INDIAN WINDS OF CHANGE blowing softly across SAARC
Posted on August 8th, 2014

H. L. D. Mahindapala

After the UNHRC passed resolution A/HRC/25/1 in March 2014, insisting on a UN investigation confined ONLY to the last five months of the 33-year-old war – a bizarre time-frame to evaluate any war in recorded history – the anti-Sri Lankan lobby were cock-a-hoop celebrating the upper hand gained by the West to dictate its terms and conditions to Sri Lanka. With this country specific resolution steered by America, the West concluded arrogantly that they had finally pushed Sri Lanka into a tight corner with hardly any room to manoeuvre. NGOs too joined the Western chorus, crowing in the corridors of Geneva, that they had fixed the “failed state” of Sri Lanka.

As the proxies of the Western paymasters they assumed that they had acquired the Western and UN backing to usurp the powers of the elected state and impose their post-conflict political agenda. Editorialists and commentators, some with an axe to grind against the External Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris, no matter what he has achieved, pontificated that under his stewardship Sri Lanka has lost all its friends and is now an isolated orphan abandoned by the rest of the world. Last but not the least, the Tamil lobby and the UNP were jubilant that powerful external forces had opened the way for them to stage a regime change which, in their estimation, was imminent.

Anti-Sri Lankan lobby

In the immediate aftermath of the anti-Sri Lankan resolution the situation did seem grim with Sri Lanka fighting with its back to the wall. But what followed is more significant than the UNHRC resolution. The instant decision to resist any intrusion into the domestic affairs of Sri Lanka by external forces was courageous though risky, particularly because Sri Lanka was taking on America and EU, the key anti-Sri Lankan players at the UNHRC. The hand-wringing pundits viewed the UNHRC resolution, aided and abetted by the jiggery-pokery of Navi Pillay, as the nadir of Sri Lankan foreign policy in the post-independent era. Never before had the most powerful segment of the international community ganged up against Sri Lanka as in March 2014 with a view to intervene in its domestic affairs.

Faced with this seemingly insurmountable obstacle, the anti-Sri Lankan lobby was arguing that the only way out was to cave in to the demands of the West/UN and let the UN investigators move in to do whatever they want to do. This lobby maintained that it was the only available option for Sri Lanka not only to appease the West (a la Myanmar) but also to buy some time to work out compromises.

They, of course, never bargained for the grit and resilience of Sri Lanka to fight back. The task before Prof. Peiris was virtually to take on the whole world at a time when ominous and threatening clouds were gathering in the horizon. The accompanying thunder and lightning seemed all set to come rolling down and hit Sri Lanka denying the nation the just rewards of the hard won military victory. The NGO wallahas, in keeping with their customary denigration of Sri Lanka, questioned the right of Sri Lanka to defeat the Tamil Tiger terrorists, citing international humanitarian law, R2P, etc., and denounced the victory as “Sinhala-Buddhist triumphalism”. They went further and insisted that though Sri Lanka won the war it must sacrifice all its gains to win the peace.

Northern civilians who were held as human shields by the LTTE coming to safe areas during the Humanitarian Operation in 2009

But this argument was never applied to Velupillai Prabhakaran. When he won territory and imposed his fascist dictatorship these pundits did not argue that he should sacrifice all his gains for the sake of peace. On the contrary, they went along with him and justified claims to his military gains, demanding, in addition, parity of status for the Tiger quasi-state in the Vanni on the grounds that lasting peace can be established only by granting legitimacy to his military victories. In fact, national and international agreements with the LTTE were designed to legitimize his military victories. President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s P-TOMS granting the north and the east to him for ten years without elections and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s secret CFA (2002), handing over the north and the east on a platter to Prabhakaran, were naked acts of legitimizing the military gains of Prabhakaran. Besides, the pro-separatist Tamil lobby maintained that Prabhakaran was in command of an invincible force and, therefore, he had a right to all his military gains, irrespective of its consequences to national and regional peace and security.

That argument is correct, up to a point. There is no force or law to impose the will of the losers on the winners. Winners in the battlefield are invariably entitled to collect the rewards. If, for instance, Prabhakaran won at Nandikadal the whole world would have rallied against Sri Lanka and brought a closure to the north-south conflict by legitimizing all his military gains. And “Paki” Saravanamuttu would have added his two cents worth to hail “Tamil triumphalism” which, of course, would have been the natural outcome of any victorious force.

Global affairs

Despite these realities, the anti-Sri Lankan forces are moving heaven and earth right now to impose the will of the losers on the winners – one of the anti-historical moves that is doomed to fail. It is not going to happen even in the unlikely event of Ranil Wickremesinghe winning because he won’t last a week in his seat with the street power and/or the military power rising against him. Besides, the regional winds of change have, slowly but surely, turned against the gloom-and-doom pundits and steered the ship of state to a comparatively safe haven. National and international events have crept up, almost imperceptibly, to negate the doomsday scenario predicted by the anti-Sri Lankan lobby. Simultaneously, the emerging global trends (example: Israelis in Gaza) have overthrown the NGOs, the West and the UN from their high horses, silencing them on the much-touted principles of R2P and invoking stridently the right of Israel’s self-defence.

The most relevant and dramatic change has come from Narendra Modi’s India. When he swept the land mass of the subcontinent, from the foothills of Himalayas to the southern-most tip of Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) he described the victory succinctly in three words: “India has won”. It is very brief sentence that is packed with layers of meaning. Most of all, it sums up India’s realistic and positive intention of regaining its lost place in global affairs. Both in regional and global spheres India has been lagging behind China. It also means that Modi’s victory is designed to stabilize and strengthen not only India but also the SAARC region as a whole. India without SAARC will be a vulnerable island surrounded by a sea of hostile nations. India with SAARC can be the most formidable voice of Asia. It was heartening to note that Indians are now talking of turning SAARC into a commonwealth.

The initial indications are that Modi’s victory augurs well for the paralyzed SAARC region, right down from Nepal to Sri Lanka. The winds of change that has swept India have now crossed the borders into neighbouring SAARC countries, restoring sanity and common sense to the most backward regional alliance riddled with inter-state hostilities dating back to the “midnight children”. As signaled by Modi in Nepal, the new swing is to break away from the problematic past in order to reassess and redefine the outdated agreements with India. The announcement he made to cement the new Indian-Nepalese relations can be considered as a Himalayan shift. Modi announced that he is ready to review the 1950 India-Nepal Friendship Treaty which the Nepalese consider to be one-sided. This hopefully indicates a softening of India’s hard line in the SAARC region.

Announcing this at a banquet hosted by Nepalese Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala he said: “My doors are open, I invite you to bring any suggestions to review the 1950 Treaty, if you so want.” Modi even reversed his aggressive electioneering slogan of “hitting Nepal” which, like other Indian neighbours, was drifting towards China. During his two day visit he transformed himself from a hawk of “hitting Nepal” into a dove wooing Nepal with gifts. In keeping with the new mood he gave a soft twist to his earlier aggressive slogan and redefined his statement of “hitting Nepal” to mean hitting Nepal with “High Ways, Information Technology and Transmission lines”. To confirm that he means what he says he offered $1 billion for these projects.

SAARC region

This certainly is new India. The anti-Sri Lankan hysteria cranked up by NGOs and the Tamil lobbies abroad may find this new approach totally disconcerting and frustrating. They were relying on a resuscitation and a reinvigoration of Indira Gandhi’s hit-first-and-talk later tactics. But Modi has deviated from the old imperial Indian attitudes and has begun his reign by using his strength not to bully its neighbours but to carry them along to a greater union of the SAARC region. If Modi extends his Nepali principles to Sri Lanka then Prof. Peiris will be in for the best astrological period of his time.

Australia too has dealt a severe blow to the anti-Sri Lankan lobby. To the dismay of the one-eyed political commentators who cry that Sri Lanka has lost everything under Prof. Peiris, Australia has taken a bold stand in defending Sri Lanka’s post-conflict achievements. Its firm stand has dented and exposed the manipulative human rights activists in the anti-Sri Lankan lobby. Consequently, Austral-Lanka relations have reached a new peak, confirming that a friend in need is a friend indeed.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop were the first to set the new international standards in dealing with Sri Lanka. Their refusal to give into anti-Sri Lankan international pressure began in Perth when the Commonwealth leadership was handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa despite mounting pressures led by UK and Canada. In both these countries the domiciled Tamil lobbyists had influenced the anti-Sri Lankan foreign policy. But Australia has stood tall in defending Sri Lanka despite the aggressive anti-Sri Lankan Tamil activists pressuring the Abbott government to act against Sri Lanka.

Australia is the only Western democracy that has refused to swallow the Tamil propaganda hook, line and sinker. Massive resources were poured in by the Tamil activists to win over the Abbott government like in UK and Canada. But these lobbyists have failed miserably. While the partisan Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, walked out of the CHOGM meeting Tony Abbott has stood by President Rajapaksa steadfastly.

Though the denigrators of Sri Lanka, targeting in particular Prof. Peiris, cry from roof tops about the loss of friends in the international community the reality is quite different. It is not isolated like Israel, for instance, which was left only with one vote at UNHRC. Only US stood behind Israel when the UNHRC condemned Israeli atrocities in Palestine. In an impossible mission to tame Hamas Israel exceeded the limits of tolerance. American hypocrisy dropped to a disgraceful low when it condemned Israeli bombing of UN school packed with Arab children and sent $250 million to reinforce the “Iron Dome” that protects only Israeli children.

Human rights activists

What is deafening in the midst of devastating explosives in Gaza is the silence of human rights activists who were so vociferous in condemning Sri Lanka which was exercising its right to defend itself against the world’s deadliest terrorists. Where is Gareth Evans who was preaching R2P at the ICES in Colombo? Where is David Cameron who came all the way from UK to tell us the price we have to pay for not behaving according to their arbitrary standards in times of war? Why is David Miliband missing in Palestine after spending 60 per of his time to pump oxygen into the dying lungs of the LTTE? Where is the voice of Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Mother Teresa of all children at the UN, who now draws a fat pension for failing to protect the children in the churches, mosques, schoolyards, hospitals, Boko Harams of Jaffna and even those kids sleeping in Gaza? Why are these high priests of human rights eyeless in Gaza?

We who have gone through 33-years of a needless war can only cry for the victims of Israeli brutality. It will be difficult to separate the anger from our cries. But we must cry as that is the only weapon we have to relieve our anger.

We must also laugh as loud as we can to scoff at the hypocrisy and the double standards of Western human rights activists who stuff their mouths with the crumbs that fall from the American diplomats tables in Colombo. It is these Western crumbs that keep their mouths stuffed and silenced when they see their paymasters fund the Israeli “Iron Dome” to protect only the fourth largest army in the world in Israel and not the children dying in hundreds in Gaza. Helpless as we are, pouring scorn is the only option available to us to get even with the Western brutes and their I/NGO agents.

Crying and laughing, sadly, are the only weapons we have at our disposal in this age of obscene brutality. 

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4 Responses to “INDIAN WINDS OF CHANGE blowing softly across SAARC”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Excellent article that points to all that is wrong about the UNHRC.

  2. Christie Says:

    Indian Union has not changed. It is India who financed, trended, managed the Indian terrorists branded Tamil Tigers. It is India, and Indians in and out of India who are behind the UN resolutions on Ceylon Sri Lanka. T he co sponsor was Mauritius. Members of t he current gov’t of OZ KNOWS WHAT INDIA AND INDIANS ARE .

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    “The most relevant and dramatic change has come from Narendra Modi’s India. When he swept the land mass of the subcontinent, from the foothills of Himalayas to the southern-most tip of Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) he described the victory succinctly in three words: “India has won”.”

    This is NOT something to celebrate. MOST people in Kanyakumari are Tamil fishermen. They HATE SL because MOST illegal fishermen arrested by our navy are from Kanyakumari. They voted for MODI.

    These racists can influence Modi against SL.

    As long as Modi’s Endia too wants 13 amendment, I see no difference.

  4. RohanJay Says:

    Remember UNHRC is Imperialism by other means. Like R2P, which the western powers used to lay waste to Libya. Thankfully for the first time since 1945. The world has an answer to these imperialist creations by the west. It is Called BRICS, hopefully BRICS will become stronger and stronger as the 21st century wears on, and more nations join. Put the UN and NATO,EU the Anglo-American Cabal totally out of business and be totally irrelevant to the rest of the world that wants a future.

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