“Win-win situation between India and Sri Lanka” and historical, cultural and ethnic links
Posted on April 5th, 2013

 Asada M  Erpini

A media report dated 04 April quotes a spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs as saying, “India, Sri Lanka relationship is a ‘win-win situation'”. The next day, a widely-read local English daily reported, “The President (of India) said India-Sri Lanka bilateral relationship is based on shared historical, cultural and ethnic ties and it has always been close and cordial”. The latter also stated that India could not remain untouched by developments in Sri Lanka.

 What hogwash and hollow and interfering rubbish!

 If one were to look at the “ƒ”¹…”win-win’ situation between India and Sri Lanka, about which India’s External Affairs Ministry waxes eloquent, the winning was always by India, and powerless Sri Lanka had to silently take all the punches that were delivered below the belt and tolerate the backstabbing without raising a voice.

 The spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry of India appears to talk with much pride about the megaprojects that his country is involved in Sri Lanka. He cannot help referring to them as those “focused on the Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka”. What he has brushed aside is that working with Sri Lanka for the mutual benefit of the two countries does not mean doing something only for the “Tamil speaking people”. The Sinhala people of the country constitute 75% of the population – they could be referred to as “Sinhalese speaking”, if one were to use a similar line of argument. And, all the largesse that India seems to be ready to bestow on Sri Lanka is for the benefit of a mere 4% of the population in the North and the East. To win the hearts and minds of the people of Sri Lanka, India needs to take into account the other seven provinces as well.  Added to that, it sounds somewhat incongruous that the Tamils who live in the Central highlands in the tea growing areas, who even go under the label “Tamils of Indian Origin”, but do not live in Kankasanthurai, Thalaimannar or in any other region in the North or East, do not seem to get included under the “Tamil-speaking people” categorisation. Furthermore, the Moors of Sri Lanka, who profess the Muslim faith, too, use the Tamil language in their day to day affairs, and therefore are “Tamil speaking people”. The majority of them “”…” except for a few of their self seeking political leaders –  may not be ready to get lumped with the Tamils of the North or the East.

 It has been reported previously by many that India, through its intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), provided arms, training and money to six militant Tamil groups from Sri Lanka during the period from 1983 to 1987. The LTTE headed the list of the beneficiaries. Training camps were established in 32 locations, which included Dehradun, Chakrata, Himacha Pradesh and Nainital, the last ironically being the facility at which Rajiv Gandhi’s killer received her training.

 India is morally bound to repair and pay for the damage that the North and the East as well as the rest of Sri Lanka suffered and the innocent lives lost over a period of three decades that ended in May 2009. It is India that transformed a bunch of street thugs to become “the most ruthless terrorists” in the world, which wreaked havoc in a once-peaceful country. The damage to railway lines and other infrastructure was the result of deliberate actions by the Frankenstein monster that India let loose in Sri Lanka, and not of any natural event or act of God.

 As long as one can remember, all that India did was to poke its unwelcome finger in Sri Lanka’s affairs, blatantly ignoring the fact that S was an independent, sovereign nation, and not a state of the Union of States and a union territory that constitute India. Although Indira Gandhi had denied, it was during her time as Prime Minister that she initiated supporting Tamill militants from Sri Lanka. Following her demise at the hands of her own security personnel, her son Rajiv gladly took up the mantle and continued with strengthening the LTTE. A few classic examples of his interference in Sri Lanka’s affairs are the infamous parippu drop over Jaffna, violation of the airspace of Sri Lanka by India’s fighter planes, anchoring warships menacingly close to Colombo and the so-called Indo-Lanka accord, in which there was no accord whatsoever but only India forcing its will on a hapless Sri Lanka. Following all these incidents that occurred in 1987, it is sad irony that young Rajiv was blasted to smithereens by a member of the very same gang that the mother and the son nurtured and promoted.

 Any benevolent relationships that India had with Sri Lanka, or the former Ceylon, are few and far between. The most vivid exception is during the time of Emperor Ashoka  (273 – 232 BC) when he sent his son and daughter to Sri Lanka and established Buddhism in the island. For most of the rest of the time, it was never-ending invasions and destruction of stupendous cultural and architectural artefacts by South Indian armies, the most notable of which were the actions of the Chola and Pandya emperors. It is not at all surprising that today’s Jayalialithas, Karunanidhis, Vaikos, and Nedurmarans, as well as a few celluloid heroes of Tamil movies, are carrying on with the legacy that they have inherited.

 Many Sri Lankans, especially the Buddhists, tend to equate India of today with Dambadiva (Jambuddeepa) of yore. Some of the sites of historical and religious significance to them are in countries that cannot be described as India’s bosom buddies. Taxila, the seat of learning that is often described as the first university of the world and was a centre for the study of Buddhism, is in today’s Pakistan. Places such as Lumbini and Kapilavastu that were closely associated with Siddharhtha Gautama, who later became Lord Buddha, are not India but in Nepal. The poor souls who go on pilgrimage to these places are physically attacked when they pass through Tamil Nadu, a state of India that does not spare even Sri Lanka’s Buddhist monks from their uncultured and vile behaviour. And, all that the Central Government of India does when such harassment occurs is to say that they were isolated incidents. One dreads the thought of the possible repercussions in Tamil Nadu if a Tamil Nadu Hindu priest was manhandled by a gang of lunatics while he was in Sri Lanka!

The pious pronouncements by spokesmen of India’s Ministry of External Affairs or the references to the “historical, cultural and ethnic ties” between India and Sri Lanka by its President are unlikely to be embraced as sincere or true even by a primary school child in Sri Lanka. If either desires establishing goodwill, the best that India could do is to stop meddling in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.     



6 Responses to ““Win-win situation between India and Sri Lanka” and historical, cultural and ethnic links”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    “What hogwash and hollow and interfering rubbish!”


    This is another dumb attempt to ROB SL and call it good for SL!!!

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    There is the “Dambadiva” type of India and then there is Tamil Nadu ‘unable to sort out their problems’, type of India.
    :do: and then there is the east/west divide within India.
    :do: and then there is the Caste/poverty issue, with one billion population type of India.

    The ‘Dambadiva’ type of India represents the genetic, religious & cultural connections to India. Historically, Chola and other invasions from South Indian areas close to Lanka, plus recent events with the ltte, do not help cement good friendship with India or the Tamil Nadu area. It seems to us that it is mainly the Tamil Nadu leaders who will have to work hard to cement good friendship with Lanka instead of playing wily games for fish grabs, land & power grabs. On the part of Lanka, the less dependency on Tamil Labor, the better. And stay strictly Non-Aligned and Democratic.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    It is curious fact that the demand for self-determination by Tamils focuses on their majority status in a local region, without regard to how large or small that region is, or how large or small their population is compared to those of the nation as a whole. The migration patterns that created those local majorities in lands previously occupied by citizens of other races is ignored, denying them their historical right to freely settle anywhere in the nation as a whole.

    Consequently, Sri Lankan Tamils, about 12% of Sri Lanka’s population now demand a sovereign Tamils-only state in the North and East comprising 40% of Sri Lanka’s land mass, because they are a local majority there, Yet, when their lives were threatened by 30 years of warfare, they availed themselves of their right as citizens to move to Colombo in the Sinhala South, creating a Tamil majority city. If we invoke the “local-majority” principle, Tamils could demand that Colombo be declared a sovereign Tamils-only city!

    If the existence of a “local-majority” is accepted as the sole criterion for the demand of “self-determination” and “sovereignty”, why then every isolated province, district, city, town, village and even street with a local Tamil majority can claim sovereignty, irrespective of every other criterion, such as the historical rights of the citizens of the nation as a whole.

    Once accepted, such rights would accrue not only to the Tamils, but also to the Sinhalese, the Muslims and to other small minorities such as the Chinese living in every Chinatown, and to people of specific religions and castes. Those who advocate such a principle for Sri Lanka, should examine the repercussions in their own countries. In Tamil Nadu, the Vanniyars definitely deserve a sovereign state, reviving the struggle by Ramadoss only a few decades ago. Why not separate states for the long persecuted Tamil Dalits and the Muslims who are politically organizing for a separate existence in Tamil Nadu?

    We Sri Lankans reject India’s enthusiastic prescriptions the of “Local-Majority self-determination principle” as a solution for the communal conflicts it triggered in Sri Lanka. We have assessed how it has worked for India and the prognosis is not good. As a patchwork of many ethnic, religious and linguistic groups and castes built by the British and inherited by Indians at independence in 1947, India is now teetering on the brink of disintegration along communal lines. Already there are separatist movements demanding sovereignty in Muslim-majority Jammu & Kashmir, Sikh-majority Punjab, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland. In addition, the abject poverty of the masses of ordinary Indian citizens has led led to the rise of a Naxalite Maoist rebel movement across a broad swathe of territory, stretching from Arabian sea shore of Maharashtra to the North Eastern frontier of India, and occupied by over 850 million hapless people. Federal and State governments have only nominal control over areas and has to negotiate everything with the rebels.

    Indian government policies that allocate benefits on the basis of caste, instead of need irrespective of caste, though well intentioned, further divides and pits Indian citizens against one another. Since India’s rebel separatists are invoking the same “local-majority” principle of self-determination that India foolishly prescribes for Sri Lanka, how does India maintain its integrity advocating for others what India itself is not prepared to do?

    India HEAL THYSELF first before PRESCRIBING POISONOUS PILLS to others!

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    It is important to note that “local majority” has not been recognized as a basis for self determination or sovereignty of a part of a country.

    For example, it was precisely the “local-majority” principle that was invoked by the Southern Confederate States to secede from the United States.

    As we all know, President Abraham Lincoln successfully contested this principle asserting that sovereignty rests NOT WITH A LOCAL-MAJORITY in a LIMITED geographical regions, but with the PEOPLE OF THE NATION AS A WHOLE. He argued that once a nation is created from disparate parts and exists as a single nation for a considerable period, that ALL OF THE CITIZENS COLLECTIVELY ACQUIRE RIGHTS to the benefits of the NATION AS A WHOLE, not separately part by part. On that basis, he justified and successfully waged the US Civil War to defeat the separatists and reunify the United States. The vast majority of the people of the United States agreed with him.

    Moreover, unlike in the case of the Eelamists in Sri Lanka, the MILITARY defeat of the Confederate States was the FINAL RESOLUTION of the dispute. No demands for reviving the Confederacy by any other avenue, akin to the current demands being made to the UN by the Sri Lankan Tamil Eelamist Diaspora and Tamil Nadu politicians, were entertained or tolerated.

    To ensure this, military occupation of the Southern States for maintained for many decades, and civilian administration of the defeated states was assigned to the victorious Northerners to ensure that the Confederacy would not again raise its ugly head. To achieve this end, Lincoln gave many speeches explaining and justifying the legal and moral basis of his stand.

    The arguments used by President Lincoln to mobilize support for waging the US Civil war, to defeat the South, and to reunify the nation, were invoked by President Gowon of the Federal Government of Nigeria to defeat the secessionist Ibo-dominated Biafra in Eastern Nigeria. The primarily Christian Biafra was supported by several European states, such as Belgium, with colonial stakes in the rest of Africa.

    The United States is now very proud of what President Lincoln achieved in keeping the United States whole including his sanctioning General Tecumseh Sherman march that laid waste Georgia reducing its people to abject poverty and famine.

    Why then, we humbly ask, is it so difficult for the United States to accept that we Sri Lankans have the same inalienable right to protect the lives of our people, and the integrity of our Motherland, against murderous foreign inspired terrorists?

    Why is the rule of “sovereignty resting in ALL the people of the nation” applicable to the United States ” not applicable to Sri Lanka? Why?

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    India must first earn a TRUE win-win situation with the majority of the Sri Lankan people. Anything less than this would be no wiin-win for India. India’s Ministry of External Affairs merely saying that there is a win-win situation is no good, unless the People of Lanka agree.

    The 13-A, imposed on Sri Lanka under Duress by India during the Cold War times, was NOT a win-win situation for India as the majority of the people of Lanka were/are against it. India must first agree to the removal of the no-win 13-A, and Sri Lanka will in turn will continue to look after her Tamil population. That ought to be the bargaining point. No more, no less.

    If India handles the Tamil Nadu problems more adroitly, then Sri Lanka would have practically no problems with India.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    My answer to a comment by “logic” on the “Messing with Sri Lanka” article at newindianexpress.com

    “logic”makes the same argument for annexation of a part of Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu that Hitler made on the eve of WW–II to annex the German-majority Sudentenland region of Czechkoslovakia to Germany. Anxious to avoid war the Allies acquiesed but lost both their honor and the peace they sought to preserve. Hitler’s demands for “Unifying the German People” did not end there; it extended to Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia, the Ukraine etc. By these arguments, ANY local-majority of one ethnicity can be claimed by a neighboring country. Incidentally, Hitler’s “logical” arguments killed more German people than he annexed to Germany.

    India should be WARY of these COMMUNAL arguments for annexing parts of other countries. India’s neighbors, in the West (Pakistanis/Kashmiris), in the East (Bangladeshis, North East Frontier peoples, Burmese), and in the North, (Chinese) would be only too happy to carve up India using this tool, gifted them by Tamil Nadu Racists.

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