Power Devolution and 13A Will Totally Mess Up Our Foreign Policy Creating Enemies the World Over
Posted on March 29th, 2013

Dilrook Kannangara

The recent racism boilover in Tamil Nadu teaches us many things. It is how Sri Lanka will be after meaningful power devolution. TNA, TULF and ACTC led Northern Province will be no different to DMK and AIADMK led Tamil Nadu state of India, if not worse. However, things get far worse than that. What we also saw in the devolution model of India is how states/provinces manipulated the CentreƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s foreign policy to the extent of creating an adversary out of a friend and making a mockery of IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s otherwise consistent foreign policy! Tamil tail was wagging the Indian nation. This is what will happen in Sri Lanka after meaningful devolution of power with far nastier consequences.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Foreign Policy is a Matter for the CentreƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢

Devolution pundits say foreign policy is a matter for the centre as it is not in the Provincial List or the Concurrent List in 13A. However, these devolution pundits and NGO advocates of 13A donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t have their feet on ground. What actually happens is far remote from what the book says. Events in India over a long period of time indicate irrespective of what the Constitution says, if power is devolved to provinces and provinces are run by communal elements, foreign policy becomes a direct casualty as a result.

Writing to India Today, a former Indian Foreign Secretary says; quote, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-If our foreign policy towards Sri Lanka should be based on the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu today, then sentiments in West Bengal should dictate our foreign policy towards Bangladesh tomorrow, and those in UP and Bihar should determine what we do with Nepal day after. It would be a mistake to begin treating our relations with our neighbours as extensions of the pulls and pressures of our domestic politicsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, unquote.


In fact this has happened in West Bengal in the 1970s over the war with Pakistan/Bangladesh. Tensions in India-Nepal relations heightened during the period of transition a decade ago from a powerful monarchy to democratic rule and it boiled across the border to UP and Bihar. The patchwork that is India is a hotbed of tribalism that often spills over to and from its neighbours.

Our policymakers must learn from these events before it is too late and abrogate the 13A forthwith.

IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Foreign Policy Tragedy

Tamil tail wagging India is just the tip of the iceberg of IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s foreign policy tragedy. Until 2011 India strictly followed a policy of not supporting any resolution that targets and singles out a nation. But India broke away from this policy in 2012 when it voted against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. Once broken loose from the policy, India continues to vote in country specific resolutions.

Worsening the situation, Indian conduct became a mockery just a day before the US sponsored resolution was debated. Indian representative to the UNHRC previously worked to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”tone downƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ the resolution. Following Tamil Nadu pressure, he was summoned to New Delhi and once returned to Geneva he made a last ditch attempt to change the resolution once again; this time to roughen it. USA and EU rejected all these moves. It made India the laughing stock of the UNHRC exposing its indecision. India has been reduced to an indecisive and weak nation in the eyes of the world community. Such a weak and indecisive nation must not be allowed to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council where serious matters will have to be decided upon.

Tamil Nadu leaders were conniving with the former US Secretary of State and western Tamil groups to cripple IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s foreign policy and they succeeded. This success has given USA and other interested parties an access point to manipulate IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s foreign policy at will. Today India is emerging as a foreign policy garbage dump with contradictory foreign policy priorities of its states. It is a house divided as each householder developing independent relationships with different outsiders. This is a prelude to IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s foreseeable disintegration.

If 13A is not abrogated, IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s foreign policy tragedy will befall Lanka too.

Northern Provincial Council and Eastern Provincial Council with Vested Foreign Relations Interests

When TNA has the majority, the Northern Provincial Council will oppose any Chinese or Pakistani related development, business, political or business project in the north. Instead it will want more Indian, US, British, Australian, Canadian and other pro-UNHRC resolution countries to have their presence in the north. It will also forge closer relations with the one-million-strong Tamil Diaspora that is almost entirely pro-LTTE. TNA, TULF and ACTC leaders have already formed these links. Despite his meek presentation, V Anandasangaree of TULF has a very close personal link to the Canadian Tamil Congress ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” the most active pro-LTTE front organization in Canada which was once led by his son. TNA and ACTC have their own links to Global Tamil Forum, British Tamil Forum and other Tamil movements abroad. Therefore TNA, TULF and ACTC will have strong links with these groups that are in turn connected to various regime change agents.

Once elected, the Northern Provincial Council will pass resolutions in support of UNHRC resolutions although it is not within the powers of the Council. It will be at the forefront of all anti-Sri Lanka activities. Tourists and businesses from countries that vote against anti-Sri Lanka resolutions may be attacked.

Then there are NGOs operating to advance the strategic objectives of the anti-Sri Lanka camp. The website aligned to Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) – ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”GroundviewsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ – was initiated by the Ford Foundation USA which is a frontline regime change agency operating from the USA. The Northern Provincial Council will be their outlet.

The combined weight of these pressures will weigh down on the government. If the government doesnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t yield to the demands of the Northern Provincial Council led by TNA and its connected parties, they will stage civil disobedience campaigns, violent protests, vandalism and sabotage. Then the government will have to act either way. If it gives in, the nation will make enemies of its friends. If it resists, protests and boycotts will grow to the extent of a violent confrontation.

Muslim controlled Eastern Province will demand an end to Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s relations with USA, Israel and the EU. If Sri Lankan government resists, it will also lead to violent clashes. If it caves in, Israel, USA and the EU will turn against Sri Lanka.

When their international friends have contradictory interests, worse clashes will erupt. For instance, if tensions between India and Pakistan rise, a corresponding increase in confrontational policies of the Northern Provincial Council and the Eastern Provincial Council will be seen. One may pass a resolution condemning India while the other will condemn Pakistan. IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s unenviable position will be what Sri Lanka will be in by then.

Ultimately Sri Lanka will have many enemies than friends around the world and a hybrid foreign policy based on Tamil and Muslim interests. Regime change agents will have a safe haven to operate from.

Then it will be easier to inch forward towards total Tamil autonomy ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Tamil Elam.

13A relates to a bygone era of the Cold War and a war in the island. Things have changed and these events are no longer valid. Hence the prescription is not valid anymore. 13A must be abrogated completely without delay.

At the moment the nationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s foreign policy goes against the national security policy (if any). Foreign policy priorities determine where to have army camps, whether or not to release terrorists and a host more matters relating to defence. It will be unthinkable what will happen to the nation foreign policy (in addition to provincial pressures) when it is on a collision course against national security interests and Sri Lankan geopolitical interests.



9 Responses to “Power Devolution and 13A Will Totally Mess Up Our Foreign Policy Creating Enemies the World Over”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Learning from others is like AIDS.

    If I don’t learn from others to AVOID AIDS, I will NEVER learn because once you get it, you are DEAD.

    But GOSL is waiting to learn how it feels like to have AIDS without learning it from Endia.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Precisely, Mr. Defence Secretary!

    If Tamil Nadu can blackmail the Government of India to act against its National Interests,

    then a Tamil-Controlled Northern Province, with Devolved Power, CERTAINLY WILL BLACKMAIL Sri Lanka against its National Interests.

    This is what we have been saying all along: DO NOT DEVOLVE POWER TO UNREPENTANT SEPARATISTS .. it will Destroy Sri Lanka as a unitary sovereign nation.

    The RECENT ACTIVITIES of ALL TAMILS … Sri Lankan Tamils such as the TNA, Eelamist Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspra, and Indian Tamils in Tamil Nadu have NOW CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED their NEXUS on their EELAM PROJECT.

    What more EVIDENCE is NECESSARY?
    Answer: NONE!

    Let Sri Lanka,

    REPEAL the 13th Amendment and ABOLISH ALL Provincial Councils. Make DISTRICTS the largest administrative units directly administered byy a Government Agent as in the past,

    FORTIFY the Northern Province and the entire shoreline of Sri Lanka FURTHER,

    DISCOURAGE ALL involvement by India in Sri Lanka in Economic, Diplomatic and Military fields to get Sri Lanka out of India’s DEADLY EMBRACE,

    INCREASE alliances with other powers like China, Russia, Pakistan and emerging economies of Latin America and Africa.


    TN crisis bolsters anti-devolution project – Gotabhaya

    article_imageBy Shamindra Ferdinando
    March 28, 2013, 12:00 pm

    Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the ongoing crisis in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, over accountability issues here, should discourage those pushing for devolution of power under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

    A hostile provincial administration in the Northern or the Eastern Province in Sri Lanka could be inimical to the post-war national reconciliation process, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said in an exclusive interview with The Island. Such an administration could be as intimidating as the conventional military challenge posed by the LTTE, he said.

    Asserting that Tamil Nadu was clearly dictating terms to the Central government of India at the behest of some Western powers as well as the LTTE rump, represented by the UK-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF), the outspoken official said that the deepening crisis in Tamil Nadu was nothing but a glaring lesson for the Sri Lankan government.

    “Could we afford to have a provincial administration here, which pointed a gun at the national leadership at the drop of a hat? We don’t want to be at the mercy of scheming provincial administrations,” the Defence Secretary said, highlighting the danger in foreign powers using bankrupt local elements to influence sovereign governments.

    “We have had bad experience on a number of occasions due to foreign interference in our affairs. We are determined not to allow external elements to meddle in domestic politics at the expense of national reconciliation,” the Defence Secretary said. With an unprecedented two thirds majority in Parliament, the government could take tangible action in accordance with the country’s Constitution to safeguard national interests.

    The Defence Secretary said that those wanting to drag Sri Lanka before an international war crimes tribunal should peruse a recent commentary by former Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal. He said that Sibal had lucidly highlighted the absurdity of the situation in one paragraph: “If our foreign policy towards Sri Lanka should be based on the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu today, then sentiments in West Bengal should dictate our foreign policy towards Bangladesh tomorrow, and those in UP and Bihar should determine what we do with Nepal day after. It would be a mistake to begin treating our relations with our neighbours as extensions of the pulls and pressures of our domestic politics. Our neighbours are independent, sovereign countries, which require that we control our domestic lobbies and prevent them from distorting our policies in our periphery. Moreover, when the states are today resisting strongly encroachment on their powers in a federal system, they should also respect the prerogative of the Centre to make foreign policy.”

    The former Indian Foreign Secretary couldn’t have made the statement at a better time, the Defence Secretary said alleging that Tamil Nadu was being used by Western powers to influence the Center much to the embarrassment to all those concerned. India would never have voted against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for two consecutive years if not for heavy Tamil Nadu pressure over this particular issue, the Defence Secretary said.

    According to Rajapaksa, in the backdrop of member states of the European Union and those waiting to join the grouping voting against Sri Lanka in Geneva, in accordance with a policy decision, the role of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) should be examined. The Defence Secretary pointed out that EU countries and those waiting to join the grouping spoke in once voice during six votes moved against Israel also at the recently concluded UNHRC sessions, in spite of the US taking a different position. However, SAARC hadn’t probably discussed the issue, with major power taking position in Geneva contrary to the stand taken by other SAARC nations in two consecutive years, the Defence Secretary said.

    Responding to a query, the Defence Secretary said that SAARC couldn’t be blind to what was happening, both regionally and globally. He insisted that whatever differences member states could have had on political issues, terrorism shouldn’t be tolerated and tangible action should be taken to protect interests of those countries fighting terrorism.

    Gotabhaya said that an effort was still being made to undermine the government in a bid to effect a change of the Rajapaksa administration. But that wouldn’t be an easy task as long as the vast majority of people remained with the government, he said.

    Commenting on the recent anti-Sri Lanka sentiments expressed by Tamil Nadu politician Sebastian Seeman during a meeting in Oslo, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that those who couldn’t stomach the LTTE demise were still propagating lies against Sri Lanka. He said that some of those countries taking a hostile approach towards Sri Lanka, like the failed peacemaker Norway should know the despicable strategies adopted by the LTTE. Had they bothered to go through the file pertaining to the Kadirgamar assassination and talks between Norwegian representatives and Anton Balasingham in London, the government would realize what was going on, the Defence Secretary said.

    The External Affairs Ministry quoted Seeman as having said in Oslo: “Only 50,000 Tigers gave their lives for Eelam but there are over 500,000 Tigers in Tamil Nadu. We will start our war from this point.

    “*Not only Karuna but also Tamils did not give Tamil names to their children and are using other languages when speaking. Therefore Tamils are their own traitors.

    *We have to ensure there is a day where Sinhalese will combat for their freedom from Tamils like Tamils are fighting them now.

    *If a Sinhala student gets 35 marks he will enter the University but a Tamil student must get 85 marks to enter the University in Sri Lanka.”

    *Sinhalese who cut ladies’ breasts and hang on ropes now need Tamils thigh curry. Nine crore Tamils join hands and should chase out the one and a half crore Sinhalese.”

  3. thirdeye Says:

    Government is digging grave.. they should not think short term benefits 13 a has. they must act with a better knowledge on how to keep the power and control in the center. as very well mention by some above, the other interested lobbies such as GTF and diaspora , tamilnadu ect will dictate terms to the center if they the NE given separate power .

  4. S de Silva Says:

    Sri Lanka will not gain anything by keeping 13A as you have pointed out. There is not much point in the GoSL still pondering and postponing dealing with 13A. While it has the majority, ditching 13A with a parliamentary majority is the first thing it should do and not leave this task for posterity! Remember 13A was imposed on us by India but has no merit for us and we should reject it right now if nothing else in retaliation for Indian action against SL at the UNHRC – S de Silva – London

  5. Kosala777 Says:

    Sri Lanka should understand India is a fraud. basically they have no policy on Sri Lanka, why should we keep the 13th amendment then?

  6. Senevirath Says:

    No patriot will delay repealing 13th and provincial councils when they have power to do it.


  7. cassandra Says:

    13A was forced on SL by Rajiv Gandhi’s bullying India. In law, agreements entered into under duress are voidable.
    Secondly,it has not been implemented for more than 20 years – it is a dead letter. Thirdly, 13A was part of a wider agreement which included India, for her part, in disarming the Tigers. That, she woefully, failed to do. You cannot hold down only one party to an agreement and ignore the failure on the part of the other to fulfil its obligations. And fourthly, circumstances have changed significantly since 1987 – 13A is no longer relevant. Let’s take the bit between our teeth, stop this dilly dallying and simply say we are done with this piece of Indian imposed change and do away with 13A once and for all.

  8. jayasiri Says:

    Thank you, Dilrook Kannangara & all others who commented with utmost sincererity of Mother lanka.

    Most expats from USA, Canada & other European countries have time & again requested President Mahinda Rajapaksha to put an end to this dreconian measure introduced by India, at the weakest point in Sri Lanka back in 1987.

    If we fail to do this now, repercussions will be greater in the future. All participants, commentators, should combine their efforts & meet President Rajapaksha & explain in detail what has been wriiten, and spoken by countless expats and some in Sri Lanka too, including past Foreign Secretaries, interlectuals & Lanka loving people.

    The best news is that Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksha is of the view that 13, 13 A or any form of ammendment to OUR constitution is OUR OWN responsibility, not of India’s or countries who suport India in the hope de-stablizing Sri Lanka.

    I appeal to ALL who wrote & commented about this 13th ammendment should unite & insiist on President Rajapaksha to abolish this unhealthy, intrusive ammendment forthwith.

    I am sure Sri Lankan Citizens in lanka, will wholeheartedly support such a move as they are too busy finding the next meal & living in a society that erodes day by day due to outside interferenc by the so called Int. Community.

    Thanks again so much for your valuable contribution & I hope you all will make this priority for immediate action.

    Another retired expat from Canada, expressing his two cents worth..ONE NATION, under ONE FLAG, indivisible, united & strong……..May god bless & the Noble triple Gems protect Sri Lanka~

  9. mario_perera Says:

    I am very happy to see Cassandra on line again.

    Thank you Cassandra, do not deprive Lankaweb readers of your precious insights.

    Mario Perera

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