India’s Sri Lanka Problem – July 20,2011
Posted on July 22nd, 2011

Ira de Silva London, Canada

The Editor,
Wall Street Journal Asia,
Hong Kong.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Dear Sir:

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Reference the Op-Ed by S. Dhume which reads “India’s Sri Lanka Problem” my initial reaction on reading it was that perhaps it should have read “Sri Lanka’s India Problem”.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It was to satisfy India’s policy during the period of Indira Gandhi’s premiership of “ruling” the Indian ocean referred to as the “Indira Doctrine” that India developed the LTTE terrorist group to destabilise Sri Lanka because India did not “approve” of Sri Lanka’s friendship with the U.S. At that time India favoured a close relationship with the Soviet Union. Ironically when India threatened military action against Sri Lanka in 1987. the U.S. and the so-called international community turned a blind eye, tacitly supporting India in it’s aggressive policy violating principles of international law. It is much like the policies of the U.S., U.K. and other western countries today engaged in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan illustrating the “policy” that if they have bigger armies, bombs, drones, aircraft and other tools of war they believe they have the licence to invade, kill, support terrorist groups, create refugees by the million and destroy countries that they want to punish for their own interests.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sri Lanka has been a pawn in Indian politics whenever the Central Government in India wanted votes in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is important to remember that after India gained independence from the British, Tamil Nadu wanted to separate from India leading to an amendment to the Indian constitution to prevent it. Rather than create a separate country for Tamils in Tamil Nadu, the homeland of all Tamils, the Indian government in general and the Tamil Nadu government in particular turned their attention to creating a separate state for Tamils by dividing Sri Lanka. To this end the Central Government and State of Tamil Nadu has supported LTTE terrorism provided funding openly from the State government while the Indian government provided the military training, bases and diplomatic support. It has been the policy of the Indian Government to support Tamil terrorism in Sri Lanka as and when it suited it all in the name of the importance of India. The writer seems to support this concept of India being the big bully of the neighbourhood because the argument against Sri Lanka is “how can India expect more clout on the world stage when it wields so little influence in its own neighbourhood?”

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The statement that “the island nation’s problems are not entirely of India’s making” is telling. It acknowledges that Sri Lanka’s problems if not all, at least some are of India’s making. The theme of the article is that India should dictate what Sri Lanka should do, for example it faults New Delhi for failing to slow “Sri Lanka’s rapid slide toward authoritarianism, protect the rights of minority Tamils, or stem rising Chinese influence”. Does the writer believe that Sri Lanka is another state of India? Does he not know that Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and has the right to formulate it’s own policies? As for Sri Lanka’s rapid slide toward authoritarianism, again that is for the Sri Lankan people to deal with, not be dictated by a neighbour who prides itself as a bully in the region. There is the glib mention of the rights of minority Tamils without the realisation that the Tamils as well as all other citizens of Sri Lanka have the same rights, one person one vote, freedom of movement which is now extended to the entire island after the defeat of the Tamil terrorists, free education, medical services etc. which provide them with a far higher standard of living than the people in India and the Tamils of Tamil Nadu. As for the presidents brothers holding posts as ministers and speaker of the house, does he not realise that they have been elected by the people to parliament to be eligible for these posts? If being a relative does not disqualify members of government in other countries such as the U.K., U.S., India etc. why is it only a disqualification for Sri Lanka?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ With reference to human rights and the report by the United Nations panel which “estimates that tens of thousands — most of them innocent civilians shelled indiscriminately by the Sri Lankan army — died in the closing months of the country’s civil war” he is merely repeating unsubstantiated allegations without any proof or credible evidence because this very panel he quotes states in their report that the report is “not based on proven facts”. The panel chose to present the allegations in a narrative account rather than listing the various allegations under their legal classification and states “this account should not be taken as proven facts and any effort to determine specific liabilities would require a higher threshold”. This indicates that the report does not meet the standards required by the U.N., it is a collection of stories and what makes it even more questionable is that the submissions on which the report is based is sealed and not open to any scrutiny for twenty years. It is also a fact that large parts of the report were taken from LTTE writings and propaganda without any attempt at verification. As for the documentary by Britain’s Channel 4 released last month, it has already been discredited because there is no proof that the video is authentic, that the people in the video are not actors, and most of the documentary is a collection of photographs and publications by the propaganda arm of the Tamil terrorists which have been doctored to support the theme of the documentary.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ One final comment on India’s duplicity towards Sri Lanka – the writer claims that “an Indian project to build 50,000 homes for displaced Tamils has barely taken off, in part due to government apathy in Colombo”. It is not the apathy in Colombo that these homes have not been built but that it is another false promise from India. As stated before, India’s policy towards Sri Lanka is based solely on getting votes in India. Not 50,000 homes, India should pay for all the homes that need to be built and the infrastructure that was destroyed because of it’s support of Tamil terrorism. Further, the so-called “international community” which is in reality the “white west”, while refusing to help Sri Lanka deal with terrorism did it’s best to support the terrorists and even attempted to stop the war to evacuate the LTTE hierarchy so that they could live to continue to terrorise the country. It was Hilary Clinton that wanted Sri Lanka to pause and negotiate with the LTTE hierarchy rather than eliminate them while carrying on wars against terrorism in other parts of the world – the same Hilary Clinton who is now discussing with the Tamil Nadu government about how to deal with Sri Lanka all because Sri Lanka did not follow the dictates of the U.S. and U.K. to permit the LTTE to continue to terrorise Sri Lanka.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It is hoped that India will not succeed in, as the writer states, “nudging Sri Lanka” merely to provide New Delhi with enhanced influence and international prestige. The last time India did that, it resulted in a thirty year terrorist war which killed thousands in Sri Lanka, led to untold human suffering and economic destruction. It is hoped that Sri Lanka will not give in to “nudging” by India so that it does not once again suffer just so India can gain “international prestige”. Sri Lanka has to reject Indian interference in Sri Lanka because India is Sri Lanka’s problem.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Yours truly,

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Ira de Silva
London, Canada

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