri Lanka must realize its dangers and playing politics with it will be detrimental

  • An India that is making a huff and puff about 13th amendment must be asked to respond to India’s breach of the Indo-Lanka Accord the basis of the 13tha and a good ground for Sri Lanka to repeal the Accord on account of India not keeping to its promises as clearly given in 2.16 of the Accord “These proposals are also CONDITIONAL to the GOVERNMENT OF INDIA taking the following actions if any militant groups operating in Sri Lanka do not accept this framework of proposals for a settlement”.

o   India to take ALL necessary steps to ensure Indian territory is not used for activities prejudicial to the unity, integrity and security of Sri Lanka. (PROMISE NOT KEPT BY INDIA)

o   Indian navy/coast guard to cooperate with the Sri Lanka Navy in preventing Tamil militant activities from affecting Sri Lanka. (PROMISE NOT KEPT BY INDIA)

o   In the event that the Government of Sri Lanka requests the Government of India to afford military assistance to implement these proposals the Government of India will cooperate by giving the Government of Sri Lanka such military assistance as and when requested (IPKF arrives in Sri Lanka in July 1987 and were asked to leave in March 1990)

o   The Government of India will expedite repatriation from Sri Lanka of Indian citizens to India who are resident here, concurrently with the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees from Tamil Nadu. (We believe quite a number of Indians are living as Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka and have been doing so for the past 3 decades)

We need to also mention that North and East was unnecessarily merged until Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court demerged the two provinces. The declaration is another reason to annul the Indo-Lanka Accord in toto and thus make the 13a a nonentity as well.

It must also be added that the 13th amendment and the Provincial Councils bill came much later. There was NO DEFINED ENTITY of the Provincial Council in the July 1987 Accord. It would be good for the GOSL to consider changing boundaries of the provinces so as to protect its strategic interests.

  • It is a good time for everyone to start wondering for WHOSE INTEREST the 13th amendment and the Provincial Council system is and thereafter start debating on what to do if the 13tha is of no relevance to Sri Lanka. 13tha should not be allowed to fulfill neo-colonial agendas of any nation to get a foothold in Sri Lanka. Locals that chirp on the need to give 13tha and more are obviously agents working in the interests of other nations.
  • We need to also remember and the international community should well do to take too that there would be NO 13thamendment or the provincial council system if India had not forced Sri Lanka to sign the Indo-Lanka Accord and make constitutional amendments. 13tha is not indigenous to Sri Lanka and it is on this argument that the public demands it to be annulled.

Fact 10: India needs to realize bilateral relations with Sri Lanka means all 20million – not ONLY Tamils.

  • With regard to implementation of the LLRC – these are all RECOMMENDATIONS and it is the prerogative of the Government in power to decide which ones will be implemented and which one’s wont. It is not for India, US, UK, Canada or any UN official to decide.
  • India and the international community as well as the Sri Lankan Government and Opposition politicians are reminded that Tamils are just 2million in a country of 20million and it is morally wrong to be demanding the Government to address the needs of a few lakhs of that 2million since the rest are living amongst Sinhalese or abroad holding foreign passports. Sri Lanka’s problems do not revolve around ONLY Tamils – there are over 88% of people who are not Tamils and their rights and needs have to be also looked into.
  • Narendra Modi in particular should take up the issue of caste as Tamil low castes have been at the receiving end – they were picked to become child soldiers, the LTTE cadres were made up of low caste Hindus and converted Hindus which explains why cadres were all buried and called martyrs. Moreover, the fact that Hindus distance themselves from their own due to caste factors are driving Hindus to convert and align to Abrahamic agendas. With Narendra Modi’s nationalism this must be a top priority too.

We believe that Narendra Modi will usher a period different to what Indira Gandhi and her son fostered against Sri Lanka. That Modi is a hands on leader, a visionary and clearly demarcates Hindu India on the Indian map is welcome and shows Modi to be very much interested in Asia and bringing up Asia rather than prostituting India to the West.

We look forward to India taking a higher moral ground vis a vis its relationship with Sri Lanka as well for it has much to repair in view of the factors that have build distrust against India in Sri Lanka.

– by Shenali D Waduge