Future of Indo-Lanka Ties depends on balancing the not-so-friendly past and troublesome players
The renewed ties between India and Sri Lanka while being welcomed cannot exclude or overlook some harsh realities. At the background of these realities are some painful facts yet the common factors if given due deliberation should ideally place Indo-Lanka talks on the proper pedestal important enough to not only establish clear ground rules but demarcate clearly where lines are to be drawn.
While at the forefront of the discussion it must be reiterated that the balkanization of India is not a matter that India can ignore. This balkanization is part and parcel of the imperial agenda of both Abrahamic religions. It is an agenda that locals of these faiths cannot take offence with if either Government decides to take actions to fortify their national security.
The other aspect that both countries need to be clear about is that while balkanization of India is one agenda the formation of ‘self-determined’ confederal states is another objective placing puppet leaders at the helm. Foreign envoys, foreign funded NGOs are already tasked to ‘buy-over’ anyone willing to sell their soul. There are foreign lobby groups engaged too.
The next aspect is that the agenda of the Western imperialists is to march forward to their end goal and objective China. The obstacles are certainly India, Russia and Sri Lanka and each provide the Western imperialists a goal post and fulfill their strategic interests.
It is Asia’s turn of reign and in an Asia that is rising with the key superpowers of Russia, China and India it will be a game of putting one against the other so that the ‘outsiders’ can enter as ‘friends’.
If India’s national security is a concern the security of Sri Lanka must remain a concern to India as well. The general response of policy makers of the past would have been the easy option of “Indianizing” Sri Lanka’s North which works well with the 13th amendment, calls for devolution and has helped with Sri Lanka blindly allowing a steady flow of Indian “professionals” to lay the groundwork in India’s interest. This works well with the historical objective of India and meets the security objectives as well if Sri Lanka were to belong to India. Nevertheless, India not allowing Sri Lanka to fortify its own national security is likely to be detrimental for both countries. Let us not forget that both sides have officials working for the other side and not working to protecting their nation or its heritage.
The not-so-friendly past
Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation independent since 1948. Ties between Sri Lanka boasted highs during the rule of Mrs. Bandaranaike with Indian counterpart Indira Gandhi. Diplomatic niceties apart both ladies made clear what their ground rules were and that was respected. Of course public officials of those times were respectable figures and their names remain respected and untarnished on both sides of the spectrum.
Nevertheless, the same Indian leader that had cordial relations with Sri Lanka was to start a covert training of Sri Lankan unemployed Tamil youth bringing them to India clandestinely and training them to become insurgents. This piece of bitter truth remains officially unacknowledged or apologized for. It was this training with the informal agreement that Tamil Nadu would host as hub for Sri Lankan armed militant groups that kickstarted armed militancy on the slogan of ‘ethnic discrimination’. The advice that Dr. Subramaniam Swamy made to Sri Lanka to remove the ‘ethnic conflict’ tag is thus noteworthy and appreciated. The background to the 1983 riots remains incognito with the unconfirmed assumption that the riots were meant to bring out the Tamil armed groups into the open claiming they were fighting against the Sri Lankan authorities that were oppressing them. The armed militants or ‘boys’ as they were called came under direct tutelage of the Indian intelligence.
This argument needs to seriously be investigated to determine who or what was responsible for 1983 because the Sinhalese did not benefit by the act but there were enough of beneficiaries.
“Intelligence agencies (RAW) said….these are boys who were trained by us from 1977” (Dixit, Assignment Colombo)
Shri M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (affidavit no. 187/94) :”It is a well known fact that the LTTE and other Sri Lankan Militants camps were established in India ever since 1982 in tune with the policy of the Central Government at that time. The Tamil militants were given military training and allowed to have their own training camps in India.”…
“I state that the Congress Governments under the Prime Ministership of late Smt. Indira Gandhi and late Thiru Rajiv Gandhi encouraged, trained and supported the LTTE and other Tamil Militant groups.”
“RAW helped to train and arm the LTTE in the 1970s” (Council of Foreign Relations)
April 5, 1988 Wikileaks cable quotes J N Dixit that India had agreed to pay LTTE Rs.50lakhs per month which was paid in July 1987. This was to make up for the tax loss for the LTTE upon IPKF arrival. It was also a payment that sealed Prabakaran’s agreement to the Indo-Lanka Accord.
“It is a fact that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran provided sufficient finances to the LTTE to purchase arms and supplies even after the IPKF was launched against this militant group.” From “Assignment Colombo” by J N Dixit,
former Foreign Secretary and Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka
The next Indian interference came no sooner Prabakaran was cornered by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and virtually about to be taken over. The response was for India to defy Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity by giving just half an hours notice by then foreign minister Natwar Singh. Indian planes flew over Sri Lanka with the infamous parippu drop. 35 national and foreign media personnel were on these planes. That violation of airspace came on 4th June 1987 at 4pm. A crime of aggression with India telling the Sri Lankan Ambassador that any opposition would be ‘met with force’. This was before on 2nd June when India sent a flotilla which was turned back by the Sri Lankan Navy.
Then came the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord and the implementation of the 13th amendment bringing the provincial council system and amalgamating the North & East provinces claiming they were traditional Tamil homeland ignoring that Tamils were in the minority in the East after putting Sinhalese and Muslims together. Indian intelligence boasted that “We will have Prabhakaran in our custody within 72 hours.”
Again what is forgotten is that the Accord itself was drafted in secrecy (in both nations), signed under curfew with the Sri Lankan President obtaining signatures of resignations from his Ministers and no media was allowed.
India did not disarm all terrorists. India promised to protect Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial integrity but gave Rs.50m to LTTE a month while Tamil Nadu was open to
LTTE to fulfill its logistical requirements and Tamil Nadu fishermen were used as smugglers exposing lack of cooperation that the Indian Navy promised. Long overdue is the repatriation of Indian citizens residing in Sri Lanka back to India. India promised to protect all communities but Sinhalese and Muslims were under constant attack. India also created a Tamil National Army recruiting local Tamils armed by IPKF to support Chief Minister Varatharaja Perumal. This itself is sufficient to hold the Accord null & void.
It is in this manner that we can apply the Pacta Sund Servanda (pacts are meant to be honored for agreements to be valid).
It is also good for both India and Sri Lanka to realize that the 13th amendment was a local/internal arrangement. Nowhere does it say that India has to be consulted on the 13th amendment or the Provincial Council Bill. Therefore, it is time India stop the references to 13th amendment and what it wants Sri Lanka to do or not do or should do.
Moreover, the fallacies of the Accord are many. There is no such ‘areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking people who have at all times hitherto lived together in this territory’.
The Indo-Lanka Accord accompanied another nightmare for the Tamil Hindus who having embraced the Indian Peace Keepers to a heroes welcome on 30th July 1987 and were left with close to 4000 rape cases committed by Indian soldiers most of which have been tabulated by the LTTE and kept to be used. The Indian heroes soon ended up taking part in a scale of violent shooting of unarmed Tamil examples of which are the Jaffna hospital and the Velliviturrai massacre. Ironically the Sri Lankan President Premadasa got together with LTTE to send back the IPKF in an unceremonious retreat in March 1990 having accomplished little in terms of peace or disarmament of LTTE after 3 ½ years in Sri Lanka.
The next interference can be cited as the unilateral declaration of independence following elections in the merged N-E under Varatharaja Perumal of EPRLF and the airlifting Perumal to India for safety. Dayan Jayatilake was a Minister in the Perumal Government.
The mother began covert operations of Tamils, the son continued and ended up meeting his death by the same monsters that India created and it was these same monsters that the widow appealed for clemency in prison sentence and the same widow accused of using the monster to smuggle Indian artifacts out of India to be sold in Italy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-jQ5KBUKjU
The common factors
If India is facing multiple threats these threats are definitely coordinated and their players are the same that have plugged themselves to the conflict in Sri Lanka and taken over its coordination and is now championing its elevated agenda. These players have no concern for the heritage, identity, Hindu religion, Hindu ethos of India just as they do not share the heritage, identity, Buddhist ethos of Sri Lanka. What India and Sri Lanka is bound by is the Dharmic religious concept and values. The current incursions resemble an enactment of times during colonial rule when initial incursions set out to completely destroy, annihilate and suppress Hinduism and Buddhism and denationalize the natives through a carrot and stick approach. The current secular liberal policies of multiculturalism in Asia and Africa are well on course to fulfil these same objectives though the West are facing a reversal and threat by their counterpart Abrahamic religion. The Dharmic faiths must clearly declare that they wish to have no role to play in the enactment of any Biblical prophecies that are likely to lead to another world war if left unchecked.
In a diplomatic shift that is pushing India to peddle with Buddhism to realign itself to Buddhist Asia, Hindu India cannot do so alone. India may have been the birthplace of Buddha (technically it is Nepal) but India abandoned Buddhism and the credentials for being the custodian of Buddhism goes to Sri Lanka. For India to be accepted in the Buddhist world as a credible source, India needs to accompany Sri Lanka. India cannot do so alone. The same can be said of China. These are key areas that Sri Lanka-India-China can gain common ground with tremendous openings for those that are ready to not simply use Buddhism as a cosmetic tool.
Tamil Nadu factor
To reach out to Asia, India cannot afford to have trouble with regional neighbors. India should not get bogged down to domestic politics that aims to steer Central Government policies to the ransom of domestic demands. Let India not forget that the inter-changing Chief Ministers have all had links to LTTE and their supporters over the years and the Jain Commission makes reference to them too.
States are making it difficult for the Indian Central Government to have a steady relationship with neighbors. Whether India is in control of this and allows it or whether India has no control of it is a matter India needs to resolve to become a regional leader before becoming a superpower.
India will not make any headway into the Buddhist Asia if it is going to allow State petty politics to override India’s larger aspirations.
The future for India and Sri Lanka can move forward so long as both nations realize that their identity lies with the heritage that they are bound to and selects leaders and officials that wholeheartedly canvass, propagate and fosters the historical ethos in both nations. In doing so it is all the while important that India and Sri Lanka does not look upon each other as adversaries, competitors or follow a hidden strategy of gobbling up the other in the perception that might is right through gun-ho diplomacy.
Let us remind that the Hindu and Buddhist numbers diminished historically because they allowed themselves to be used as pawns and were ready to fight against each other. This same strategy time-tested to success is being again used and both sides of the Palk Strait have fallen primarily because of the carrots that determine their betrayal.
India, in particular needs to realign its strategies taking cognizance of some hard facts that make Sri Lankans forgive but not forget and bully-tactics, gun-ho diplomacy and petty theatrics makes India become a laughing stock in the eyes of observers. Maturity, forward thinking and mutually respecting policies need to emerge at diplomatic levels and for future collaborations. India must make those first steps.
– by Shenali D Waduge
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