Thursday, June 8, 2017

Security of India and Sri Lanka ‘indivisible’ ? — Part II

Even in relation to China isn’t India suffering with a misconception, at least as far as we see?

by Gamini Gunawardane-
( June 8, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Conduct of India from then onwards becomes consistent with its line of thinking. When the Sri Lankan Forces were about to strike the final blow on the LTTE in 1987, India again came up with their despicable and crude intervention by sending their planes to intervene dropping food ostensibly as ‘humanitarian aid’ from the air on the Jaffna Peninsula, to intimidate President J.R. Jayewardene. India ten followed it up with the infamous Indo-Sri Lanka Accord thrusting upon this country the humiliating 13 th Amendment which neither side wanted and the white elephant with which this country is inextricably involved since. The only expression of public protest against this humiliating insult was the irresponsible act of a Naval rating in the customary honour guard given to Rajiv Gandhi, by trying to assault him with his rifle butt.
Immediately on the failure of the Indo-Lanka accord was the induction of the IPKF who suffered ignominy in the hands of the LTTE and had to leave this country failing to accomplish their mission. Finally it was Rajiv Gandhi who had to pay with his life for folly of wrong Sri Lanka policy of the arrogant Indian defence policy advisors and the RAW by releasing the genie of
After this bitter lesson taught by their own creation, Tamil insurgency growing into Terrorism, India kept away from this mess they created. Making good use of this opportunity, Sri Lanka ultimately succeeded in wiping out Terrorism in this country finally by crushing it comprehensively, primarily of course by two countries who are not the friends of India, and also with assistance of American Intelligence. One lesson for India to learn from this expensive learning experience of foreign policy is that it should leave Sri Lanka to leave to manage their own affairs as done over two millennia. Although our two countries are neighbours, we will be most productive if we leave ourselves alone where Sri Lanka will enjoy its “splendid isolation.” Of course it is a given that she should be careful not to give her any irritants and do things that may be perceived as security threats.
Since the defeat of the LTTE by the Sri Lanka government, India appears to have resumed her interference. Firstly, she grabbed two consular offices in Jaffna and Hambantota, which are obviously ‘listening posts’. They then took the contract to re-construct the Northern Railway line which could have been done by Sri Lanka Railways. Now there is the talk about constructing a bridge to connect the two countries across the gulf of Mannar, for whose benefit? There is now a plan to take over more oil tanks in Trinco, to build a railway line connecting Mannar with Trinco, again for whose benefit? Then there is a talk of re-developing the road network connecting Mannar with Jaffna and Trinco Is all this for the benefit of the people of the Northern Province whose priorities are different? Sri Lanka is now gifted with ambulances, unasked, when the same facilities are scarce for the multitudes in India itself. Also now offered an EFTA the need for which is resented by is rejected by Sri Lanka professionals. Aren’t all these clear moves of uncalled for interferences with this country where the government has become weak?
Judging by the conduct of Mr. Modi on this Wesak visit, one begins to wonder whether India is looking to play that mutually destructive game again. It is rather transparent that his visit was not a benign one prompted by hat we call here as “Buddhaalambhana Peethi” the sentiments with which we are assailed when we are on our pilgrimage to that country. Judging by what he did and said here it was definitely political. Apart from the obnoxious statement on “indivisible security” what he said and did in did in Dickoya raises concern. It is rumoured that that the whole drama there was planned and orchestrated by the RAW. If the Plantation Tamils are citizens of this country, why should they be waving the Indian flag instead of the Sri Lankan flag? Incidentally who provided those Indian flags? The grapevine tells us that it was the RAW agents. Mr. Modi is stated to have told them that they are the ‘Indian Diaspora’ here. Would he say that if he visited the one time Indian immigrants now in Malaysia. Fiji or South Africa or for that matter in the US or UK? Isn’t that mischievous, looking to create fresh trouble now that last one was successfully thwarted after struggling for over 30 years? Is that good neighbourly conduct? Why does India do this to us? Isn’t it wrong advise which is not in the ultimate interest of India itself?
One possible excuse may be the perception or the misperception that it is to prevent ‘flirtation’ of Sri Lanka with China. This is a misconception for the reason that Sri Lanka has most of the time has first asked India whether she could meet Sri Lanka’s requirements. For instance, during the ‘war’ days, Sri Lanka placed a list of armaments that she required to be purchased. India turned it down for whatever reasons. Then Sri Lanka approached her other two friends, Pakistan and China. They readily obliged with good credit facilities and timely delivery, together with trainers on how to handle some of them. When the Terrorists developed the air strike capability, India gave some radar equipment that was ineffective. It was then that Sri Lanka turned to China who generously supplied the three dimensional monitoring equipment. Similarly, the Hambantota Port project was first offered to India who turned it down. It was then that China was approached, and now it is a done. A friend in need is a friend indeed. So is Sri Lanka at any fault? The only time she took a wrong step was when she permitted for the Chinese submarines to berth in Colombo. If this is a wrong step vis-à-vis India, how many wrongs have India done to Sri Lanka?
Even in relation to China isn’t India suffering with a misconception, at least as far as we see? Even the last war that India and China fought over 50 years ago was over a dispute on certain areas in the North East of India which china rightly or wrongly believed to be theirs after the British had left. Could one think today that China has any designs on India threatening its security? China is country very much larger than India both in land and population and struggling with related problems. Would such a country have any designs on India which is burdened with inextricable problems with an exploding population 90% of whom are illiterate?
If it is trade that they are in conflict, are they vying for the same markets or raw materials? Each has vast Human Resources. They have two huge armies with nuclear power. Can either of them afford go to war with each other when their primary target is growth? It is clear that China is trying to ensure an uninterrupted passage way for their oil supply and exports. Could they be faulted for this as an aggressive military push. In our view, India is only behaving so at the behest of the US who for whatever reason, is using them as a pawn in avain effort to keep China at bay. In any case, placed in these circumstances, why should India and Sri Lanka worry about each other instead of proceeding in their own independent ways?