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India appears to have done everything possible to push Colombo into Beijing’s stifling embrace

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by Ajai Sahni

If such an outcome were to be secured in Iraq or Afghanistan or, now, even in Pakistan, it would be embraced by the West as an unadulterated and righteous triumph.

In Sri Lanka, however, it appears to have provoked, across much of Europe and among the most prominent international agencies – including the United Nations (UN) – a seething and barely concealed outrage

There is a sense, not of a dreaded terrorist organisation having been defeated and destroyed, but of collaborators, comrades, fellows at arms, lost to the enemy”.

SAIR, Volume 7, No. 46, May 25, 2009

Through history, few countries in the world have had to endure a terrorist movement as protracted, vicious and intense as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) campaigns, which lasted over thirty three years and killed, on some estimates, up to 80,000 people, in a tiny country with a present population of under 21 million.

Few countries in the world have secured as clear and demonstrable victory over terrorism as has Sri Lanka, even where extraordinary and indiscriminate violence has been inflicted on large populations, as, for instance, in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where civilian settlements have been repeatedly targeted, and ‘collateral damage’ often overruns any rational proportion to legitimate targets.

And few countries in the world have restored normalcy with the speed and to the extent that Sri Lanka has in under three years. There has not been a single terrorism related fatality in the country since October 3, 2009, to the present, bringing peace to a people who had forgotten its contours over decades.

Of the estimated 290,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), resulting from the final phase of the conflict, just 6,647 (roughly 2.3 per cent) had been left to return to their places of origin by the end of 2011. On March 15, 2012, Economic Development Minister Yapa Abeywardana claimed that over 99 per cent of the IDPs had been resettled. More significantly, of the 11,700 LTTE cadres who had surrendered, 10,490 had been freed and reunited with their families, after the completion of their rehabilitation process, as on March 29, 2012.

The last remaining group of ex-LTTE cadres is scheduled for release by mid-2012, after completion of a mandatory 12-month rehabilitation and retraining process. The war ravaged North and East have also seen dramatic developmental transformations, with massive infrastructure and rehabilitation investments catalysing a 22 per cent rate of growth for the region, according to official claims, as against eight per cent for the entire country.

Crucially, a remarkable resurrection of democratic processes and structures has been secured across the country, with General, Presidential, Provincial and local body elections conducted across the country.

At the height of the final phase of the counter-terrorism campaign in the North, which eventually brought the LTTE terror to an end in May 2009, Norway and other European interlocutors had repeatedly used the threat of initiative processes for ‘war crimes’ and ‘human rights violations’ against the Sri Lankan state, to force the Colombo to end its increasingly successful operations against the LTTE, even as Velupillai Prabhakaran, the then LTTE Chief, and the besieged terrorist cadres surrounded themselves with a human shield of civilians to thwart Security Force (SF) operations.

As President Mahinda Rajapakse declared unambiguously on May 22, 2009, “There are some who tried to stop our military campaign by threatening to haul us before war crimes tribunals. They are still trying to do that, but I am not afraid.” This group of minor and frustrated European powers have now roped in the US to push an agenda that they failed to impose through a perverse ‘peace process’, which kept a virulent terrorist movement alive for years, with increasing international sanction and legitimacy.

This is the essence of the gratuitous resolution passed by United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 22, 2012, by a vote of 24 in favour, 15 against and eight abstentions. Crucially and disgracefully, at the last moment, India chose to cast its vote in support of a hypocritical, divisive and essentially unproductive resolution that demanded, among other things, that Sri Lanka “present, as expeditiously as possible, a comprehensive action plan detailing the steps that the Government has taken and will take” to implement “the constructive recommendations in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” (LLRC).

It is significant that India had dithered almost to the last moment on its vote, and eventually decided to go with the US sponsored resolution because of domestic political considerations – increasing pressures from the United Progressive Alliance Government’s ally, the Tamil Nadu regional party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). This has been duly noted by the leadership in Colombo, with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, observing.

The most distressing feature of this experience is the obvious reality that voting at the Human Rights Council is now determined not by the merits of a particular issue but by strategic alliances and domestic political issues in other countries which have nothing to do with the subject matter of a Resolution or the best interests of the country to which the Resolution relates. This is a cynical negation of the purposes for which the Human Rights Council was established.

Peiris’ obvious reference was to the UPA’s conundrum with political allies in the State of Tamil Nadu. As usual, and despite its vote against Sri Lanka, New Delhi continued in its efforts to straddle two boats at once, seeking credit for ‘diluting’ the content of the draft resolution to make it ‘non-intrusive’, even as the official spin, thereafter, has sought to justify the decision to vote in favour of the resolution on the grounds that the process for devolution of power was “not moving forward” in Sri Lanka. One unnamed ‘official source’ stated in the media, “Many promises were made (by Sri Lanka) but very little has been done. The rehabilitation process has proceeded well, in fact better than in countries like Cambodia but the political process is not happening. The devolution (of power) is not moving forward.”

This, then, appears to be the crux of India’s official justification for its feckless vote: that Colombo has failed to implement a formula for devolution of power in the North and East which would be acceptable to all Tamil groupings in the country (and their sympathisers in India). But adopting the political objective – devolution of power – of one ethnic grouping as the minimum definition of ‘resolution’ of the conflict in Sri Lanka is both arbitrary and absurd.

The issue of devolution of power is a purely domestic political issue and, whatever their divergent preferences, no other country or international institution has any business telling the Sri Lankans how they should govern themselves, or what shape they must give to their Constitution. Certainly not India, which has numberless difficulties in accommodating the aspirations of its own many ethnic, religious, linguistic and regional minorities, and which has dealt with utter inhumanity with the millions who have been displaced by predatory development processes initiated and supported by the state, as well as with IDPs from a multiplicity of conflicts in different regions, where significant populations remain, often in utter destitution, in primitive ‘relief camps’, at least in some cases, decades after the proclaimed end of a conflict. New Delhi, in any event, has no more business interfering in domestic arrangements for devolution of power in Sri Lanka, than Colombo has intervening in fractious Centre-State relations in India.

The US has as little reason or legitimacy to intervene in this particular case. As one commentator has rightly noted,

US war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Vietnam, are of more grievous nature. Estimates of the number of Iraqis killed after the American invasion of Iraq, vary from 66,081 (according to WikiLeaks cables) and 601,000 (according to an international study). In Afghanistan, the number of civilian deaths caused by US military actions is estimated to be between 9,415 and 29,007. All this is apart from documented instances of torture of Iraqis and Afghans in the custody of British and American forces. The estimates of Libyan civilians killed in the Anglo-French bombing of their country have not yet been published. During Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed. These included 27,639 LTTE cadre, 23,327 Sri Lankan soldiers and 1,155 Indian soldiers.

For the US, however, events in this little Island nation, thousands of miles from its own mainland, have little domestic or strategic resonance, and Washington’s sponsorship of the resolution can simply be attributed to a little horse trading and politically correct posturing with European friends and allies. For India, however, this decision could be potentially devastating. New Delhi has sought to pretend that its support to the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka would have no enduring impact on relations between the two countries, but given recent history, such a position is nothing less than wishful.

Indeed, over the past years, India appears to have done everything possible to push Colombo into Beijing’s stifling embrace. Over the decades, moreover, Colombo has forgiven New Delhi many specific wrongs, including India’s support to various armed anti-state Tamil formations – including the LTTE – in the early phases of terrorism in Sri Lanka. Yet, Sri Lanka remains one of the only countries in the world where an Indian is received with exceptional warmth and affection.

Significantly, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Peiris had noted, in the immediate aftermath of the UNHRC vote, “Many countries which voted with Sri Lanka were acutely conscious of the danger of setting a precedent which enables ad hoc intervention by powerful countries in the internal affairs of other nations.”The reality is that issues at this and other international fora are subject to unprincipled lobbying, opportunistic horse trading and irresponsible posturing, and not to considered adjudication or informed evaluation.

The irony of the situation was quickly brought to New Delhi’s attention, as, within days of the Sri Lanka resolution, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns, released a report, on March 30, 2012, with sweeping and ill-informed judgements on the situation in India, and a call for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) on the grounds that, among others, that,

“This law was described to be as hated by some of the people I spoke to, and a member of a state human rights commission called it draconian.” Heynes argued, further, “The repeal of this law will not only bring domestic law more in line with international standards, but also send out a powerful message that instead of a military approach, the government is committed to respect for the right to life of all people in the country under a ordinary law and order and human rights dispensation.” The report appears remarkable in its ignorance of the actual content and provisions of the AFSPA, of the jurisprudence on the subject, and on the actual character and content of human rights violations in Indian theatres of conflict. Nevertheless, the conclusions and recommendations of the report are expected to be put up to the UNHRC at a future session some time in 2013, and will, eventually, also be put to vote. It will be interesting to see what species of horse trading defines the outcome of this process, and whether Colombo will chose to forgive India’s present betrayal, or exact vengeance at that time.

Eventually, of course, India’s support to the anti-Sri Lanka resolution belongs in the same dustbin of history to which the resolution itself will eventually be consigned, as will the Rapporteur’s statement on AFSPA.

There are, of course, certain issues that New Delhi needs to take up with Colombo, and at least some of these relate to domestic compulsions in both India and Sri Lanka, as well as to the rights and status of particular ethnic or minority groupings. New Delhi needs to remember, however, that the extraordinary rehabilitation and normalization processes in Sri Lanka’s North and East were the result, not of international or Indian pressure, but of Colombo’s own political intent and will. India would do well to remember, moreover, that nations that proclaim a true friendship – and not the diplomatic dodge of ‘friendly relations’ – best resolve their differences in private, and not through theatrical and empty posturing at international fora.

A fairly corrupt, brutalized and predatory Indian state would also do best to refrain from preaching morality to others till it has set and met at least minimal standards of governance and morality in its own sphere of control. Only a policy based on these realizations can repair the damage done by the ill-conceived vote at the UNHRC courtesy: South Asia Intelligence Review

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54 Comments

  1. India appears to have done everything possible to push Colombo into Beijing’s stifling embrace

    —-
    India has acted in the best interests of Srilanka. The uncrowned super power, mighty China has come closer to Srilanka, to invest and develop the third world country to a higher altitude.

    It is a wonder, why some one should complain about this?

  2. New Delhi: Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the man who India blames for 26/11, $10 million reward that has been offered by the US for assistance in capturing the militant.

    NOW THIS MAN IS NO THREAT TO THE USA.. SO NOW WE SEE THE REWARD OR ARM TWISTING THAT HAPPEND AT THE UNHCR FOR INDIAS VOT AGAINST SRI-LANKA.. ALL POLITICS.. HUMAN RIGHTS.. HA HA HA WHAT A JOKE.. lANKA SHOULD DISTANCE FROM INDIA AS LOOK TOWARDS CHINA..

  3. India’s selfish attitude has made her last friendly neighbor away from her. My parents generation used to respect India as “mother india”. Not the present generation or the generations yet to come. India’s recent selfish acts (From Indira’s time to present) have put the present generation to hate India.

    When/If India goes to war with China or Pakistan, it should know that it cannot rely upon any of her neighbors.

    Just my opinion. Hope I am wrong.

  4. “Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) campaigns, which lasted over thirty three years and killed, on some estimates, up to 80,000 people, in a tiny country with a present population of under 21 million.”

    Compared with 1,000,000 tamils killed by Indian and Sri Lanka terror states, 80,000 is a moderate amount and the LTTE appears to be a much civilised and democratic organisation than the genocide co partners India and Sri Lanka.

  5. Dear Ajai Sahni,
    it is a well written article, but coloured by racism and Sinhala-chauvinism. Do you think the IPKF terrorists were dressing the wounds of the civilians? What about our saints???????????????????????????????.

  6. Everyone talks of “terrorism” little do they talk of its causes..

    Everyone talks how “barbaric” LTTE was, but no one dares to talk about the visuals of “killing fields” and the barbaricness in it.

    Everyone talks of USA and its war crimes and take pride in China, but little do they question their moral when the same USA helped in all forms to fight LTTE..

    Everyone talks of “IDPs re-settled”, little do they about where they are actually “re-settled” and what their present situation is..

    Everyone talks about India’s btrayal, little do they about Lanak’s role in 1962 Indo-China war which continues to this date in to Hambontota Harbour..

  7. I am afraid India has ‘shot itself in the foot’ being the only country in Asia to side with the Americans on a resolution that has ‘no teeth’ for enforcement. India will rue the day it succumbed to American and Tamil Nadu pressure, as it has left itself open to similar UNHRC resolutions on Jamunu/Kashmir and the aftermath of various separatist’s movements in India.

    India has succeeded in isolating a good neighbour and friend in Sri Lanka who has been sympathetic to its security vulnerability in the south of the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka will now bide its time and will not be rash in its actions. Sri Lanka will slowly but steadily move away from New Delhi and the one nation to gain the most will be China. Already in a subtle way additional taxes are being put on Indian imports. The allocation of oil exploration rights in the Gulf of Mannar will also favour China and Russia to the detriment of India. All this will be clothed in astute diplomacy that the Sri Lankans excel at.

    India has yet to learn from its past mistakes that America does not have friends in other nations but only aspects that pander to its influence and interests. The sooner India learns this ultimate truth the better it will be for India. Unfortunately India has not learned this important lesson. Historically interference by India in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka has been detrimental to India. Sri Lanka has been magnanimous in forgiving India for the arming and training afforded to the LTTE in the past and relations with India have been excellent since, but now despite New Delhi’s political spin the omens do not look good for India.

  8. Which way Sri Lanka goes is its own business. India, by voting for a UNHRC resolution, thanks to pressure brought on by Jayalalitha, Karunanidhi and similar, has pushed little Sri Lanka into the waiting hands of China and Russia.

    We all know that when comparing development and progress, monetary and otherwise, China is leagues ahead of both India and the European Union. India when compared to China (even though India has the bomb and some technology) is miles behind efficiency, clean water, decent roads, buildings, toilets and in cleanliness.

    My personal experience in India showed me of some new buildings mushrooming in highly populated shanty towns. In fact India is one big jungle of shanties with very poor people overcrowded into them. Then one hears of obscenely rich people living in palaces and movie stars showing the poor and the ignorant a dreamworld. The ministers elected by the people are so obviously and viciously corrupt.

    It is to Sri Lanka’s advantage and benefit to be in the Chinese camp. The Tamil Nadu factor will be the ultimate (and dreaded) severance of friendly relationships between India and Sri Lanka. The tamils in Sri Lanka will be caught in between and will be the ultimate victims

    All in all it was a bad gamble by India at the UNHRC.

    JP/USA

  9. compare the internal struggle of Tamils of Sri Lanka for justice to that of Iraq or Afghanistan or, now, even in Pakistan and Iran.

    My dear Ajay which planet are you living or did you come from?

  10. Excellant observation from Ajai Sahni. Indian political mandarins always support Americans even the Americans supports Pakistan over decades. Now India knows how and why countries surround India do not support India. India always accept the pressures from the WEST. 1962 Indo-China war emanated after the Indian betrayal of China by allowing USA to plant an atomic powered SPY machine in Tibet! Indian rulers do not behave like good friens or neighbours. My ancestoral country is still a slave country.

    Tamil Nadu which is run by corrupt DMK parties. These DMK parties and their “father” DK wanted the continuation of British rule in India. If India bow down to its domestic pressures and problems, does India support EELAM and LTTE in the future?

    Further India or USA cannot stop Sri Lanka and its dealings with China. China never interfere in the internal affairs of Sri lanka. Sri Lanka and India have a long history of cultural and other relations. It does not mean the present British made India has any rights to interfere in internal matters.

    13th Amendment was a good arrangement to solve the problem forever. But it was destroyed by the LTTE and UNP Sinhalese. Dont these Indians know how the pro-indian elements are destroyed by LTTE in Sri Lanka? Not only that the LTTE killed Rajiv Gandhi, architect of the 13th amendment.

    In Tamil Nadu the political parties demand the release of the Rajiv killers. In some Tamil news papers some TN politicians shamelessly claim the killers are innocent. Tamils of Tamil Nadu shamelessly support criminals and frauds as their representatives.

    Sri Lankans cannot accept any demand from India come through Tamil Nadu where LTTE propagandas are still going on. Look at the comments of “SUHASINI”. She tell us one million Tamils were killed and praised the LTTE for killing 80,000 Tamils. After the census the LTTE propagandists are unable to substantiate their bogus claims.

    Even many LTTE diaspora orgs import some TN based idiots to their meetings with the sole purpose of Sri lanka bashing. One Paul Newman once said in Toronto that surrendered LTTE cardres are not rehabilitated but Samabanthan of TNA praised the rehabilitation efforts of the Sri lankan government. This guy further said Tamil war widows are prostitutes and they are working with the army. This kind of “lies” come from TN pro-LTTE coolies.

    TN fools must know this kind of bogus stories or propagandas cannot intimidate Sri Lanka!

  11. This article may taste bitter for all the ‘tiger lovers’, but it’s so true.

    However, I do not believe (and I certainly hope not) that there will be a drastic divergence in the multi-dimensional relationship which has developed between India & Sri Lanka. The only difference being that Sri Lanka has clearly understood the limits of India’s diplomatic assistance to Sri lanka especially with regards to Tamil nadu politics. Hence, SL will have to factor those limitations in future policy making/ diplomacy.

    With regards to China, I think India should understand & interpret the actual scope & depth of Sri lanka’s relationship with China. This relationship is based on Sri lanka’s realization of the economic & political strength & potential global influence of China in the not too distant future. Being in denial of this reality would be a mistake.This relationship has no military dimension whatsoever and will never develop into one which will be a threat to the security of India.

    However, Sri lanka being a small island nation, just lifting herself up from a disastrous 30 yr military conflict needs all the assistance she can get especially on the economic front. China is a country, unlike the US who does less ‘preaching’ to the world and focuses more on building business partnerships which are mutually beneficial.It would be downright stupid of Sri lanka to not accept ‘business’ from China just because Indian policy makers are ‘suspicious’ of China’s intentions. Apart from the well documented mega infrastructure projects, China will be investing US$ 50 Billion on building/ developing the hambantota port city. This investement happens to be the largest foreign investment in Sri lankan history by a long way.
    The policy of Sri lanka is to maintain good relations with as many countries as possible, and to not get ‘pushed or pulled’ into any alliances. This policy will definitely continue and so no one should be surprised if Sri lanka continues to build and further develop relationships with both India & China at the same time.
    On the political/ diplomacy front, India should also realise that China is in a position to provide certain services which India cannot deliver. For instance, China being in the UNSC has the all important ‘veto power’, which most probably will come into play some time in the near future with regards to Sri lanka. And so, the bitter truth is that whether India likes it or not, Sri lanka & China will continue to ‘romance’.

  12. From 1983 to 2008 Ltte Killed 1, 58,974 Sinhala unarmed civilians. from 1970 to 20008 from North and east 89.797 were chased way by Ltte to south this called LTTE etchnic clensing. from 1970 to 1983 – New tamil tigers to Ltte killed 693 sinhala people in North and chased away 18, 694 by threatning, looting and raping, how about that tamils ?? do you have any justice for this , Sinhalese also deserve this justice from Ltte bullets.

  13. Originally with the help of the Union Govt., Tamil Nadu trained LTTE terrorist to fight against Sri Lanka. During the 30 years war, every battle LTTE was winning SL request help from India. India abandon SL. Guess who helped. It was Pakistan and China. When SL forces winning against LTTE at Vadamarachi, India stop the war. Oops India you did it again at UNHCR.
    India’s Eve ate the apple given by American Adam. Unlike Pakistan and China, India never helped Sri Lanka when it is needed. Who is the real friend of Sri Lanka. Friend in need, Friend indeed.

  14. you seem to know very little about Sri lanka. Nobody can teach you. First learn about Sri lanka its internal politics, its ethnic composition, its history etc and try to teach/preach others.

    Your article reminds me of a proverb ‘blind leading the blind’.

  15. See the Myanmar, They been supported for many decades. But Myanmar junta has realized, Chinese only interested in business and export. they are no major buyers or developers. in longer term the SL will realize the same truth..

  16. One cannot believe that every one supporting Sri Lanka is condemning the resolution in Geneva which simply calls for implementation of the LLRC recommendations.
    LLRC was appointed by its President (MR) who is all powerful and had selected his own favourties as members of this commission.
    The purpose of appointing LLRC was to deflect the UN Expert Panel, which recommends an international investigation
    into alleged war crime by the SL Government.
    In the past some commission reports about ethnic issue in Sri Lanka were not even published and recommendations of other commissions were never implemented. The whole world knows that this LLRC recommendations too will not be implemented by this Govt. Hence this request by the UN.

  17. Both Ajai Sahni here and Sathyamurthi below have provided valuable insight into Sri Lankan communal issue post-Geneva 2011, from a broader perspective. Sathyamurthy has done better by looking at things from a rational historical perspective- probably a first for a journalist writing on Sri Lanka.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  18. What a great demolition job on this hypocritical Indian US alliance.

    There is no way Dr Manmohan Singh would have put his signature to this betrayal, unless he wasn’t forced by Mrs Gandhi.

    Dr Singh, is a visionary leader, but has to obey the instructions of mediocre part time politicians.

    That is the problem with India and that is what prevents India ever becoming a world player.

    India has lost credibilty among the Nations in the region which are most important to her..

    India’s loss is Srilanka’s gain, with China becoming the closest ally and friend.

    The great majority of Srilanka inhabitants will brand this outcome as a “Warm and Affectionate Beiging Embrace”.

  19. Whether India has done the correct thing or not by voting for the resolution,time will only tell. What i would say is that India voted on the side of justice and as history shows justice always wins. As i have stted earlier, srilanka is a foreign policy failure for India. Naturally India has acted on the advice of opinion makers such as this writer and has fallen into this sorry plight. Look at what is happening in Myanmar. While Indian policy makers changed their stance of appeasing Myanmar military junta, USA kept on the confrontational pressure and finally Myanmar authorities have relented. They not only cancelled a irrigation dam project by China but also held elections and released political prisoners. This clearly shows that what USA could do India cannot and as long as the current policy makers are in place, India will be incapable rising to a top position. Time has come to show the stick to Srilanka as it is the only language that the ruling Sinhala elite understand. I hope India which took the correct step, stop listening to these incompetent people and go on this track to bring Srilanka down to its knees.

  20. Merlin Van Tweest writes about the Indians siding with the Americans on a resolution that has ‘no teeth’ for enforcement however fails to recognise (like his President) that this is merely a warning shot before the next UNHRC meeting where more ‘teeth’ will surely be added if SL again shoots itself in the foot in its brave diplomatic war against USA.

    Merlin then continues to write about India leaving itself open ‘to similar UNHRC resolutions on Jamunu/Kashmir’ though seems to forget that the US needs a strong India to act as a stabilising presence (and counterweight to China) in the Asian region which is why UK and US leaders bend over themselves to praise India whilst miserable Mahinda gets ignored on his trips abroad (see Oxford Union 2010).

    Merlin then hilariously writes about ‘a friend’ in Sri Lanka who has been sympathetic to India’s security vulnerability though our dear friend seems to forget about the extensive help offered by Sri Lanka to Pakistani pilots to refuel during the 1971 Bangladesh war (one of many such incidents) as well as the frequent anti-Indian vitriol commonly spewed by Sinhala chauvinist elements in the press and (regrettably) in public office.

    Merlin continues in his optimistic tone by saying ‘all this will be clothed in astute diplomacy that the Sri Lankans excel at’, which does not seem to be the experience shared by the the rest of us following SL’s humiliation in Geneva despite the full effort of the heralded SL diplomatic corps. This may be why Mahinda got unneccessarily hot-tempered and looks set to fire his ambassador to France, Dayan Jayatilleka, for making some sensible comments about Sri Lanka’s current international predicament.

    I was confused however by Merlin’s comments about America not having ‘friends in other nations but only aspects that pander to its influence and interests’ because I’m noticing how nations like Burma and North Korea (Chinese satellite states if ever there was one) are now making agreements with this same ‘friendless’ USA with no allies when surely such nations should stay as they are (also having land borders with China) and continue brutalising their people and media like Merlin’s President.

    The ever positive Merlin ends with the vague threat to 1 billion-strong India about ‘the omens’ not looking good for India however if I was a betting man, I would probably want to be in India’s camp rather than plucky Sri Lanka who are under the UN’s gaze and are having regular internationally-acclaimed horrific programmes made about them by the respected Jon Snow and his Channel 4 news team.

  21. According to Ajai Sahani “normalcy has been established within a short time frame following the end of the war and a remarkable resurrection of the democratic process and structure has been has been restored in the country,with General,Presidential,Provincial and local body elections conducted throughout the country”

    But why has he conspicously missed to mention if the said elections were conducted in a fair and free manner?
    Does not that expose his real thoughts about the regime and should have given a different headline to his article.

  22. In my view, the statement “India appears to have done everything possible to push Colombo into Beijing’s stifling embrace” was only true before the UNHCR reolution that was passed in Geneva recently.

    I believe that the US, which considers India as a friend in the region, was frustrated with India’s impotance and not living upto its standard as a regional super power has now taken the lead lead in India’s backyard with India’s forced approval by aligning with TN strongly.

    The US cannot sabotage its intersts in the region because India was strugging from impotancy. The message is loud and clear to India. Man up India to protect your interests in the region, let alone mine. Realizing India is losing SL and other small countries in the region to China, US must have come to a conclusion that its regional ally is not measuring up to its task and decided to take the lead in the region.

    If I am correct, upholding human rights and achieving a political solution for Tamils in SL will be a welcomed by the public in the region, of course, not by those majority states in the region who do not flare well in these troubled subjects. When the public in the region sees the good deals delivered by the US, it will welcome USA with both arms open pushing aside China. The states in the region will have a hard time containing their public.

    Therefore, solving the SL Tamil problem with US involvement might make a stylish entry into this region by the US for its own interests and for its impotant friend, India’s interest.

  23. The article states:

    “New Delhi, in any event, has no more business interfering in domestic arrangements for devolution of power in Sri Lanka, than Colombo has intervening in fractious Centre-State relations in India.”

    Oh yes it does. Because it interfered on behalf of both sides throughout this war. India has an opinion on Sri-Lanka – that it will never allow Eelam – and it has acted on this opinion throughout, getting involved in Sri-Lanka’s business. Going against the LTTE or the creation of an Eelam is just as much as getting involved in Sri-Lanka’s business as asking Sri-Lanka to implement devolution. Even during the final war and even at international fora prior to this UNHRC meeting, India supported one side – the Sri-Lankan government – over the other, going out of its way to protect the Sri-Lankan regime. So it already had got involved with Sri-Lanka’s business. It cannot now say that it is not its business anymore, just as much as an Indian defacating infront of his neighbor’s house, then walks across to his house and claims that that is not his business anymore. If India wanted to stay out of Sri-Lanka’s business, it should have stayed out completely, siding with neither side in the conflict and not acting against any of the parties involved in the conflict – it should have been oblivious to the creation of an Eelam or not. India can’t have its cake and eat it too. The author of this article, as much as India, should learn to stop being hypocrites and stop choosing and changing their moral stands based on the circumstances. If you want to take a moral stand of speaking the truth, speak it always, not just when it suits you or is to your advantage.

  24. 2 points, everybody seems to miss:
    1) ’83 riots on Tamils had the Srilankan state’s approval. If SL was swift in ensuring that justice was done quickly & visibly, India wouldn’t have created LTTE.

    2) Since India created LTTE, it stands to reason that, India can create another LTTE. The author’s strategic gamble with China would seem suicidal.

    Good luck, to all lankans. Treat tamils in your country with dignity.

  25. A few corrections jc nars! Whilst the failure of the SL govt to respond adequately to 1983 riots provided fresh recruits to Prabhakaran’s terror outfit, please understand that LTTE was trained by Indian RAW (along with several other Tamil militant groups) before 1983. The Indians had realised by then the dublicitous nature of the Sinhala ruling elite, who were given much needed support to India’s enemies like Pakistan in 1971 war as well as mistreating its own Tamil population, many of whom were forced to seek refuge in India.

    “India can create another LTTE” – somehow I doubt the Indian establishment will be rushing to create Prabhakaran No.2 given how the original caused such mischief for India and led to the death of their Prime Minister. More likely India will now be working more closely with the US & the West to contain Chinese expansion so you have to admire the idiocy of the SL govt supporters who declare proudly how they will prosper as a Chinese vassal state given how similar nations like Burma and North Korea are now frantically trying to cut deals with this same USA and her allies.

  26. There is a difference between treating tamils and the way we treat ‘tigers’. We will treat the tamils with dignity, but we will treat the ‘tigers’ who continue to adavnce the ‘Eelam project’ in the language they understand.

    Good luck to all ‘tiger lovers’.

  27. T”he article doesn’t seem to be writen by Director of an institute, but by a frustrated soul! Very True. If the SL govt had genuineley cared for ots Tamil People, it wont be neccessary for any country to intervene. If you dont lokk after your wife and children your Neighbour will step in mate !!!! You cannt say the SL Govt has done its part re Tamil aspirations but of course they are looking after Tamil Paramilitaries Ex LTTE KP !!! Doesnt this itself show devious intent !!! Sri Lanka has never let Tamils live in self respect and Dignity except the paramilitaries & thier now LTTE friends. Tmail in SL are not LTTE or Paramilitary we want to live with dignity, self respect and preserve and maintain our language & culture. We are only asking for genuine space, if SL can do this there will be no need for any outside help. China is country with double standards , they dont undertstand culture, language or any thing else and only understnd power & domination and money that too by and for a slected few

  28. I feel some Ravanas here talk bad of Great India
    India is a very very powerful country . we are extremly rich compare to the tiny poor Ravanas Land
    We have more amd more amd more beautiful places all over India . So stop bashing India Lankan beggers
    You beggers do not have anything other than beaches and Ravana faces ( large ear like ugly Ravana)
    Malaysia is a very very rich country compare to Lanka . Tamils in Malaysia are treated very well unlike Thamilians in Lanka. There are Thamilians in Singapore who are treated very well
    Only in Lanka Thamilains are killed raped tortured since 1947

    There is no escape now . International comunity is after you Ravanas
    If they can kill and arrest Gadday and Sadam Hussin why you think it is difficult to capture criminals in Lanka
    Do not be foolish
    China is not going to help you . Countries like Singapore Malaysia are already pressing China to backaway
    There are Thamilians in Malaysia and Singapore play important role in the Governmants who are friends with China

    Best option is to (a) surrender and go to Hague
    (b) Keep a picture of Amma ( Madam Jayalalitha) and ask her for forgivness for all the horrible crimes you all committed against Thamils

    Bye Bye Ravanas

  29. Absolute truth! Ajani has seen the true nature and this the is view held by non racist Srilankans. Even though it is not clear if India’s support to USA will push Sri Lanka towards China, it can have long lasting black mark agaisnt India as it acted against a friendly SAARC country and who wuld trust India in future.

  30. The good old Uncle Sam has rewarded India immediately after She voted with the US on the UNHRC resolution. The US has announced a USD 10 million bounty on Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The biggest question is, unlike Taliban, this Kashmiri separatist group has never attacked the US or Western interests. So why is this sudden interest of US about this guy? Even if he is handed over to US, how can he be persecuted in US, under what charge? if he is the mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks why didn’t India take any action when the whole world knows that he is in Pakistan?

    The funniest things about that announcement is Hafiz Saeed is openly living in Pakistan, and yesterday after the reward announcement was made he appeared at a news conference and mocked the US.

  31. “you seem to know very little about Sri lanka. Nobody can teach you. First learn about Sri lanka its internal politics, its ethnic composition, its history etc and try to teach/preach others.”

    So says the resident Indian expert on Sri Lanka who is continuing to displays a breathtaking knowledge on everything Sri Lankan.

  32. Thanks DBS for providing this article and Ajai sahni, well done. keep it up. You have done the duty of real journialist. It is our duty to unveil the truth without any fear.
    No doubt about that, by their decision India has lost her position as a regional power. India failed to recognized the issue that all Asian countries could understand. Being the democratic leader in the Asian region India has now gain the position of USA puppet in Asia.

    We can’t give up India as easy we think. But India has forgotten her blood relationship with Sri lanka by the names of Tamil nadu racist. Rather than being with a bad sister it is healthy and wealthy for us to be with our best friend.

    India’s move towards USA will isolated India in the region and one day it will bring calamity to India. On that day Sri lanka will come forward to help India by the names of our blood relatonship.

  33. Ranjan of Toronto writes ‘the good old Uncle Sam has rewarded India immediately after She voted with the US on the UNHRC resolution’. To which my reply would be- why didn’t the SL govt trump any such offer with their own concessions instead of doing nothing about ethnic problem whilst allowing China to swarm all over Southern Province?? Are you surprised now Ranjan that India has abandoned its tiny neighbour?

  34. Yet, Sri Lanka remains one of the only countries in the world where an Indian is received with exceptional warmth and affection. – NOT ANYMORE..!!

  35. Dear Dr Baharath,
    I am amused by your comments, thats where the real ELAM thoughts get out of the bag. So dear I don;t know what kind of a Dr are you, but keep it in mind that Sri Lanka is Sri lanka and not Tamil ELAM.
    Dear friends, just look at the way that learner ed man has written about the article and we can understand how he is treating his own family. However all know of your future agenda of the ELAM. Its not about tiny part of Sri Lanka, its about circle including Tamil nadu, part of Malayasia and part of Singappore as well. So for that you tried to de-established the tiny nation like Sri lanka as it is the politically weak and easy to break apart unlike india and other countries. So you have well said on this to earn a country to you ppl. Anyway we know that who are the beggars in terms of lack of country. You can beg it from US or from all other countries. Poor beggars! We may be beggars as you termed out comparing to India, but we are not beggars in terms of kind heart and soul. Be aware all the world in one day get into the truth then try to find some place to go and hide. If you want I have a picture of president Rajapaksha to keep it with you rather than keeping you b’ful Ammma. Thanks.

  36. Rawana you are a psycho !!! These loose talk over the years has divided the nation. Stop treating Tamils by viewing them with your pscho eyes. We are part and parcel of Sri Lanka, we want to live with dignity and self respect and not ruled military hooligans. People like you created the LTTE and still trying to survive on the hysteria !

  37. @Suhasini
    are you that stupid, read again, they say that 80.000 people died in total in the war, victems of both Sri Lanka and LTTE.
    and your LTTE is not Demogratic it had a Fuher/leader like Adolf Hitler who give the orders around

  38. What Ajani & some others have written is wishy washy. India would not have taken the decision to support the US resulution lightly. Sri Lanka has never been a friend of India & cannot be trusted. Sri Lanka needs India more than India needs Sri Lanka. Many of these Chinesse lovers live in western countries instead of China. They will never learn chinese, go & live there etc. If these people think China is great, then go & live there instead of western countries.
    Ravidha talks about LTTE raping Singhalese. Even to date, the Sri Lanka government or anyon else has not alleged LTTE cardes treating women like the way the Army has treated Tamil women as shown by Channel 4.
    It was US,UK, India & the like which helped to defeat the LTTE. Sri Lanka promised these countries that they are only after the LTTE & would deliver a solution once the LTTE is defeated. The intentions of the Sri Lankan government is veru clear to everyone now. So, stop blaming these countries just because they want justice & a solution for the ethnic problems.

  39. Am I surprised that India abandoned Sri Lanka? No. In diplomacy there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. However, Indian action will come back to bite them one day. Go read about Armed Forces Special Powers act of India and what UN Special Rapporteur has to say about that.

    As for allowing China to swarm al over South???? In your delusional dreams may be. If one country invests in another countries economy does that mean the first country is swarming all over the second? So that must mean India is also swarming all over Sri Lanka as the Indian investments in the country is at an all time high.

  40. Ranjan, Toronto stated “The biggest question is, unlike Taliban, this Kashmiri separatist group has never attacked the US or Western interests. So why is this sudden interest of US about this guy?”

    Please read my post above. I think all pieces are falling in to their place. We all know that US and India are friends (may be forced to be friends against the growing China) and when the weaker friend is not man enough to handle the situations in her backyard, which puts both frinds interest at danger, the stronger friend is taking over the situation. Secretary of State Ms.Clinton’s visit to TN to meet with Ms.Jaya last year was no accident and to make allies at the right places in the region and to win Indian central govt’s agreement for the new US strategy. I also heard a story that US in setting up a huge naval base in an Australian island.

    If I am correct, the US is planning to make a big entry in the Indian ocean, closer to China, to limit China’s influence in Asia and may be to a handfull of Affrican countries. The US may feel like our neighbor in the future even though they are tens of thousands of miles away from our countries.

  41. What a well written article which not only exposes USA,s double standards but the agony that they have brought upon India.
    Ajai Sahni , the comments and more importantly your analysis of the situation have been well received by a very large majority but it has also been a bitter pill to a few who continue to believe that India could bully it’s neighbor and yet continue to flagrantly violate the very human rights they portray to uphold. Quite right when you said that India should refrain from preaching morality to it’s neighbors, rather they should get their own house in order at least to a little extent.
    I believe, like most others who have commented on this article, that India lost the plot and may have to pay a heavy price for it.

  42. Jazz

    I wonder about your treatment of Tamils 1956, 1971,1977, 1983 and so on, In first place did they asked from you, are they guest (oppressed) in Sri Lanka ? India may be not having perfect record on Human Rights but definitely not worse like china or Sri Lanka also to note India is striving to bring about a value based system in terms of economic-socio and politics and she has proven record, Indian identity is multi ethnic multi cultre, not an animal(Lion) with sword. What about Sri lanka or China

  43. To my namesake Ramanan (at least I can use my real name, are you ashmamed of your sinhala one?) – “India is also swarming all over Sri Lanka as the Indian investments in the country is at an all time high”. Come dear chap! If the Indians were building Trincomalee port in the same way Chinese contractors were building Hambantota then I could say fair-dos. However it is clear to most observors that SL has done little to bring the Indians on side at such a crucial juncture as a UN vote. Is there no one intelligent in Mahinda’s cabinent who could have forseen the pressure Tamil Nadu parties were going to exert over a weak central govt thus took action to counter it by giving more incentives and benefits to India? This is a historical blunder which will come back to bite SL in 2013 after Obama’s re-election and with India due to vote in 2014. Congress are now with the Tamils (if just for TN votes) so people need to deal with it instead of complaining.

  44. To my friend Jay- “Indian identity is multi ethnic multi cultre, not an animal(Lion) with sword”. The Indians were lucky that the first leader of their country after independance was a liberal, decent person in Nehru. Even when Pakistan was being created, he fought against Hindu nationalists in his own Congress (like Sardar Patel) to allow Muslims to stay behind in India. When Tamil Nadu politicians were agitating against Hindi, he was sensitive to their concerns and allowed English to be used as a subsidiary langauage and thus not put his Tamil population at a disadvanatage. We need to compare such a leader with the idiots who commonly got elected in Sri Lanka after independance on the back of sinhala chauvinism. The Tamils in South India never forgot about Nehru and his vision which is why the vast majority of them wanted to see LTTE banned after they murdered his grandson Rajiv. Hopefully now that LTTE is completely out the picture, SL Tamils can resume their close ties and friendship with the Indian state (including Nehru-Gandhi family) and its people.

  45. I agree with Ramanan sir

    We Indians hated LTTE for what they did to Rajiv Gandhi
    We have lot of sympathy for our Lankan Thamilians
    Rawana sir
    I am sorry for calling names at your people . I was wrong I was mad and I called sinhalase as ravanas
    You have to understand Thamilians in lanka were killed in 58,74, 77, 83
    We Indians have more rights to see a solution for Thamils to live in dignity

    I saw thousands of Thamils came to India as Refugees ,We took care of them

    What happened in 2009 is beyond imagination
    The World is asking for justice for Thamils
    I am 100% sure Every criminal who killed raped innocent Thamilians will be arrested or killed

  46. I think the post attributed to Ramanan on April 5, 2012 at 9:09 am is mine.
    I hate when that happens.

  47. Dr. Bharath says “The World is asking for justice for Thamils
    I am 100% sure Every criminal who killed raped innocent Thamilians will be arrested or killed”

    would you include your glorious solders of IPKF in that group?

  48. Dear Uthungan

    But why has he conspicously missed to mention if the said elections were conducted in a fair and free manner?

    Which elections were not conducted in a free and fair manner?

  49. Dear Mahesh

    you seem to know very little about Sri lanka. Nobody can teach you. First learn about Sri lanka its internal politics, its ethnic composition, its history etc and try to teach/preach others.

    Can you tell us what you know about Sri Lanka: its internal politics, ethnic composition, history etc?

  50. Dr Bharath

    I was wrong I was mad and I called sinhalase as ravanas

    That is ok. There are many Indian Tamils who identify themselves as Dravidian Ravanas opposing Aryan Ramas.

    What happened in 2009 is beyond imagination

    Can you then explain why Indian Tamils voted for DMK/Congress in 2009?

    You have to understand Thamilians in lanka were killed in 58,74, 77, 83
    We Indians have more rights to see a solution for Thamils to live in dignity
    I saw thousands of Thamils came to India as Refugees ,We took care of them
    The World is asking for justice for Thamils

    I understand your concern and fully acknowledged that we (Sinhalese) created a problem for you by chasing Sri Lankan Tamils to India through violence.

    However I have a question to ask: if Sinhalese had gotten killed in large numbers, where could we go for refuge? Would the World ask justice for us?

    It is in answering this simple question that you will understand the Sinhala (Ravana) mindset.

  51. Dear wije, you have stated “It is in answering this simple question that you will understand the Sinhala (Ravana) mindset”.

    This type of Ravana mindset and treatment to Tamils might make sense on the minds of the uneducated average Sinhalese population, but should not and will not make sense on the minds of the sinhala elite population. They should know that if they do not treat their citizens fairly then there will be foreign intervention, especially by the world powers, who wants to maintain their interests in the region.

    Let me fire this question. Does the current Sinhalese treatment of Tamils in SL is lessening their fears about their own safety? No. To the contrary, as we are experiencing it now, the power is gradually shifting from Colombo (Sinhaelse) to Geneva (US/UN) in the matter of Tamil affairs in SL. The sovereignity card and the China card will beome less and less effective. Actually, the fear indicator has shot up. The more the sinhalese dig in out of this fear, the more they will iltreate Tamils, and more the UN will intervene. I hope it never reaches the stage of a Kosovo/South sudan type of resolution in the UN at the end.

    By sharing the power with the Tamils in the Island, the Island will become a peaceful paradise and keep the UN out in Geneva.

  52. It is sad we have Modayas like Wije who are responsible for bad name for my sinhala race
    Shame Wije ?

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