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Loss of Tamil Eelam Leverage

Delhi's (India) geo-political disaster

by by Vssubramaniam, Groundreport.org, Vssubramaniam March 5, 2010

The 1983 pogrom set the stage for Dixit’s healthy precedent setting interventionist regional geo-politics that earned SL’s respect and was rewarded with provisions in the 1987 Indo-SL Accord restraining Sinhala SL from directly or indirectly flirting with powers seeking a foothold to challenge India’s regional power status. China is now well placed to reduce India’s regional dominance supported by SL without the Eelam Tamil deterrence..

Ironically the Narayanan ‘trio’ played up the China factor to justify Delhi (in the loop’) overt support for the Sinhala Sri Lanka (SL) genocide destroying the Tamil Eelam struggle and with it the Tamils cause. Though China has openly announced its strategic plans ‘to balkanize India’ Delhi’s ‘over-appeasing’ SL that has strongly ‘drifted towards China’ is sadly misplaced.

Soon after Nehru-Chou En Lai NAM honeymoon years an ‘over appeased’ China invaded the Northern borders of India grabbing vast tracks of territory that reputable analysts give due weight to the China threat in India’s foreign policy making. China now has allies virtually encircling India in Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sinhala SL. The de facto Tamil Eelam kept the China threat via Sinhala SL at bay until May 2009. Bhadrakumar aptly points out that Delhi bartered away the Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leverage by partnering in the SL genocide. Nateri Adigal and Anil Athale are two other reputed analysts who cogently argued about the looming China threat to India’s soft under belly from bases in Sinhala SL. These un-nerve every patriotic Indian but not the power brokers in Delhi.

The John Kerry report (Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, US) is candid on the geopolitics of the China factor in formulating US-SL relations policy responses to overcome the loss of the critical Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leverage. Though not a direct threat, US is addressing this loss of leverage issue with a sense of urgency. Curiously the policy makers in Delhi in such close proximity and having a legitimate role regionally are in a Kumbakarna slumber oblivious to this threat. The Delhi trio invested heavily in political, economic and diplomatic terms to invite this threat to its doorstep in the placid Southern front. Delhi’s Indo-SL policies still drift rudderless, unchanged heading in the direction of an unfathomed catastrophic security precipice.

Though suicidal the Narayanan policies brought the China peril the closest ever to the Indian/TN shores. Narayanan’s concocted geo-politics to mask the narrow sectarian anti-Tamil prejudices explain his about turn on Dixit’s interventionist geo-politics in favour of an ‘over appeasing’ Rajapakse diplomacy. The 1983 pogrom set the stage for Dixit’s healthy precedent setting interventionist regional geo-politics that earned SL’s respect and was rewarded with provisions in the 1987 Indo-SL Accord restraining Sinhala SL from directly or indirectly flirting with powers seeking a foothold to challenge India’s regional power status. China is now well placed to reduce India’s regional dominance supported by SL without the Eelam Tamil deterrence.

Likewise the ‘Delhi trio’s’ geo-politics also actively sought the dismantling of the Tamil Eelam deterrence inviting a disastrous competition with China for foothold in Sinhala SL under the guise of winning development project contracts. A few projects of suspect strategic value were awarded to India. The commercial benefits accruing were also too paltry to pay for the costs of maintaining military infra-structure to meet the strategic threats posed through the China projects in Sinhala SL.

The Kerry report also highlights how Sinhala SL conscious of its clout without the Eelam Tamil deterrence is using the ‘strong bargaining platform in global rivalries’ to its advantage. According to the Kerry report the Tamil Eelam leverage gave ‘control of two thirds of the Sri Lankan coastline ..’ with power to interfere ‘if and when the need arose’ with the flow of resources (oil in particular) and trade across oceans to its allies especially Japan. A further consequence mentioned is the risk of China using Sinhala SL to ‘undermine stability in India’.

The Kerry report elevates the elimination of Tamil Eelam for the ‘country’s drift towards China to become the biggest challenge to US’, the Rajapakse being responsible. It is strange that when the power or threat equation resulting is so imbalanced and dangerous Delhi under the Narayanan trio’s ‘in the loop’ actively collaborated in dismantling the very leverage that prevented the fearsome ‘...drift towards China’. This curious Narayanan ‘geo-politics’ only satiates the Sonia clan’s palate.

Narayanan with highly acclaimed intelligence credentials overlooked SL granting China a foothold in the most strategic Hambantota on terms detrimental to India’s security. Readers may ponder which country’s interest the Delhi trio’s geo-politics was serving. Narayanan’s well known anti-Tamil (TN) prejudice has a bearing here. His Bombay and Telengana debacles highlight the disasters his sectarian prejudices caused to India. The China factor is also bound to neutralize the benefits flowing from TN’s Sethu project the sectarians detest. Hambantota is a few hours away from the militarized Mannar and Katchchativu vantage points controlling shipping through the Palk Straits. The why and wherefore for militarizing these points in addition to the heavily militarized North SL needs valid justification. Sinhala SL’s militarising to forestall threats from hostile neighbours is legitimate but is the over appeasing India/TN really hostile to SL? Delhi even abdicated its role to protect its citizens, the TN fishermen to please SL. Brahma Chellaney; a Professor - Strategic Studies - Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi ‘Behind Sri Lankan Bloodbath’ in Mainstream Weekly recently gives rare insights for the anti-TN bias of the Sonia clan since Rajiv’s years. Hence the strange Colombo/Delhi/Beijing axis of the Delhi trio’s geo-politics vests China a role in forestalling TN becoming another Kashmir. The Delhi trio chose to overlook the provisions in the Hambantota project for China to employ only its own labour (a euphemism for combat cadres; China slipped in combat cadres to create civil strife in several African states). Is this a Colombo/Delhi/Beijing axis strategy to keep TN in check at all times? In all these China gained the most; more so when readying to retrieve Himachal Pradesh opening another front in India’s underbelly logistically would be invaluable. SL regularly puts TN/Delhi on notice of its new clout now free of the Tamil Eelam deterrence by allowing its navy to carry out frequent humiliating attacks on unarmed TN fishermen in the Palk Straits. For three decades the Tamil Eelam navy effectively checkmated the SL navy protecting the TN fishermen.

To counter the emerging threats Delhi/TN needs to pursue Tamil Eelam’s accession to India/TN. The provisions in the Indo-SL Accord gives India some rights over SL relations with outside powers attempting to gain foothold that have military implications. This needs to be strengthened to slow down or roll back the penetration of the China threat to India via Sinhala SL before the South front becomes another nightmarish border for India/TN.

Professor V Suryanarayan’s paper ‘India’s Bilateral Agreements and Centre-State relations – A Perspective from Tamil Nadu’ published in SAAG in February 2010 is timely. On each occasion Delhi attempted to over appease Sinhala SL the costs to India was high. Under the Sirimavo-Shastri Pact (1964) India accepted half a million Tamils of Indian origin expelled by SL. But as the Pact worked out only 4 out of every 11 Tamils of Indian origin obtained SL citizenship effectively disenfranchising 64 percent of these Tamils. S. Thondaman, the undisputed leader of the Indian Tamils was totally left out; a treatment Delhi dished out to the hated Prabhaharan. This Pact precedent may encourage countries like Malaysia to seek repatriation of Indians there. Under the Sirimavo-Indira Pact (1974) India ceded Kachchatheevu a part of the Zamindari estate of the Raja of Ramnad and Indian fishermen’s traditional fishing rights in Palk Bay. The TN Government may seek legal remedies in the Supreme Court against the Centre ceding Kachchatheevu to Sri Lanka following Dr BC Roy, (the Chief Minister of West Bengal), who stalled the Central Government transferring Beru Bari to East Pakistan by approaching the Supreme Court. The ‘distant’ Delhi still ignores the bitterness in TN generously compromising TN’s vital interests for suspect friendship with Sinhala SL. India’s federal constitution does not have the equivalent of the Committee on Foreign Relations (US) that Delhi’s capricious foreign policy decisions are not debated or subjected to checks and balances that the inputs of the constituent states’ are taken on board. In the US the Committee approves diplomatic nominations a mechanism that would have checked the Narayanan ‘trio’ antics manipulating Centre-State politics hurting the state of TN and India’s security as well.