Mandates of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Posted on April 1st, 2014

By Neville Ladduwahetty   FEATURES The Island  – April 1, 2014

Paragraph 10 and 10 (b) of the US-proposed UN Resolution A/HRC /25/L.I/Rev.1 that was passed in Geneva on March 27, 2014, “requests the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR):

(b) To undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetuated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedure mandate holders”

During a meeting on Monday between the OHCHR with NGOs, in the sidelines of the 25th session of the Council, Ms. Pillay stressed that the OHCHR “has the power to establish an international mechanism” to investigate crimes, as it falls under the human rights protection mandate of her office.  Ms. Pillay is reported to have stated: “Now apart from calling for an international investigation, we have interpreted our mandate to say that the High Commissioner herself has power to investigate a situation”. Furthermore, that “This did come out when we needed legal advice to see whether the Secretary General can himself set up a panel on Sri Lanka when as you know not a single inter-governmental forum had addressed the issue of the serious crimes committed. Obviously the fact that the Secretary General went again means that we are very clear that the UN does have these powers, because it falls under the overall mandate of protecting human rights.” (Tamil Guardian, March 17, 2014).

By Ms. Pillay’s own admission, the High Commissioner has “interpreted” the mandate of the OHCHR as having the right to investigate alleged violations of human rights. However, her “interpretation” is not good enough for sovereign member states to comply. Member states need more than “interpretations”. Member states need unequivocal statements that have legitimacy of the sort of a General Assembly resolution. Until then, Sri Lanka has no alternative but to appeal to the General Assembly that conducting inquiries into the internal affairs of sovereign states cannot be permitted based on “interpretations” by temporarily-appointed individuals with no accountability.

Seeking redress by appealing to the UN Secretary General (UNSG) as to the legitimacy of OHCHR’s “interpretation” would not serve any meaningful purpose judging from the conduct of the Panel of Experts (PoE) appointed by him in violation of his commitment to the President of Sri Lanka when a joint statement was signed by them in May 2009. After this latter statement, the UNSG stated on March 2010 that: “The panel I am establishing will advise me on the standards, benchmarks and parameters, based on international experience that must guide any accountability process such as the one in the joint statement. Now this panel will report to me directly and not to another body”.

Instead of establishing the “standards, benchmarks and parameters” he had called for, the UNSG covertly sanctioned the PoE to conduct a clandestine investigation and leak its findings to the public. The conduct of the Office of the UNSG and the image of the UN itself has been tainted by this entire episode. Under the circumstances, no member state can hope to rely on the impartiality and objectivity of the UN or any of its organs such the OHCHR. The ONLY hope for member states is to rely on their own strength in the General Assembly.

MANDATE OF RESOLUTIONS 48/141 and 60/251

Space does not permit the publication of the full text of Resolution 48/141 that establishes the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the full text of Resolution 60/251 which establishes the mandate of the Human Rights Council. However, a careful review of its provisions reveals that nowhere in these provisions is there a mandate given for “investigation”. The reason for exclusion of such a provision makes sense because the OHCHR or any other body cannot carry out multiple functions that conflict with each other. For instance, the OHCHR is expected to promote and encourage respect for human rights and monitor and report the human rights situation in member states while maintaining “principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, in the spirit of constructive international dialogue and cooperation,” as stated in the preamble of Resolution 48/141. If, in addition the OHCHR is also mandated to conduct “investigations”, the spirit of engagement to promote human rights would be clearly compromised. An agency whose primary function is to promote and encourage human rights, needs to develop a relationship of understanding and cooperation with the member states; a relationship that would be severely compromised if it were to engage in “investigations” as well. The stated primary function of promoting and encouraging human rights would be compromised, as has been demonstrated already in Sri Lanka’s relationship with the UNSG and OHCHR.

 

Furthermore, considering the fact that paragraph 3 (a) of 48/141 requires the OHCHR to :

“Function within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other international instruments of human rights and international law, including the obligations, within this framework, to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction of States…”, it is realistically not possible for external agencies such as the OHCHR to also investigate violations within countries without impacting on the domestic jurisdiction of member states. Investigating human rights violations by an external agency such as the OHCHR as called for in the resolution would be no different to investigations relating to internal law and order being conducted by external agencies without causing disrespect to the domestic jurisdiction of member states; an obvious impossibility.

Similar standards of impartiality and objectivity are required by the UN Human Rights Council. For instance, paragraph 4 of Resolution 60/251 states: “Decides further that the work of the Council shall be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation, with a view to enhancing the promotion and protection of all human rights …”. These words ring hollow considering the fact that the recently passed resolution expands the scope of the mandate of the OHCHR to authorize it to “investigate” human rights situations in Sri Lanka with the assistance of “experts and special procedure mandate holders” who, being hand- picked individuals with dubious loyalties, would not have the impartiality and the objectivity to meet guidelines set for the OHCHR. Instead, their loyalty and accountability would be to the OHCHR. Consequently, one could be certain that outcomes would be predetermined. If the fates of sovereign states and their citizens are permitted to be determined by such individuals it would be the biggest human rights violation of all, as demonstrated by the highly prejudiced report of the PoE on Sri Lanka.

These circumstances are coupled with the fact that the OHCHR does not have the needed resources to be independent and free of pressures and the influence of the sources that finance these “investigations”. Thus, outcomes of “investigations” would inevitably not have the imprint of impartiality and objectivity. In a background where investigations are compromised due to lack of independence, as well as these investigations being carried out by individuals who are biased or have no credibility, the vulnerability of states are at stake. The precedent set would enable the OHCHR to selectively pick amenable member states to report on human rights situations in countries and recommend that “investigations” be conducted to suit the geopolitical strategies of Powers that have a firm grip on the OHCHR and its workings.

Despite protests by some member states that the resolution violates the mandate granted to the OHCHR and the HR Council, other representatives of Governments have maintained that the OHCHR and the HR Council have the mandate to “investigate” HR violations. The very fact of a lack of consensus on this vital issue confirms that the fates of member states cannot be permitted to be left to “interpretations”, but has to be based on mandates definitively granted by the General Assembly.

CONCLUSION

Resolutions 48/141 and 60/251 do NOT in any way definitively grant the OHCHR or the HR Council the mandate to “investigate” alleged HR violations in member states. Claiming such authority based on “interpretation” by the High Commissioner/UNHRC is unacceptable. What is acceptable is a General Assembly resolution granting such authority if such is its view. In the absence of such a definitive resolution, for the UNHRC to authorize the High Commissioner to “investigate” is in clear violation of the need for impartiality and objectivity mandated under the current General Assembly Resolution 60/261.

There is no mechanism for member states to appeal or seek a definitive interpretation as to whether current scope of the mandate as stated in Resolutions 48/141 and 60/261 authorizes “investigations”. Appealing to the UNSG would be a futile exercise considering his unprofessional conduct in the appointment of the PoE who were supposed only to “set standards, benchmarks and parameters” to guide an investigation, but instead carried out a clandestine investigation and made its findings public. In this vacuum, the OHCHR has interpreted and arrogated to itself the right to “investigate” alleged violations in Sri Lanka. Under the provisions of the resolution the investigative process would be conducted by “experts and special procedure mandate holders”. These individuals are accountable only to the OHCHR who engages them. To expect impartiality and objectivity from such individuals is a vain hope.

Since representatives of some governments claim that such investigative powers have been used previously, it is all the more necessary that member states band themselves together to prevent this continued abuse of power based on “interpretations”. Not to act is to allow the institution of the UN to be hijacked by individuals whose conduct does not meet the guidelines set by the General Assembly. Since the UN General Assembly is similar to a Parliament of member states, violating its powers is an affront to its very existence; a fate that would be no different to the previous Commission for Human Rights that was abandoned due to its ineffectiveness through politicization.

Therefore, Sri Lanka should with the support of the member states that opposed the Resolution, and those that abstained, engage in a collective effort to initiate a resolution in the General Assembly to deny the OHCHR and the HR Council the mandate to “investigate” human rights situations in member states, because it violates the principle of intervention in matters relating to issues of domestic jurisdiction, clearly recognized and emphasized in the UN Charter. It is imperative that issues relating to domestic jurisdiction should not be left to “interpretations” by individuals and their handymen. If left unchallenged the banner of human rights would be used to dismantle states that stand in the way of fulfilling their “manifest destiny”.

34 Responses to “Mandates of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bravo … Government of Sri Lanka! Now BAN the TERRORIST Organizations in Sri Lanka that are POSING as LEGITIMATE POLITICAL PARTIES undermining our Motherland at EVERY TURN!

    BAN ALL POlitical Parties with COMMUNAL AGENDAS, with Communal Party Names, Communal Constitutions and Communal Election Manifestos!

    INVESTIGATE, INDICT, ARREST, PROSECUTE, CONVICT and SEVERELY PUNISH all those TRAITORS who violated the TREASON and TERRORISM Laws of SRi Lanka during the Last 35 years. Hold Accountable all those who plotted and planned with FOREIGN POWERS to undermine, destabilize, invade and dismember our Motherland.

    DO IT FAST, DO IT NOW!

    END APPEASEMENT of Criminals, PUNISH them INSTEAD!

    PROSECUTE the TRAITORS and TERRORISTS from PILLAR to POST! THIS is the Form of RECONCILIATION Needed: RECONCILE the Criminals with their CRIMES!

    ……………………………………
    Sri Lanka signs UN resolution on combating terrorism, bans 16 LTTE organizations

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Apr 01, Colombo: Sri Lanka today in a decisive measure signed the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and to control terrorist financing.

    With the signing of the Resolution 1373, the Sri Lankan government has banned the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and 15 other Tamil diaspora groups that are alleged of having terror links and involved in reviving the terrorist movement in the country.

    Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs signed the order and it will be published in the Government Gazette shortly, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

    According to the Ministry statement, the order is based on the recommendation by the Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, as the Competent Authority regarding the identification of persons, groups and entities, believed on reasonable grounds to be committing, attempting to commit, facilitating or participating, in the commission of acts of terrorism.

    Under the Regulation all funds, assets and economic resources belonging to or owned by the designated persons or entities will remain frozen until the organizations are removed from the designated list.
    In terms of the Regulation moving, transferring or dealing with frozen assets without the permission of the Competent Authority are prohibited and any person who fails to comply with an order to freeze assets is liable to heavy penalties.

    Any contact with the proscribed organizations is a violation of the regulation.

    The government’s move comes in the wake of UN Human Rights Council adopting an intrusive resolution to investigate alleged human rights violations only during the last seven years of the government’s war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists. The resolution effectively eliminates the investigations into the major crimes committed by the LTTE prior to 2002 in the 30-year long war. The Sri Lankan government recently revealed foreign attempts to revive the defeated terrorist organization in the North with the support from the diaspora funds.
    According to Sri Lankan defense authorities K.P. Selvanayagam a.k.a. ‘Gobi’, an LTTE cadre escaped after the end of the war and fled overseas, has returned to the island to lead the revival of the terrorist organization.

    Among the organizations proscribed are the LTTE’s Trans National Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) headed by New York lawyer Visuvanathan Ruthirakumaran, Global Tamil Forum (GTF), which is headed by Fr.SJ Emmanuel and active in Europe, and the UK-based British Tamil Forum (BTF).

    The 15 organizations proscribed are controlled by four individuals, Defense Ministry spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. The organizations are functioning in several countries including USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Norway, Italy, Switzerland, and France.

    The other organizations banned are Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC), World Tamil Movement (WTM), Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), National Council Of Canadian Tamils, Tamil National Council (TNC), Tamil Youth Organization (TYO), World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), Tamil Eelam Peoples Assembly, World Tamil Relief Fund and Headquarters Group.

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    In the Asia Times an article regarding India’s stand on Sri Lanka appeared. It is worth reading:

    UN vote shows strains in Delhi’s diplomacy
    By Ramesh Ramachandran

    In a departure from its familiar voting pattern on UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions critical of Sri Lanka, India on March 27 abstained from a vote on a resolution approving an independent international investigation into war crimes and human-rights violations allegedly committed by the government of Sri Lanka during the 2009 civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE.)

    The customary “explanation of vote” by the permanent representative of India to the UN offices in Geneva said, among other things, that:
    1. “In asking the OHCHR [the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ] to investigate, assess and monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, the resolution

    ignores the progress already made by the country in this field and places in jeopardy the cooperation currently taking place between the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR and the Council’s Special Procedures. Besides, the resolution is inconsistent and impractical in asking both the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR to simultaneously conduct investigations”;
    2. “India believes that it is imperative for every country to have the means of addressing human rights violations through robust national mechanisms. The Council’s efforts should therefore be in a direction to enable Sri Lanka to investigate all allegations of human rights violations through comprehensive, independent and credible national investigative mechanisms and bring to justice those found guilty. Sri Lanka should be provided all assistance it desires in a cooperative and collaborative manner”; and
    3. “It has been India’s firm belief that adopting an intrusive approach that undermines national sovereignty and institutions is counterproductive.”

    After having voted for UNHRC resolutions on Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013, India’s abstention this year on the resolution presented by the US early in March is indicative of a course correction in New Delhi’s engagement with Colombo. This is aimed at retrieving the ground lost in the intervening years, burnishing India’s credentials as a relevant player in the island nation’s affairs and signaling a return to bilateralism as the centerpiece of India-Sri Lanka ties (not necessarily in that order).

    If India’s support for the resolutions in the previous years exposed an utter bankruptcy of ideas on how to engage with Sri Lanka (thereby implicitly admitting to a failure on the part of New Delhi either to influence the course of events or bring about the desired change in Colombo’s disposition), the abstention should be seen as a belated attempt to pull the relationship back from the brink. Of course, it helped that the reaction from the regional parties was muted this year, giving New Delhi extra room for maneuver, and enabling it in the process to regain its voice vis-a-vis the states on foreign policy matters.

    It needs to be said here that India cannot claim to adhere to a consistent policy toward Sri Lanka. First, it nurtured the LTTE and burned its fingers in the process. Then it extended tacit support to Colombo – before, during and after the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in May 2009 – only later, in its wisdom, to support the UNHRC resolution piloted by the United States.

    The 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting summit in Sri Lanka was in the news as much for the renewed focus on the rights record of the host nation as for the decision by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to take part in it. In his stead, it was left to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to lead the Indian delegation for the biennial event of the 53-nation Commonwealth. In a letter of regret that was hand-delivered to President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, Singh informed Rajapaksa of his inability to attend personally, but he did not assign any reasons for that.

    Suffice it to say that a careful reading of the history of India-Sri Lanka relations would make it evident to just about anyone that India’s policy towards this island-nation in the Indian Ocean can be described as consistently inconsistent, and characterized by myopia and self-inflicted crises.

    For the Ministry of External Affairs, what should be particularly worrying is the erosion in India’s standing in what it calls its sphere of influence. The recent debate over which way India should vote on a UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka is instructive to the extent that it illustrated how far India has come from being an influential actor in its neighborhood to being a marginal or fringe player.

    Put simply (not simplistically), some of the key questions were: is it advisable for New Delhi to vote for the resolutions and risk losing whatever goodwill and leverage it might have had with Colombo? Should not all other options have been exhausted before India (figuratively) threw in the towel and (literally) threw in its lot with the West? Thursday’s abstention has partially answered that question.

    However, there remains another worry. The protestations from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, and her rival, M Karunanidhi, patriarch of the Dravida Munetra Kazhagam party, over India’s vote on Sri Lanka in 2012, coming as they did a few months after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee “vetoed” an agreement on sharing the Teesta River waters with Bangladesh, injected a certain degree of dissonance in the conduct of foreign policy. What fueled diplomats’ anxiety was the precedent that would be set if the center – India’s federal government – caved in or succumbed to India’s states on matters that fell in its realm.

    Already, India’s engagement with Pakistan on one hand and China and Myanmar on the other are determined to an extent by the domestic conditions prevalent in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states respectively. Prime Minister Singh betrayed his frustration when he said in the Lok Sabha – India’s parliament – that difficult decisions were becoming more difficult because of coalition compulsions. He called for bipartisanship in the interest of the country.

    At the same time, what cannot be denied is that there exists a view among a section of serving and former practitioners of diplomacy that devolution of foreign policy to more stakeholders would not be entirely unwelcome.

    As a former foreign secretary told this writer: “Foreign policy today is made not only in New Delhi but elsewhere, too. There are multiple stakeholders and one cannot deny states a say in foreign policy if it relates to them.” In other words, it is argued that if the states assert their rights and/or seek more consultations, then the center must respect those sentiments.

    Having said that, an impression seems to be gaining ground, erroneously at that, that foreign policy is the worst sufferer of this new phenomenon of the states having their say. A cursory look at recent years would show that the states have consistently been vocal on a host of other issues, too. The recent examples of certain states or regional parties opposing the policy of raising the cap on foreign direct investment in the retail sector is a case in point, as is the opposition to the center’s proposal for setting up a national counter-terrorism center. In some of these cases New Delhi chose to yield, albeit temporarily, but in some others it had its way.

    Therefore, it would not be accurate to suggest that regional influences are wielding a “veto” over New Delhi. Also, it would not be fair either to paint the states as villains of the piece or to apportion all the blame for the center’s foreign policy woes to regional parties that are, or could be, aligned against it in the political arena.

    For instance, the center accuses the West Bengal government headed by the Trinamool Congress party of scuttling a river-waters sharing agreement with Bangladesh. However, the Congress party, which heads the ruling coalition at the center and also in Kerala, is guilty of playing to narrow political sentiments, too. This was evidenced by the state government and party’s stand on two Italian marines who are facing murder charges for the deaths of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast.

    On balance, it is time to reshape India’s neighborhood policy in a manner that reflects the broadest possible national consensus on the way forward in reshaping ties with countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

    A reset is imperative, irrespective of which coalition forms the next government in New Delhi. India can ill afford a Pavlovian foreign policy. Equally, framing India’s foreign policy options as a binary choice can be self-defeating. There needs to be a dispassionate debate and a greater appreciation of various shades of grey.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    She has obviously OVERSTEPPED on her mandate.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    BW,

    Thanks for posting the above article on India’s foreign policy mistakes vis-a-vis Sri Lanka.

    It CONFIRMS what I have said in some of my own previous posts: India is DRIVEN by its internal state-related compulsions. Tamil Nadu, as the Jewel in India’s crown where India chooses to secrete all of its most valuable infrastructural and military assets because they are presumed to be safe there from India’s more powerful enemies, will INVARIABLY listen to Tamil Nadu more than it does to Sri Lanka.

    This is a PERMANENT FACT that we SRi Lankans cannot wish away. Except for a few ISOLATED ABERRATIONS, the general POSTURE of India’s foreign policy towards Sri Lanka will be DRIVEN by Tamil Nadu.

    Therefore, Sri Lanka must INNOCULATE ITSELF against the ADVERSE IMPACTS of India on Sri Lanka’s SURVIVAL as a Sovereign Nation, by REDUCING all DEPENDENCE on India in ALL spheres, and forming Alliances with other Global Powers, such as China, and other Nations that do not have a Local Constituency within Sri Lanka with an axe to Grind.

    Sri Lanka MUST ESCAPE India’s DEADLY EMBRACE before it ENVELOPES and suffocates our country, because we do not have the POWER to change India’s internal compulsions affecting its foreign policy. Leet India stumble along its deadly communal path; we will adopt and move along an independent non-communal path with other Friends and Allies free of India.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    BW,

    Thanks for posting this article; here is a revised version of my previous comment.

    This article CONFIRMS what I have said in some of my own previous posts: India is DRIVEN by its internal state-related compulsions.

    Tamil Nadu, is the Jewel in India’s Crown where India chooses to secrete all of its most valuable infrastructural and military assets because they are presumed to be safe there from India’s more powerful enemies.

    Therefore, India will INVARIABLY listen to and value Tamil Nadu more than it does Sri Lanka.

    This is a PERMANENT FACT that we Sri Lankans cannot wish away.

    Except for a few ISOLATED ABERRATIONS, the general POSTURE of India’s foreign policy towards Sri Lanka will be DRIVEN by Tamil Nadu.

    Therefore, Sri Lanka must INNOCULATE ITSELF against the ADVERSE IMPACTS of India on Sri Lanka’s SURVIVAL as a Sovereign Nation, by REDUCING all DEPENDENCE on India in ALL spheres, and forming Alliances with other Global Powers, such as China, and other Nations that do not have a Local Constituency within Sri Lanka with an axe to Grind.

    Sri Lanka MUST ESCAPE India’s DEADLY EMBRACE before it ENVELOPES and suffocates our country.

    We do not have the POWER to change India’s internal compulsions affecting its foreign policy. Let India stumble along its deadly communal path; we should adopt and move along an independent non-communal path with other Friends and Allies, free of India.

  6. Nanda Says:

    Sri Lanka should have banned OHCTR (the Office of the High Commissioner for Tamil Rights ) too !

  7. Nanda Says:

    “We do not have the POWER to change India’s internal compulsions affecting its foreign policy”

    Ananda , I am sorry to say this attitude is called BAYAGULLA attitude. We should erase this concept fro Sinhala brains, if any and should not use this statement at all.
    I am aware that you used it together with “other Friends and Allies, free of India” but , still WRONG.

  8. Nanda Says:

    WE DO HAVE THE POWER.

    1. We can cripple ENdia’s motor industry by one signature.
    2. We can cripple Endia’s SARI Industry.
    3. We can cripple their tourist industry.
    4. We can easily hurt their exports.

    OUR IDIOTS ARE NOT USING OUR POWER, because that power generates their personal wealth.

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    Nanda,

    You are living in a FANTASY WORLD, if you believe that we have

    1. The POWER to Change India’s priority on Tamil Nadu instead of Sri Lanka, and

    2. The POWER to CRIPPLE India’s Motor, Sari, Tourist industries and their export sector as you suggest! Do you have ANY idea of the relative dollar volumes of these exports of India to Sri Lanka compared to the TOTAL exports of India? It is a VERY SMALL FRACTION of the TOTAL EXPORTS.

    On the other hand, India and China are, in that order, the biggest exporters to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka exports very little to EITHER of these two countries. The EU and the US are the biggest buyers of goods from Sri Lanka. Furthermore, far more Indian tourists visit Sri Lanka than any other nationality.

    Therefore, please tell me HOW and WHY you think we are going to be able to cripple India’s industries.

    BTW, casting aspersions on my attitude as a BAYAGULLA attitude is ALSO WRONG!

    What is BAYAGULLA about a realistic assessment that we have NO ECONOMIC POWER TO influence India, but that we should PROTECT OURSELVES by KICKING OUT India before it ENVELOPES US with its tentacles and takes over our country by stealth?

    My proposal is PRETTY AGGRESSIVE RESPONSE to protect Sri Lanka in concert with other BIG POWER Allies, such as China., that is at the same time REALISTIC about the extent of our ECONOMIC or MILITARY POWER over India … which is MINISCULE!

    Get REAL, Nanda!

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda and Nanda,

    What Nanda says has TRUTH (not entirely though).

    This is news to me too!!!

    SL is Endia’s FOURTH LARGEST trade surplus.

    Endia CANNOT afford to lose SL. Everything SL imports from Endia can be imported from Chine except shitt (Tamil movies, songs, etc.)

    Compare how Endia worships ALL other coutnries with a TRADE SURPLUS and how Endia treats us. DAMN ENDIA!

    We should BUST Endian imports to SL and replace it with China.

    Don’t forget there are MILLIONS of Endians (particularly South Endians) behind this $4 BILLION in a country 50% live below $1 a day!!

    2011 data
    Source: Government of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry (taken from the Export Import Bank of India report)

    COUNTRY………………EXPORTS………….IMPORTS……….SURPLUS/DEFICIT
    USA…………………………..34,742……………24,470…………..10,271
    SINGAPORE…………………16,858……………..8,600…………….8,257
    NETHERLAND…………………9,151……………..2,671…………….6,480
    SRI LANKA…………………….4,379……………….721…………….3,658
    BRAZIL…………………………5,770……………..4,322……………1,448
    UK………………………………8,590……………..7,666………………924
    FRANCE………………………..4,558……………..4,339………………219
    UAE……………………………35,926……………35,790………………135
    ITALY…………………………..4,883……………..5,427……………..-544
    BELGIUM………………………7,161……………10,450……………-3,290
    JAPAN………………………….6,329…………….12,101…………..-5,772
    INDONESIA…………………..6,678…………….14,624……………-7,946
    GERMANY……………………..7,943…………….16,276…………..-8,333
    KOREA…………………………4,352…………….13,099…………..-8,747
    CHINA………………………..18,077…………….57,518………….-39,441

  11. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lorenzo,

    The 2011 Data you provided above supports my contention that Sri Lanka DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER to CRIPPLE India by any action we take on Trade.

    I calculated the EXPORTS, IMPORTS and SURPLUS/DEFCITS as a percentage of the TOTALS numbers; this is given below in Table 1.

    EXPORTS from India to Sri Lanka is only 2.5% of India’s TOTAL EXPORTS.
    IMPORTS from Sri Lanka is only 0.3% of India’s TOTAL IMPORTS.

    Because India buys way more than it sells to other countries, the Balance of Trade with Sri Lanka is 8.9% of the net DEFICIT in India’s favor. However, that BOT advantage DOES NOT CONFER a POWER to CRIPPLE India’s economy as Nada contends. I am really surprised that you support Nanda’s fantasy!

    To see this more clearly, I have ZEROED OUT all exports and imports with Sri Lanka and prepared Table 2.
    As you can see, the TOTAL EXPORT and IMPORT figures barely budged, but the DEFICIT increased from 42,681 to 46,339, an INCREASE of 8.6%. An 8.6% contribution to India’s BOT does not CONFER a CRIPPLING POWER that Sri Lanka can weild.

    On the Other Hand, the vast BOT advantage in favor in India matters a LOT to Sri Lanka whose total EXPORTS and IMPORTS are much smaller. So it DOES GIVE INDIA great power to CRIPPLE Sri Lanka’s economy … if it CHOOSES to do so.

    That is why I counseled REDUCING that dependence to a minimum as a prerequisite to ESCAPING India’s DEADLY EMBRACE!

    TABLE 1.

    COUNTRY EXPORTS from India IMPORTS to India SURPLUS/DEFICIT

    USA 34,742 19.8% 24,470 11.2% 10,271 -24.1%
    SINGAPORE 16,858 9.6% 8,600 3.9% 8,257 -19.3%
    NETHERLANDS 9,151 5.2% 2,671 1.2% 6,480 -15.2%
    SRI LANKA 4,379 2.5% 721 0.3% 3,658 -8.6%
    BRAZIL 5,770 3.3% 4,322 2.0% 1,448 -3.4%
    UK 8,590 4.9% 7,666 3.5% 924 -2.2%
    FRANCE 4,558 2.6% 4,339 2.0% 219 -0.5%
    UAE 35,926 20.5% 35,790 16.4% 135 -0.3%
    ITALY 4,883 2.8% 5,427 2.5% (544) 1.3%
    BELGIUM 7,161 4.1% 10,450 4.8% (3,290) 7.7%
    JAPAN 6,329 3.6% 12,101 5.5% (5,772) 13.5%
    INDONESIA 6,678 3.8% 14,624 6.7% (7,946) 18.6%
    GERMANY 7,943 4.5% 16,276 7.5% (8,333) 19.5%
    KOREA 4,352 2.5% 13,099 6.0% (8,747) 20.5%
    CHINA 18,077 10.3% 57,518 26.4% (39,441) 92.4%

    TOTAL 175,397 100.0% 218,074 100.0% (42,681) 100.0%

    TABLE 2.

    COUNTRY EXPORTS from India IMPORTS to India SURPLUS/DEFICIT
    USA 34,742 20.3% 24,470 11.3% 10,271 -22.2%
    SINGAPORE 16,858 9.9% 8,600 4.0% 8,257 -17.8%
    NETHERLANDS 9,151 5.4% 2,671 1.2% 6,480 -14.0%
    SRI LANKA – 0.0% – 0.0% – 0.0%
    BRAZIL 5,770 3.4% 4,322 2.0% 1,448 -3.1%
    UK 8,590 5.0% 7,666 3.5% 924 -2.0%
    FRANCE 4,558 2.7% 4,339 2.0% 219 -0.5%
    UAE 35,926 21.0% 35,790 16.5% 135 -0.3%
    ITALY 4,883 2.9% 5,427 2.5% (544) 1.2%
    BELGIUM 7,161 4.2% 10,450 4.8% (3,290) 7.1%
    JAPAN 6,329 3.7% 12,101 5.6% (5,772) 12.5%
    INDONESIA 6,678 3.9% 14,624 6.7% (7,946) 17.1%
    GERMANY 7,943 4.6% 16,276 7.5% (8,333) 18.0%
    KOREA 4,352 2.5% 13,099 6.0% (8,747) 18.9%
    CHINA 18,077 10.6% 57,518 26.5% (39,441) 85.1%

    TOTAL 171,018 100.0% 217,353 100.0% (46,339) 100.0%

  12. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda,

    But BOT from SL is VERY IMPORTANT for Endia. What matters is NOT the total of exports but who is profitable.

    e.g. Imagine you have 250 customers. 40 of them give 80% of your profit. Some are loss creating. You MUST look after the 40 well. Endia has only 8 partners with significant exports and surplus! They can’t afford to lose. Losing one is HUGE.

    ONLY 3 countries give a BETTER surplus than SL. And even the HIGHEST – USA is ONLY 2.8 times than SL.

    That makes SL EXTREMELY important for Endia.

    Don’t forget Endia is AVERSE to IMPORTS and always want to run a SURPLUS.

    Look at the MARGIN. 83%! (3658/4379) NO other country is as profitable to Endia as SL. Our exports to Endia is nothing.

    Behind this $4.4 BILLION exports to SL there are FOUR MILLION Endian families. They all go BUST if we stop buying from Endia.

    EVERYTHING we buy from Endia can be bought CHEAPER from China.

    Mind you this is only the OFFICIAL economy. ALL heroin, ganja are imported from Endia and HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars worth gold is smuggled to Endia from SL every year. Hundreds of thousands of Kallathoni EARN in SL and repatriate the money to Endia.

    So the REAL surplus is even higher. I put it at $6.5 billion in third place. Endia (the country of highest number of beggars) cannot afford to lose this!!

    We have to recognize our STRENGTHS and NEGOTIATE FEARLESSLY what benefits us.

    I think this is why Endia abstained. Endia knows the SILK ROAD deal with China will BUST Endian exports to us and surplus.

  13. Nanda Says:

    No need for arguments.
    I know how Bajaaj got dead scared and the boss flew to in his jet Colombo for private meetings with VIP when duty increased.
    One more increase, Bjaaj will be gone from Sri Lanka.
    As a whole it appears like Endia might not get affected but fall of few major companies will have a major impact.
    Who buys Tatas , Ashok and Bajaaj except us, Bangladesh and few poor countries ?

    What is more important than this argument is we have a common goal and do not get upset on “strong” words, Ananda.

    DO NOT GET SCARED OF INDIA. THEY ARE ALREADY SCARED OF US. take advantage of that. That is my message.

  14. Fran Diaz Says:

    The way I see it is that INDIA had a great policy of Panchaseela approach to Sri Lanka prior to COLD WAR problems impinging on both INDIA & SRI LANKA.

    It is always the COLD WARS that determine how the two countries interact. COLD WARS bring in foreign interference to both countries.

    TAMIL NADU importance comes in only with COLD WARS as TN leaders like to project a pro-West outlook along with Separatism from India. TN is a thorn on the side of the rest of the India as well as Sri Lanka when COLD WARS and Tamil issues of Lanka (mostly Caste/poverty issues inherited from Tamil Nadu) come up from time to time.

    TAMIL NADU leaders play their cards in a ‘cute’ fashion depending on the times: They imply Separatism & pro-West sentiments in Cold War times and in the peaceful times they are a part of HINDU India. TN leaders are chameleons and Lanka had best be aware of this.

    In all this INDIA will be forced to be duplicitous toward all of her neighbors, including especially Sri Lanka. So as Ramesh Ramachandran says : “It needs to be said here that India cannot claim to adhere to a consistent policy toward Sri Lanka”.

    Some goods from India are very attractive to consumers in Sri Lanka e.g. sarees and slippers. Some goods imported from India are no good, such as substandard pharma from Tamil Nadu area. I reckon most items imported from India can be made in Lanka, and probably made better if we have the right frame of mind to do so.

    Sri Lankans should strive for Self Sufficiency in all ways possible, with or without India, for we cannot depend forever on foreign countries for anything of lasting and true value.

  15. S de Silva Says:

    Instead of remaining silent or dodging the issue, it is time that the GoSL took a decision in Parliament NOT to implement any part of the UNHRC decision based on bias against Sri Lanka – That is the ONLY credible and robust way to deal with this situation – S de Silva -London

  16. Ananda-USA Says:

    Nanda,

    India is not scared of Sri Lanka because of what we might do to their National Trade, but because of what Sri Lanka might do to their Military Security in Alliance with India’s opponents such as China, Pakistan etc.

    That SAME NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERN about Sri Lanka’s overtures to Western Powers, principally the US, during J. R. Jayawardene’s Presidency of Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka’s move to Free Market Economy away from Socialist dogma, was what made Indira Gandhi initiate and support Tamil terrorism in Sri Lanka. At that time India, allied to the USSR, opposed to the USA which was arming Pakistan, and committed to socialist economic principles, felt threatened by Sri Lanka.

    More generally, India has PRETENSIONS to being the REGIONAL HEGEMON, and wants every neighboring country to kow tow down to its dictates, even when they are completely bogged down in their own mistakes in governance.

    That EGO BALLOON of India is something that Sri Lanka must FIRMLY PRICK and DEFLATE.

    If we don’t take a stand that we are an INDEPENDENT country that will brook no INTERFERENCE in our internal national decisions, India will CONTINUE to INTERFERE … just like the United States does everywhere in the world as a self appointed policeman preserving its own interests.

    Beyond GOOD NEIGHBORLINESS, Sri Lanka does not owe India ANYTHING!

    On the CONTRARY, Sri Lanka needs to DEMAND WAR REPARATIONS from India as COMPENSATION for 30 Years of murder, mayhem and destruction in our country that India caused.

  17. Ananda-USA Says:

    Nanda:

    You say “No need for arguments”, yet you initiate them by your comments divorced from reality on the one hand, and hurling insults on the other. You invite arguments … and I am ready to give them to you.

    You say “I know how Bajaaj got dead scared and the boss flew to in his jet Colombo for private meetings with VIP when duty increased. One more increase, Bjaaj will be gone from Sri Lanka”, but a fearful response from ONE INDIAN COMPANY DOES NOT AMOUNT to a CRIPPLING of India’s Trade sufficient for India to “fearfully” respond to.

    If I were running Bajaj, I would do the same as the Bajaj management did … to maintain my market and preserve my profits.

    Don’t confuse the IMPACT on an individual company with the IMPACT on the whole of India.

    My argument with you is about your statement that Sri Lanka can CRIPPLE India’s National Trade. That is a PREPOSTEROUS and PATENTLY UNTRUE statement.

    On the other hand, Sri Lanka should DRASTICALLY REDUCE its economic dependence on INdia, as I myself said. In addition, we should DRASTICALLY REDUCE our dependence on Indian SERVICE organizations such as Hospital chains and Banks.

    If we allow this TREND to continue Indian economic interests will ENVELOP and SUBMERGE our economy thus taking away our ability to act as a FINANCIALLY independent nation in our National Interest, especially when Tamil separatists agitate to secede.

    My point was that although Sri Lanka DRASTICALLY REDUCING our economic links with India WILL HAVE LITTLE IMPACT ON, and WILL NOT CRIPPLE India, INDIA being Sri Lanka’s LARGEST TRADING PARTNER has the POWER TO CRIPPLE Sri Lanka … at any time of its own choosing. That is DANGEROUS for Sri Lanka!

    Given that India has shown time and again to be Sri Lanka’s ENEMY, why would we give such a POWER over us to that ENEMY country? It is ASININE to do so.

  18. Ananda-USA Says:

    Fran Diaz:

    I heartily agree with you. We can and should produce within Sri Lanka practically everything we currently buy from India, except perhaps for the GORGEOUS SAREES they produce.

    The bulk of what we buy from India are foodstuffs … parippu, onions, potatoes etc … in which we can easily become self-sufficient by providing incentives and paying our own farmers more, and guaranteeing a minimum price. There is NO REASON for Indian Hospitals and Banks to operate in Sri Lanka … we should do that ourselves.

    Military purchases are not an issue, for we will not be given the best weapons India produces at any time because of Tamil Nadu opposition. Why would we want to buy weapons from a country that may invade Sri Lanka and we would have to defend against? It will be more junk like the obsolete 2D Radars they forced on us during Eelam War IV.

    In advanced education, we don’t need Indian universities and technical schools to operate in Sri Lanka when they cannot do a good job in India to educate their own people. That will only result in more Indians spying on and destabilizing Sri Lanka. We should go with educational links with Western universities and Chinese, Japanese and possibly Australian universities, if Australia continues its current posture towards Sri Lanka. A distinguished Chinese Professor is visiting Sri Lanka to explore collaboration in university education, even as we speak (See below).

    On tourism, Indian tourists flooding into Sri Lanka now are not high-paying customers. Many of them come to Sri Lanka looking for business opportunities, which we should be wary about.

    ………………………………..
    China exploring collaboration with Sri Lanka in higher education

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Apr 01, Colombo: The President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Prof. BAI Chunli, a well-known chemist and leading scientist in nanoscience, is in Sri Lanka to explore opportunities for collaborations in the area of higher education.

    Prof. Chunli called on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this evening to discuss collaboration in higher education including exchange programs in science.

    Among the discussions were initiatives to send Sri Lankan academics to China for advanced studies in science, conduct exchange programs and the possibility of establishing a higher education or research institution in Sri Lanka.

    During the discussion President Rajapaksa explained the country’s need for scientists in energy field and that Sri Lanka could use academic programs in the areas of petroleum sciences.

    Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education Sunil Jayantha Navaratne were also present.

  19. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lorenzo,

    You said ” I think this is why Endia abstained. Endia knows the SILK ROAD deal with China will BUST Endian exports to us and surplus.”

    WRONG!

    India abstained because of two things:

    1. The previous incentive for the Congress Party governing India to placate Tamil politicians in Tamil Nadu NO LONGER EXISTS, because the Congress Party ally the DMK has ABANDONED the Congress party completely. This is because the DMK believes that the Congress Party will LOSE the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the DMK wants to be well positioned to negotiate to join the BJP under Narendra Modi’s leadership as a coalition partner.

    As a result, the Congress Party has NOTHING TO LOSE by abstaining.

    2. India KNOWS that every adverse action it takes against Sri Lanka drives Sri Lanka more quickly away from India into the arms of China, and other potential enemies of India. The concern is neither economic, nor the Silk Road related, as you paint it, as much as it is Military and National Security.

    So, India abstained, but it is TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE! The Congress Party BLEW IT for India … BIG TIME! Stay TUNED to the results of the Lok Sabha elections this week!

    It is TOO BAD they didn’t have the courage to VOTE AGAINST UNHRC-3 and move EARLY to vigorously defend Sri Lanka, and PREVENT UNHRC-3 from ever being put to a vote.

    If they had done that, even at this penultimate hour, they could have done something good for India in Sri Lanka’s eyes, and even equal treatment vis-a-vis China by Sri Lanka.

  20. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda,

    So do you agree with the rest?

    If you were running a business and you had 8 PROFITABLE customers will you allow ONE of them to go away?

    If that customer’s profit margin was 83% and others’ was less than 50% will you?

    I believe the SILK ROAD agreement that was discussed before UNHRC was a BIG fear Endia had. Your reasons are not wrong but the SILK ROAD agreement is what Endia FEARS most.

    UNGRATEFUL SL will now NOT sign that agreement. It has been postponed since 2008.

    A man was looking for a parking lot. Couldn’t find any and getting late for a meeting. He prayed to g~d and promised he will go to mass every Sunday if he gets one. Then he found one. He then told g~d not to worry, I found one. Forget my prayer!!

    SL was also UNGRATEFUL to Russia. A day later the UNHRC thing Russia issue came up at the UN. SL ABSTAINED. We should have voted AGAINST it as Russia vote AGAINST the anti-SL resolution.

  21. Fran Diaz Says:

    Ananda USA,

    I agree with you that collaboration re higher education ought to be done MOSTLY with China at the present time. However, India’s Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is very good at what they do. They have very high standards. The Silicon Valley, USA, is full of IIT employees. When Cold War matters settle down, it may be good idea to collaborate with India too.

    However, it may not be a good idea to continue any type of long term collaboration with India if any Cold Wars turn up in the future to once more disrupt Indo-Lanka relations.

    Having SAARC rule of ‘Visa on Entry’ is not a good idea. Other SAARC member, India, does not keep this rule. Why should
    Lanka ? Knock it off. Also DEPORT all illegal migrants in Lanka. They have come to Lanka for what reason ? The public ought to know why they landed themselves in Lanka and not another Asian or western country.

    Guard your country with zeal, Sri Lankans !

  22. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lorenzo,

    You said ….

    “So do you agree with the rest?” … Not necessarily, I only wanted to respond to the main issue at hand. You are an expert at drawing red herrings across the trail.

    “If you were running a business and you had 8 PROFITABLE customers will you allow ONE of them to go away?” … Absolutely, depending on what else is at stake, and how reasonable that customer is. Also, that is BESIDE the point; the issue at hand was whether Sri Lanka had the POWER to CRIPPLE India’s Trade as Nanda contended. IT DOES NOT!

    “If that customer’s profit margin was 83% and others’ was less than 50% will you?” … First, 83% is not a PROFIT, but a SURPLUS in Trade with Sri Lanka; the PROFIT would be some percentage of that. Second, even if the SURPLUS was 100%, if the total amount is SMALL … it is not very meaningful to India which would placate Tamil Nadu instead.

    OK, since you like simple analogies … here is one for you: If you sold me $100 of goods, while I sold you NOTHING, but your son told you he hates me and does not want you to sell me anything, or he will leave your home forever, what would you do? Sell the goods to me anyway and make a $15 profit as you propose?

  23. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lorenzo,

    BTW, in the analogy I posed to you, to put things in the proper perspective, let us assume that you are a person with a $4,000 annual income, 40 (=1/2.5%) times the cost of goods ($100) that you want to sell me to make a $15 profit.

  24. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Ananda: Just read your messages today (4/2/14) and you are welcome. India’s most important naval port Visakhapatnam is located in the neighboring state of Andra Pradesh and not Tamil Nadu. I fully agree with you if push comes to shove Sri Lanka can join Pakistan in supporting the various “Freedom fighters” within India. Support the Kashmiri “Freedom fighters’, Khalistani “freedom fighters” to the North eastern states “freedom fighters” such as the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam).
    According to an article in Asia Times titled “India a Nation failing to emerge” under “speaking freely (4/2/14) I paste an excerpt of it:

    “The Undivided India concept refers to the Indian subcontinent as it existed before India was partitioned in 1947 and the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. However, the BJP has no desire to merge India with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
    This term is most likely used to disseminate the idea that India was historically a united coherent entity and to help construct a Hindi identity. The fact remains that India, as it now exists, has never existed before in history, and the India of today more closely resembles the India defined by the British in 1947.”

    If that is true it explains why India failed to thwart the British from carving out Pakistan and later on India carving out Bangladesh from Pakistan. India’s mindset does not fully comprehend the Sri Lankan mindset of a unified nation with an unbroken written history.
    India is far more prone to secessionist movements becoming successful than in Sri Lanka. A written history is unique among ancient nations. Only China and Sri Lanka share this treasure of an unbroken record of a chronicled history. India has nothing close to it. Only the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, both epic mythologies elude to a mythological history.

    As for taking Sri Lanka’s security concerns into regard, India will never let Sri Lanka break from the Indian yoke of being under her “domain of influence”. Pakistan has successfully ended that in her land, so it is possible Sri Lanka can do the same. In order for Sri Lanka to break from India’s preconceived notion that Sri Lanka falls under “her domain” is to increase the presence of China. China wants more access to the Indian ocean and also wants to replace the US dollar with the Yuan as the international currency of exchange.

    Simple acts of boycotting Indian goods will not suffice though it would send a strong symbolic gesture to India.

    I suggest a couple of the following
    build a naval base on the island of Katchacheevu. That would end the issue of the fishermen, the Politics of Tamil Nadu and claim by the naval presence on that island the maritime waters which is part of the Mannar basin. The Mannar basin has already yielded two gas discoveries.

    If Colombo wants she can trade with China using the Sri Lankan rupee and the Chinese Yuan. That would help out Russia and be a symbolic blow to the US dollar. Sri Lanka’s economy is too small to make any difference to the US dollar but more nations that join with Russia in not using the dollar will have a cumulative impact.

    Increase the military presence in the North and Eastern provinces. There is justification for this since a nascent attempt to revive the LTTE was recently apprehended.

    This goes without saying but I will mention it once more. Time that the 13th amendment is nullified in every way possible.

    On a cultural level not only ban the Sri Lankan Hindu Tamil caste system but the Buddhist Sanga should initiate to liberate the Tamil Dalits in Sri Lanka by converting them to Buddhism.

  25. Fran Diaz Says:

    I would like to elaborate a bit more on my stance on Tamil Nadu actions during the Cold War times.

    Tamil Nadu made Sri Lanka the fall guy for the whole episode that involved the area covering Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu during the Cold War years. TN if they wanted to be pro-West, I have no grouse with that attitude, but to make Sri Lanka the fall guy, the fighting place, for their wishes is inexcusable.

    The vicious campaign for Eelam continued for decades bringing down Sri Lanka which country was growing nicely after the Colonial times, barring the JVP insurrections.

    If TN wanted to side with the west, that is fine, but do so on their own soil and not transport the whole fight to Sri Lanka to fight the Tamil Caste Wars and Cold War.

    Sri Lanka is a Non-Aligned country and too small to fight in Cold Wars of super powers.

    TN : Keep out of Lanka !

  26. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    It is imperative that I copy the article that I mentioned in my comments above in case it is removed from Asia Times by the time others get to my comment:

    India a nation failing to emerge
    By Meena Degala

    Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say if you are interested in contributing.

    The rhetoric that has surrounded India’s general election, which will be held from April 7 until May 12, underlines how domestic political parties are trying to manipulate the electorate into accepting one of their contrasting nationalist models.

    While the ruling Congress party presents a model based on the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) forwards the obsolete Akhand Bharat, or “Undivided India” concept.

    When India won freedom from Britain in 1947, much of the

    The self-serving nationalist schemes are in contrast to the sustainable nationalism that can emerge as a byproduct of an empowered electorate and egalitarian society

    The Congress model
    The Congress model for India is based on Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching. While Gandhi indeed did commendable work advocating non-violence as a resistance path, he had evolving opinions on important social reform issues. Gandhi had conflicting attitudes towards India’s hereditary, vocation-based caste system and related “untouchability” customs that served to ostracize and segregate people.

    In 1920, Gandhi asserted that every Hindu, “must follow the hereditary profession”, and that “prohibition of intermarriage” between people of different castes was “necessary for a rapid evolution of the soul”. Gandhi is said to have changed his view later.

    The Congress Party’s nationalist model is built on a deification of Gandhi, and it survives on caste politics while offering no solutions for eradicating this unhealthy custom. Caste identities are fostered solely for electoral gains. The survival of caste identities is very important for this party’s electoral success.

    Social reform leaders who campaign against caste have been systematically pushed aside by Congress in order to preserve the false image of a benevolent ruling dynasty.

    The BJP model
    The BJP’s nationalist theme is built on a hijacking of the concepts of Hindutva and Akhand Bharat. While Akhand Bhara means “Undivided India”, the term, “Hindutva” is not clearly defined. The BJP says it means Hindu cultural nationalism, but it has become associated with a complete ideology and culture that sets its followers apart.

    Hindutva ideology elicits an intense emotional response against perceived attacks on Hinduism by Christians, Muslims or the West. Some of the actions associated with this ideology include deriding English as a decadent blotch on Indian culture, and attacking stores that sell Valentine’s Day cards.

    Many educated Hindus see Hindutva as a necessary evil to counter evangelical efforts to convert India’s poor and untouchables to Christianity. India’s lower castes have found no refuge in conversions, as an Indian Christian pastor once remarked, “for Indian Christians, caste is first, Christ is second and mere preaching won’t do”. Caste has become a cultural phenomenon and is practiced across religions.

    The Undivided India concept refers to the Indian subcontinent as it existed before India was partitioned in 1947 and the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. However, the BJP has no desire to merge India with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    This term is most likely used to disseminate the idea that India was historically a united coherent entity and to help construct a Hindi identity. The fact remains that India, as it now exists, has never existed before in history, and the India of today more closely resembles the India defined by the British in 1947.

    The BJP currently seeks a mandate on Hindu cultural nationalism, pledging that it will also streamline taxation, cut red tape and launch major infrastructure projects such as high-speed trains.

    Sustainable nationalism: Equality and empowerment
    Elitist nationalism projects rarely succeed. In India’s current state, nationalist projects more often serve as a smokescreen for various injustices of the power elite. A sustainable democracy that seeks to live in its present and has a sense of cohesive nationalism needs an empowered electorate and an egalitarian society.

    In India, there is caste discrimination, gender discrimination and class feudalism. Class feudalism runs across genders and castes. The bulk of India’s poor is comprised of castes considered “untouchable” – 98% of “untouchable” or Dalit castes live in poverty.

    Although outlawed, caste discrimination is rampant in rural India. Caste perpetuates poverty through denial of opportunity. In urban cities, special vegetarian caste-based Hindu apartments have been propping up in Mumbai, Chennai and Gujarat. Housing is being splintered along caste, religious and ethnic lines.

    In 2009, when the United Nations Human Rights Council declared that discrimination based on caste was “human-rights abuse”, India fought vehemently to stop a related resolution. India’s urban elite argue that caste has already been abolished because government outlawed untouchability.

    This ignores the fact that 75% of marriage advertisements explicitly mention caste – India’s arranged marriage system has in recent years increasingly used advertising in newspapers and online. The country’s leading marriage website, BharatMatrimony.com, lists caste as a mandatory field in its membership registration form.

    Racism is considered a public health issue by sections of the international community and so should the practice of caste. Medieval caste practices cause psychological issues such as stress, anxiety and feelings of anger and rejection among members of lower castes. It also creates feelings of guilt or superiority among upper castes, and there are significant gaps in health outcomes between lower and upper caste groups.

    It is imperative to recognize caste as a public health issue, and to maintain score cards on caste eradication similar to those for smoking, polio or malaria. To eliminate caste discrimination and hierarchy, caste identity and caste-based endogamy needs to be dismantled.

    Similar to China’s one-child policy, innovative policies should be tailored to local situations in each state and a change of semantics may be required. Large scale public health campaigns are required. These need to be supported by policies like:
    • Banning caste-based societies and caste-based marriage advertisement to stigmatize and delegitimize the practice of caste;
    • Incentivizing village priests and school teachers for caste elimination metrics. Encouraging gender and caste diversity in priesthood profession;
    • Inoculating children by incorporating caste reform thoughts into the curriculum and mandating logic as a high school course;
    • Incentivizing inter caste marriages between the lowest and upper caste groups. These marriages are subject to special stresses and societal strains.

    Policies like these need to be evaluated and implemented at a state level. The World Health Organization and UN human-rights advocates could be invited to partner with local state governments and evaluate policies and progress.

    A monolithic, centralized power structure prevails in India. A fair policy that is responsive to local needs will never evolve in the current structure.

    The electoral politics of every state and coalition interest need to be considered in order for any national policy to be formulated. Two-thirds of India’s taxes are collected by the national government and are often distributed in ways that reward badly managed states with more electoral clout than other states.

    To date, no country with a significant population has emerged out of poverty without a manufacturing base that employs its masses. India’s rigid labor laws (such as the one that requires manufacturing units with over 100 employees to receive government permission to fire employees) were designed like Soviet-style socialism where public enterprise is administered by government.

    These laws fail in a world of competitive global forces and deprive India’s poor of millions of productive manufacturing jobs. Labor law reform is blocked by states with strong labor unions, while less rigid states such as Andhra Pradesh and Goa have been seeking change. A federalist form of government would decentralize, localize, empower and hold states responsible for their policies and finances.

    A united opposition can succeed
    At present, India has 80 million unemployed and 250 million underemployed youths. Youth unrest and violent confrontations with the state are on the rise. In the absence of fresh thinking, reactionary forces may emerge on the scene in the near future.

    Revolutions are often unsuccessful and dismantle productive structures. Reforms are often sustainable, but they need to be driven by a vocal and engaged electorate. The future of India depends on social and constitutional reforms led by the people.

    It is time for India’s educated youth, social reformers and millions of marginalized individuals to join hands and develop cohesive reforms that create a sustainable future.

  27. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda,

    That is TAMIL MADU logic!
    TN is not the son of Endia. It is just 1 state out of 30.

    IF Endia wants to damn its foreign policy based on just 5% of its FOOLISH Tamilian population, that is Endia’s end.

    A foreign policy should be based on NATIONAL interests.

    SL comes THIRD profitable nation of Endia when the UNOFFICIAL exports are included. Endia cannot afford to LOSE SL at any cost.

    This is why GOSL is NOT signing the SILK ROAD agreement with China. Pressure from Endia.

    BAYAGULLA foreign policy is what SL follows on Endia. Not my invention but SW’s.

    VERY FEW instances of NOT following the BAYAGULLA foreign policy

    1. buying weapons from China and Pakistan
    2. arresting Endian illegal fishermen
    3. Hambantota

    On ALL other times it is BAYAGULLA foreign policy.

    SL should negotiate with Endia USING the economic clout of $6 BILLION total Endian exports. Endia cannot afford to lose it. Over 4 million Endian families depend on it.

    If we think we are weak and only a SPEC we will always be weak and SMALL. SMALL minds think small.

    We should think BIG when we CAN. Otherwise we can never become an economic HUB.

    Shed this BAYAGULLA foreign policy and attitude NOW.

  28. Lorenzo Says:

    Actually GOSL has done JUST what I have proposed!! Another example of NOT folloing the BAYAGULLA policy.

    “Taneja said India should again start focusing on Sri Lanka and reduce its sensitive list with that country, even if it doesn’t want to restart the services negotiations.”

    “Bangladesh overtakes Sri Lanka as India’s largest trading partner in South Asia”
    March 9, 2013, 5:51 pm

    By S Venkat Narayan
    Our Special Correspondent
    NEW DELHI, March 9:

    Bangladesh has overtaken Sri Lanka as India’s largest trading partner in South Asia. Analysts say tariff issues and India’s growing tensions with Sri Lanka over the the Tamil question are hurting the commercial relationship between the two countries. India’s better ties with Bangladesh have seen an increase in agricultural exports to and textile imports from that country. New Delhi has even allowed concessional tariff rates on textile products from Bangladesh.

    Between April (2012) and January (2013) in the current fiscal year, India’s trade with Bangladesh rose to $4.5 billion from $3.3 billion in the year earlier. During the same period, India’s trade with Sri Lanka fell to $3.5 billion from $4.2 billion.

    The commerce ministry official attributed the drastic fall in trade with Sri Lanka to the increase in customs duty by the island nation on automobiles imported from India, starting April last year. Sri Lanka increased the import duty on cars from 120-291% to 200-350%; from 51-61% to 100% on three-wheelers; and from 61% to 100% on scooters and motorcycles.

    Sri Lanka has also substantially increased the excise duty on automobiles. As a result, several Indian auto makers, including Bajaj Auto Ltd and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, for which Sri Lanka is an important export market, have taken a hit.

    “Because automobile exports to Sri Lanka is a high-value item, that one single measure has meant exports to the country have suffered,” the commerce ministry official added. In April-December of the current fiscal year, India’s automobile exports to Sri Lanka were $357 million as against $1 billion in 2011-12.

    The relationship between India and Sri Lanka has been testy in recent times over the issue of the treatment of Sri Lankan Tamils and also after some fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested by the Sri Lankan Coast Guard for allegedly straying across the maritime boundary. India has been pushing Sri Lanka to devolve more political rights to the minority Tamils to ensure their integration into the mainstream—something Sri Lanka has been resisting.

    A vote at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on a resolution censuring the Sri Lankan government on its human rights record regarding the treatment of Tamils is expected later this month. Last year, India had voted in favour of such a resolution. This has soured relations with Sri Lanka.

    Still, the strained relationship between the two countries is not making it any easier, he added. “To move to the next phase of economic ties with Sri Lanka is going to be difficult,” the official said. “There is no bonhomie between India and Sri Lanka that they would want to push trade relations to the next level.”

    Taneja said India should again start focusing on Sri Lanka and reduce its sensitive list with that country, even if it doesn’t want to restart the services negotiations.

    – island.lk

  29. Nanda Says:

    All arguments will have some truth and some false, they are just “arguments” and will be read with reality in the back of mind.
    We shall let Ananda win, otherwise he will go silent for another month or two.

    Thank you Lorenzo for understanding, and it is the BAYAGULLA attitude that I was strongly opposing.

    India was under REAL pressure due to Tata, Bajaaj, Ashok and other business buggers are well connected to politikkos, does not matter the numbers.

    As a step 1 , Bajaajs should be banned, if Nepal did it 2000, we too can)

    boycotting Indian goods will have Major Impact to politikkos, it is not ENdia but “the bunch of jokers” ( using Fonseka’s golden words) running it will have hard time.

  30. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lorenzo,

    OK .. if you want more than 1 son to support on that $4,000 annual income of the man in my analogy, go right ahead and assume you have 30 sons that you love dearly, but would be willing to part for $15 profit. Hopefully not all of your 30 sons are from the same wife … too spare her too much grief (LOL)!

    My stand remains UNCHANGED and PROVEN to all rational people: Sri Lanka does not have the Economic POWER through her Trade with India to CRIPPLE India as Nanda asserted.

    This was and is the issue we were debating; everything else you dragged in were mere DIVERSIONS to distract attention away from the SELF-EVIDENT TRUTH of what I was saying, and the INDEFENSIBLE proposition of Nanda which you, to my surprise, supported!

    Although we can’t CRIPPLE India, Sri Lanka can save itself from CREEPING DOMINATION by India by REDUCING that Trade … that is what the GOSL has been doing in response to the perceived threat and bad behavior of India in UNHRC-1 and UNHRC-2.

    It is the height of Chutzpah for India which initiated and supported Tamil Terrorism in Sri Lanka for her own “benefit” to consider itself qualified to sit in judgment now on Sri Lanka!

    KICK these HYPOCRITICAL VIPERS right OUT of Sri Lanka and RESTORE our National Sovereignty… I say!

  31. Ananda-USA Says:

    BW,

    Great article on Caste Discrimination in India. Caste discrimination will hold back India for a long time, and its much-balleyhooed federal form of government has WEAKENED its ability to eliminate caste discrimination. As a result, much communal violence lies in store for India in the future.

    That is why in a recent post I said let us move away from India and let it muddle its way through its Communal Path, while Sri Lanka pursues its own vision of a brighter future for ALL of its people along a Non-Communal Path.

    Whatever Sri Lanka’s problems have been, we have done a few things right. Among them are: universal compulsory education, free basic healthcare, enlightened labor laws, national transportation and electricity distribution systems, a banking system widely accessible to all, and enlightened laws that limit monopolization of land and unfair home rental practices.

    The article says “The fact remains that India, as it now exists, has never existed before in history, and the India of today more closely resembles the India defined by the British in 1947. ” THIS IS NOT TRUE … Emperor Asoka of the Mauryan Dynasty unified a much greater area of land than present day’s India and created a “Dharmishta Society”. It is interesting that Asoka’s legacy was discovered with the aid of Sri Lanka’s Mahavamsa historical record; it had largely been a forgotten memory and lost in India itself.

    Ultimately, caste discrimination will disappear when income parity between castes is achieved. As long as low-caste groups are denied entry to education and jobs that will not happen in India. I am happy to note that caste considerations have largely disappeared among the Sinhala people in Sri Lanka, especially in the Public Sphere, and raises its ugly head only in marriage advertisements inserted by a fast disappearing generation of older people.

  32. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda,

    I said,

    “What Nanda says has TRUTH (not entirely though).”

    My position is,

    1. We CANNOT cripple the Endian economy.

    2. Agree with your “Sri Lanka can save itself from CREEPING DOMINATION by India by REDUCING that Trade” and other plans.

    3. MOST importantly SL CAN put pressure on Endian govt. through economic moves which we have done already. e.g. Bajaj BUST, threats to take over tank farm, etc. for political gains.

    This has happened already and Endia has responded (due to OTHER reasons too) positively.

    “The (Endian) commerce ministry official attributed the drastic fall in trade with Sri Lanka to the increase in customs duty by the island nation on automobiles imported from India, starting April last year. Sri Lanka increased the import duty on cars from 120-291% to 200-350%; from 51-61% to 100% on three-wheelers; and from 61% to 100% on scooters and motorcycles.

    Taneja said India should again start focusing on Sri Lanka and reduce its sensitive list with that country, even if it doesn’t want to restart the services negotiations.”

    So the message was clear and UNDERSTOOD. Endia showed LITTE sensitivity to Tamilian BS this time DESPITE an election!!

    I say a FANTASTIC foreign policy stroke. We should also think like this. Our country is small but our whatevers are bigger.

  33. Ananda-USA Says:

    India’s abstention is TOO LITTLE TOO LATE for “blunting” Sri Lanka’s drift away from India.

    Given that India is the PRINCIPAL CAUSE of 30 years of murder and mayhem by Tamil Terrorists in Sri Lanka, what was needed from India was to STEP UP and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the ensuing violence, and not only VOTE AGAINST the UNHRC-3 but also PREVENT the resolution from being presented at all, WELL BEFORE the vote.

    Instead, India dilly-dallied on the fence until the last moment, inducing 11 other countries to abstained from voting against it, and then abstained from voting.

    India’s STRATEGY was to FIRST ENSURE that the vote would go against Sri Lanka by an overwhelming margin, and THEN CRAVENLY to give itself the FIG LEAF of abstaining to regain Sri Lanka’s favor on the pretext that it did abstain against all the pleas of Tamil Nadu politicians to vote for it.

    The latter excuse is a non-flyer given that the DMK has abandoned the Congress Party anyway, and the Congress Party has no hope of carrying Tamil Nadu in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

    Sri Lanka should neither be FOOLED by these Indian ruses, nor should Sri Lanka FORGIVE India for 30 years of ENMITY culminating in their TREACHERY at the UN.

    Now is the time to EASE India OUT from Sri Lanka … with their whole Kit and Kaboodle!

    If India still does not understand the gravity of their CRIMES against Sri Lanka, and is UNWILLING TO ATONE for them by helping Sri Lanka in minimal ways, there is NO POINT in TALKING FURTHER with them!

    India should look at how Pakistan went ALL OUT to help Sri Lanka with the UNHRC-3 vote (See article below). That is how friendly nations help one another … not with lukewarm excuses!

    In the future, the FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS should BE an AGREEMENT on WAR REPARATIONS and COMPENSATION to be PAID by India to Sri Lankan citizens, and the Sri Lankan nation, which has incurred vast losses in BLOOD and TREASURE, and immeasurable PAIN and SUFFERING.

    …………………….
    Understanding India’s UN Abstention on Sri Lanka

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Apr 01 (HP) Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted in favor of a resolution on Thursday to establish an international investigation into alleged war crimes that occurred during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war.

    The 26-year conflict between government troops and the Liberation Tamil Tiger Elam (LTTE) terrorist organization ended in 2009. Despite vehement opposition from Colombo, 23 members of the council supported the resolution, which was co-sponsored by a host of nations including the United States. While Washington’s support was predictable, uncertainty surrounded India’s vote. New Delhi had previously supported two earlier council resolutions condemning Sri Lanka’s human rights record. Many speculated that it would again join with the United States in calling for an international inquiry into the war crime allegations.

    In a move that appeared to surprise both Washington and Colombo, however, New Delhi abstained from voting on the UN resolution. What explains New Delhi’s decision? India’s abstention on Sri Lanka appears to be motivated by a combination of both domestic and foreign policy factors, as New Delhi struggles to walk a delicate tightrope between these two oftentimes competing considerations.

    Domestically, the government of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu has traditionally exercised considerable, if not disproportionate, influence over New Delhi’s decision-making calculus toward Sri Lanka. This is a result of the state’s historically close ties with the island nation’s minority Tamil population. An estimated 40,000 Sri Lankan Tamils died during the final months of the country’s civil war. New Delhi’s support for the two earlier UNHRC resolutions, as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision to boycott a summit of the Commonwealth nations in Colombo last year over the war crimes charges, were largely the consequence of immense pressure from various political parties from Tamil Nadu. The Congress Party-led governing coalition relies on alliances with some of these regional parties to form the country’s government.

    With national elections scheduled to begin in India in just a few days, voting against the UNHRC resolution last week — and ostensibly expressing its support for the Sri Lankan government as a result — undoubtedly would have alienated these regional parties. Although the Congress Party’s electoral prospects in the upcoming election appear bleak, unnecessarily provoking many of its historic coalition partners and one of its important constituencies was a risk that that the government was unwilling to take.

    Beyond these domestic factors, however, larger foreign policy prerogatives also contributed to New Delhi’s abstention in Geneva. While the country’s Tamil community has pushed New Delhi to condemn Colombo over human rights, India has watched with increasing unease and concern as Sri Lanka has in recent years sought closer foreign relations with China and Pakistan, India’s strategic rivals. Some observers in India have asserted that New Delhi’s tough stance toward Sri Lanka over human rights in recent years has been a key catalyst driving Colombo’s embrace into Chinese and Pakistani arms. China has played a central role in Sri Lanka’s post-war reconstruction, spearheading infrastructure projects and providing substantial financial assistance to the island. Colombo and Islamabad have begun to deepen defense and military cooperation since the end of the Sri Lankan war in 2009. Pakistan’s fierce opposition to the UNHRC resolution last week seemed to rival Sri Lanka’s. The evolving geopolitical alignments in the region have potentially far-reaching geostrategic consequences for India, and New Delhi is eager to blunt growing Chinese and Pakistani influence over the island. Its abstention at the UN on Thursday appeared to be one step towards that end.

    India’s abstention was, in fact, consistent with its past efforts to strike a delicate balance between these seemingly rival domestic and foreign policy considerations. Although it previously voted in favor of two earlier UNHRC resolutions condemning Sri Lanka, it refused to support a resolution characterizing the killings that occurred during the final months of the civil war as “genocide.” Similarly, while Prime Minister Singh skipped the Commonwealth summit in Colombo last year to protest Sri Lanka’s human rights record, India instead dispatched its top diplomat to the meeting.

    Read More:: HP (Source)

  34. Lorenzo Says:

    Afghan election this Saturday.

    My prediction Abdullah Abdullah will WIN.

    Hamid Karzai FINISHED.

    But the REAL rulers will be the Taliban. NATO losers have LOST. Now trying to lose to Russia in Poland.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

 

 


Copyright © 2018 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress