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Why does India continue to interfere in Sri Lanka?

"Every country has a right to protect itself", so said Pranab Mukherjee India’s External Affairs Minister shortly after 4 days of carnage in Mumbai. The Indian Government’s immediate response was to blame Pakistan’s intelligence. The Indian people however took an opposing stand and continues to blame the Indian Government and its policies for creating the situation where foreign and homegrown forces now collude to making India vulnerable and insecure for its people – Enough is Enough the people of India now say.
In Sri Lanka, having been victim to India’s intelligence agency which with the blessings of successive Indian Governments has helped the militant groups in Sri Lanka to carry on an armed struggle, understand and empathize with the people of India. Perhaps the Indian public are not aware how their Governments had trained, armed and even financed the LTTE & other militant groups in Sri Lanka to fight the Sri Lankan army? Perhaps the Indian public is unaware how the Tamil Nadu leaders provided haven to LTTE fugitives, even providing injured LTTErs medical aid and facilitated smuggling of arms and ammunition. Perhaps the Indian public is unaware that even after India banned the LTTE for assassinating Rajiv Gandhi, the Tamil Nadu leaders still continued to welcome LTTE separatism. Tamil Nadu leaders even attend LTTE rallies and are promoting separatism.

Is Sri Lanka a sovereign nation? If so, why does India need to be part of the decision making within Sri Lanka – India’s excuse has been that the LTTE terror is a threat to India. If this be so, why did India ever think of arming the LTTE, why did India provide haven for the LTTE, why does India allow Tamil Nadu leaders to openly support LTTE separatism? Creating terror outfits, ordering them to terrorize people or nations and thinking it is unlikely to backfire is a mistake the US has now realized. India unfortunately is likely to learn the hard way too. It is the superpowers who have made terrorism so lethal & so complicated that it is like a time bomb – we don’t know where things are likely to explode. Those who created these monsters must take moral accountability for the terror that exists globally – it is pointless creating them & then creating a Cowboys & Indians showdown.

Sri Lanka’s President has repeatedly said that Sri Lanka would take care of its people – Sri Lanka has taken adequate steps to ensure that food stocks and medical aid are ready for civilians fleeing LTTE control and those who presently live as IDPs – was there ever a need for the Indian Government to send tons of food when thousands of Indians die daily of hunger, thousands more live in abject poverty – was this not simply diplomatic thuggery on the part of a country that is regarded as the Region’s super power. If the Indian Government needs to resort to pressure politics and humiliating a neighboring nation just to secure a States allegiance, the world cannot expect much from India. Thus, bowing down to pressures by Tamil Nadu leaders who themselves nurse separatist thoughts makes anyone wonder how straight the Indian Government actually is.

India needs to take care of its own people and the problems that India presently faces which apparently are more significant than the ones facing Sri Lanka. A handful of men taking over a high security area for 4 straight days and killing close to 200 civilians require Indian authorities to question why 200 elite commandos took 4 days to eliminate these boys who were all below 28 years of age. India may enjoy its bully status vis a vis Sri Lanka, but the 4 day siege just showed how unprepared and ill-equipped India’s security personnel were. India’s public had every right to point accusing fingers at India’s politicians & demand them to answer. Indian politicos on the other hand, are attempting to steer Indian public anger towards Pakistan as is customary. This time round the Indian public seems determined to blame its politicians and rightfully so.

The news of Pranab Mukherjee coming to Sri Lanka may well be just an appeasement stunt for the Tamil Nadu leaders but why should Sri Lanka be humiliated. Ours is a sovereign nation that does not require to be sandwiched between wining votes for the political survival of any Indian Government. The country after a long time is united where even the opposition members have openly stated that they will not interfere in the military advances or demand a ceasefire. This will show India’s Government and the Tamil Nadu leaders that Sri Lanka wants its army to go all out and eliminate the LTTE and its leaderships including Prabakaran who has given the entire country nothing but misery. Eliminating Prabakaran will be a joy for the people of the North who have been scapegoats of the Tamil Diaspora, the Tamils who make good because of the war and the Tamil leaderships who shelter in Colombo & issue statements in favor of the LTTE.

If there are some who feel that India and India alone can provide the answers, or India is their protector then it may be practical to allow them to make permanent residence in India where the Tamil Nadu leaders can look after their welfare. Those who wish to live as Sri Lankans, under the Sri Lankan Government can remain in Sri Lanka. Until such time Sri Lankans think Sri Lankan and Sri Lanka’s leaders attempt to find solutions within the territory of Sri Lanka without importing there is likely to be a continuous trend of meddling by India in Sri Lanka’s affairs.

Most of us thought that India would have learnt a lesson from the Mumbai attacks – a lesson that meant that past misdemeanors come to haunt and India would depart from attempts to destabilize countries like Sri Lanka using covert operations, but we have been disappointed having heard that India is bowing down to vote-bank politics and appeasing leaders of a State that has its own aspirations to separate one day to make a larger Eelam – Sri Lanka’s North is only the foundation stone….unless India thinks deep it is bound to end up in a worse situation than Pakistan is facing presently.

By Shenali Waduge - Asian Tribune -

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