A Smart Sri Lankan Move With A Quick Indian response!

Insight by Sunil Kumara ~ For LankaWeb

June 1st 2007

In what seems a huge embarrassment to giant superpower neighbour India which just days ago refused the Government of Sri Lanka to provide arms and armaments to fight terrorism in Sri Lanka according to their Foreign Secretary, appears to have done an about turn in relenting this move and in a most contradictary manner has suggested that they will "give whatever they think necessary' for Sri Lanka's requisites towards fighting the LTTE terrorists and have taken off a lot of flack from many international critics who were initially dismayed over India's attitude as it was a request made by a Sovereign Nation to fight what the entire world condemns as global terrorism!The conditional offer still is not good enough from a Sri lankan standpoint as the Indian ambiguities still relate to a certain reluctance to displease the Tamiils in Tamil Nadu where opinions are split towards LTTE support albeit dwindling!

This new response is an aftermath of the Sri Lankan President's defiant insistence that should India refuse to supplement Sri Lanka's effort to quell terrorism with every means available he would look to Pakistan and China who were more than willing to provide towards Sri Lanka's needs and the Indian Government has been very evocative that it does not view favourably the Chinese and Pakistani involvement and has invited the Sri Lankan Government to make the requests which they seem to be now more than happy to comply with having initially scoffed at the request! But would this offer be another conditional one towards defense equipment only is the burning question and Sri Lanka's turn to scoff at India's response if so!

It has been made public that " In an uncharacteristically blunt response, the National Security Advisor Mr.M K Narayanan on Thursday has put Sri Lanka on notice saying that Delhi will not like Colombo going to Beijing or Islamabad for arms to fight LTTE. “Sri Lanka should come to India and we will give whatever we think is necessary” which augurs somewhat dubiously towards why India has had a sudden change of heart where it must also be remembered that Tamil Nadu was indeed a onetime provider of LTTE arms which came to a full stop after the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.It is also hope that whatever they think is necessary has to entails all the requisites of the Sri Lankan Government while not pussyfooting around the issue merely to make tamil nadu smile and hint at devensive weaponry only which could be grossly misinterpreted as bulletproof vests and helmets only and not the rest of the hardware!

This certainly is a feather in President Rajapaksha's cap as his no nonsense approach which he is very much entitled to as the leader of a Sovereign Nation appears to have jarred India's conscience that the demands of Sri Lanka is a demand which would be favorable for India as well when considering the regional importance it entails and the contentiousness of what might have appeared to be a huge Faux Pas had China and Pakistan entered the fray through India's neglect over a key issue now seemingly avoided although the impression of India's initial response becomes an indelible one with China and Pakistan not entirely out of the picture!

Despite India's response to Sri Lanka being described by a misguided few as 'a warning' it appears more an entreaty or an urgent request relative to Sri Lanka's move to tap China and Pakistan for arms in a big way to take on the rebel Tamil Tigers where India has ruled out any offensive weapons and promised only weapons of defensive capability falling well short of Sri Lanka's real need considering the recent purchases by Sri Lanka of refurbished Soviet tanks and MIG planes from Pakistan and if India were to really put their monies where their mouths are in order to intercept the anticipated Pakistani - Chinese response they should realistically be providing unconditional arms supplies of both the defence and offence capabilities as it makes little sense and in all probailities may not prevent Sri lanka touting Pakistan and China for weapons and logistical support regardless of what India wants!

However, notwithstanding the bully like mentality of India which has at times prevailed in matters relating to the LTTE issue in order to appease Tamil Nadu it now becomes a thing of the past as India have been made to reluctantly toe the line with world opinion against global terrorism and is not a mere matter of appeasing voters in a particular constituency which hopefully is a lesson learned!

Quoting from a recent news item"In what is certainly seen as an brilliant move, President Mahinda Rajapaksha’s brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksha, who is also the defence secretary, has conveyed to Delhi this past week that Colombo understood Delhi’s political compulsions and therefore its reluctance to come his country’s rescue to take on the LTTE might.This reasoning had few takers here. In fact, observers see in the Gotabaya stand an excuse for military buys from Pakistan and China even when India plainly made it clear that the ethnic crisis is a political problem and it should be addressed as such.The Colombo arm buying spree is also seen as a challenge to India’s pre-eminent position in the region.This is probably the reason why Mr Narayanan made use of his Chennai visit to send a clear and unambiguous message to Rajapakse government." end quote fully endorsing the brilliance of the move!

The Rajapaksha Government in turn should be smugly content that the clear message it sent out to India has in turn been responded to positively and in a manner conducive to what Sri Lanka expected as a positive response in the first place.

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