The Visit of Shiv Shankar Menon
Posted on June 30th, 2012

Senex -Courtesy The Island

June 29, 2012, 7:50 pm

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The visit of Shiv Shankar Menon to Sri Lanka is an opportunity to emphasize our commitment to close and cordial relations with India in the context of good neighbourly relations with South Asia as a whole. This is particularly so on economic and social issues. But Shiv Shankar Menon is here with a different agenda to discuss a political settlement relating to the Tamils. The political and other compulsions of India have made it focus excessively on Sri Lankan issues. These have to be recognized and understood. There are the unreasonable and irrational pressures from Tamilnadu which finds Sri Lankan issues an easy diversion or psychological transference from the grinding realities of Southern Indian travails and frustrations. At the same time Sri Lanka should put forward, with greater clarity, the constraints that the Government faces in finding acceptable solutions to the National Question and why external advice, no doubt well intentioned, does not help but hinders finding consensual solutions to issues faced by the Tamil population in Sri Lanka.

The Centre falling apart

Sri Lanka should draw attention that all countries in South Asia face similar problems of centrifugal forces undermining the nation State, including resort to terrorist activities. India should understand well the wariness of Sri Lankans to grant extensive power to regional councils based on ethnic or religious lines. These forces encourage separatist movements. In India itself, the Union is under considerable strain and in certain Indian States significant areas are under Maoist Naxalite control. Manmohan Singh himself once stated that Naxalites are the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by the country. More generally, regional identities within India have gathered strength. Central Government control over State Governments has weakened. Time and again the Centre has had to bend to the pressures of State Governments.

The words of Yeats in the poem “ƒ”¹…”Second coming’ must be haunting its leaders:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre*

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”¦”¦”¦.

*gyre is a giant circular oceanic surface current.

We are all in the same boat

Like India and Sri Lanka, all other countries in the region, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and the Maldives, and most recently Burma, are experiencing internal political tensions. “We are all in the same boat”. The mantle that was acquired from the Euro centric colonial culture that was thrust on these countries has deprived them of an indigenous identity. This syndrome has led to bad governance and all the aberrations that stem from it. None of the South Asian countries have come up with a format for a stable society. The question has to be asked ” Why?” and the entire focus should be on finding an answer.

Preserving the peace come what may

What has to be impressed on the Menon mission is that Sri Lanka has achieved its peace at very great cost. It has to preserve that peace come what may. To do that it has to work out its future on its own and that it will involve an evolution which needs time. This will then lead to strengthening its close cooperation with its neighbours. Denying that process will mean that the country will once again descend to becoming a plaything of external forces, a trauma it has unfortunately experienced over the centuries.

2 Responses to “The Visit of Shiv Shankar Menon”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    Sri Lanka has not been a threat to India now or at any time in history. On the other hand India is a threat to Sri Lanka and all other India’s neighbors. It is India’s own internal instability that is driving them to destabilize others. Sinhalese need to cry out and say that Sinhalese should also be treated in the same way as Sri Lanka and other countries led by India do. I saw a news item where Jaffna students being given push cycles as gifts by the GOSL. I wonder the same kind of attention is given to other Sri Lankan students in other areas of the Island!

    India simply cannot ask special favors for the Tamils over and above the rest of the country. Only solution against India is to have a military that is robust and plentiful deployed in every strategic location and also have a plan for the eventuality of a “stink – and parippu” invasion from India. Sri Lanka suffered from a proxy war instigated, trained, funded and directed by India and other Western Christian countries for over 3 decades. The peace we have in the country is paramount and no force internal or external should be allowed to disrupt this state of affairs.

    The independence, unity and territorial territorial integrity of Sri Lanka should be our primary goal for the foreseeable future. All other government and national enterprises including defense, food production and education etc must be done with this primary goal in view. Introduction of National Service should be considered as a thing of priority.

    If we miss the moon as our goal at least we will be among the stars!

  2. AnuD Says:

    Indian strategy towards Sri Lanka is causing all these problems in Sri Lanka. India does not do anything to consider that India as an ally of Sri Lanka. Instead India is very much a bully of Sri Lanka.

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