By Latheef Farook
Former BJP member of Rajya Sabha Dr.Subramanian Swamy, known for his racist views and hatred towards Muslim, said recently that India must send in the Indian Army to restore Constitutional sanity in Sri Lanka.
DR Swamy tweeted that “India must send in the Indian Army to restore Constitutional sanity. At present anti-Indian foreign forces are taking advantage of people’s anger. This affects India’s national security”.
It appears he and his Hindutva India have not learnt any lesson from the past. It is true that Sri Lanka is in political and economic crises, but its people are fiercely independent and would not tolerate any foreign intervention as demonstrated in the past when India dispatched troops to the island.
The Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan Civil War was the deployment of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka followed by the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord between the two countries in 1987 which was intended to end the Sri Lankan Civil War between militant Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists, principally the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and the Sri Lankan military.
During their stay in the island numerous civilian massacres and rapes were committed by the IPKF whose soldiers were also killed by LTTE. The Indian army’s operations in Sri Lanka’s North-East between 1987 and 1990 were both a military nightmare and political disaster for India. The IPKF began withdrawing in 1989, and completed the withdrawal in 1990.
Indian expansionist should not forget that South Asia is the mosaic of fragmented region on account of its religious, cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversities. South Asian nations share more or less a common inheritance with some degree of mutual cultural, linguistic, social, ethnic and the historical bonds.
Sri Lanka’s unprecedented political and economic crisis – result of government mismanagement, the financial crunch which was already in the making, has led to the near bankruptcy of the country.
A majority of trade unions, agricultural workers, unions and civil society, intellectuals, professionals and almost every other sector came together to protest around the country demanding the government including the President, his cabinet of ministers and all 225 members of parliament to resign.
This is totally an internal matter of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka in South Asia is one country that remained the most disturbed and troubled on the ethnic lines and its nature remained variegated consisting of the ethnic conflicts, the separatist tendencies and terrorism.
But these were the conditions Island nation was facing before 2006. In 2006, after failure of numerous efforts to resolve ethnic issues peacefully with guerrilla organization LTTE Sri Lankan government opted for a full-fledge operation to eliminate terrorism once and for all.
Indeed, LTTE entered negotiations five times, between 1983 to 2006, but talks always collapsed, leaving an ostensibly stronger LTTE even better positioned to defeat government forces. In 2006, sensing victory in its grasp, LTTE deliberately ended the Norwegian-brokered truce and commenced the so-called Eelam War IV. In response, Sri Lanka finally decided to change its strategic objective, from negotiating with LTTE to defeating it.
Rather than boosting the morale of Sri Lankan government, Indian Lieutenant General A S Kalka in 2006 derogatorily declared that Sri Lanka Army cannot win the war against Tamil insurgents as it doesn’t possess capacity to do so. As per Reuters’ report, Indian government at that time not only criticized Sri Lanka’s escalation of its war with the Tamil Tigers, but nearly 40 of its legislators threatened Indian PM Manmohan Singh that they would quit parliament if he didn’t stop the conflict in two weeks.
This indicated that Indian government was against the elimination of Tamil Tigers who were already proscribed as a terrorist organization, not only by the Sri Lankan government but also by EU along with 32 other countries.
It was not the first time when Indian government openly supported Tamil Tigers. In 1983, when a war erupted between the Sinhalese majority and Sri Lankan Tamils, India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at that time took an active role. It not only hosted Tamil militants but also facilitated them with training camps in Tamil Nadu, from which LTTE emerged as the most lethal group.
It was just a start of India’s blatant interference in internal affairs of a sovereign country. India’s growing desire to establish itself as a regional power, urged incumbent Indian government on June 4, 1987, to airdrop relief supplies to the Tamil Tigers at Jaffna Peninsula while they were under siege by the Sri Lankan army.
To avoid imminent threat of a direct Indian intervention, which Sri Lankan leadership was foreseeing, Sri Lankan President at that time J.R. Jayewardene held talks with India that produced the July 29, 1987, Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. The infamous 13th Amendment, which India time and again has been pressing the Island nation to implement, was also introduced after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987. It proposes the establishment of a provincial council system and devolution of power to Tamil community.
Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who visited in Sri Lanka in Oct 2021, met leaders from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) and Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC). During separate meeting with Tamil leaders he reaffirmed India’s commitment and urged Sri Lankan government to protect the rights minority Tamil community through the full implementation of the 13th Amendment as well as early convening of provincial council elections and achieving reconciliation.
There was hardly a word about the second largest minority Muslims in the island.
India has been consistently forcing Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments to protect the interests of the Tamil community. Before Harsh Verdean, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar earlier in January, during his visit to Colombo, also urged Sri Lanka to ensure that aspirations of the minority Tamils are addressed.
First of all, 1987 accord should be considered as null and void because it failed to bring peace to the island and Sri Lankan government was forced to eliminate Tamil Tigers through military action. Secondly the Sinhala community which are in majority, have been advocating a total abolition of the island’s provincial council system established in 1987. As per the laws of United Nations, it is right of the Sri Lankan people to draft and implement laws of the land. India has no right to dictate Sri Lankan leadership on 13th amendment or anything else.
Since the end of the civil war in 2009, Sri Lankan state has been subject to much global criticism for human rights violations, HRVs, as a result of committing war crimes against Tamils. In the recent past, when Sri Lanka was in dire needs of votes at UNHRC platform to avoid sanctions regarding war crimes, countries like Pakistan and China voted in favor of Sri Lanka. However, India’s abstention at that time spoke volumes of its hypocritical nature.
As per the reports of Indian media in February 2021, Tripura chief minister Biplab Deb revealed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right hand Amit Shah has plans to establish BJP governments in Nepal and Sri Lanka. This was opposed by both the nations at highest diplomatic level. However, the statement speaks loud and clear about Indian expansionist ambitions towards the neighboring states.
It is in Sri Lanka’s own interest to resolve the issue of all communities as per the expectations of the people but a country like India has no right to dictate a sovereign nation like Sri Lanka.
Disclaimer: Swamy’s call to send Indian troops to Sri Lanka.
No lesson learnt from even recent past. - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view