By Shenali Waduge
To refrain from mentioning the role India played in nurturing LTTE terrorism would be withholding an important element of the 30year conflict Sri Lanka weathered. This arrests the notion that LTTE was a liberation movement and nullifies its claim to be the representative of the Tamil people. LTTE was nothing more than an armed movement assisted by more than just one government over the years tasked to change the geopolitics of South Asia possibly the rest of Asia to help establish a platform to destabilize countries in the region. This then would explain some of LTTE’s actions and reactions over the years and help understand why the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization could continue for 30 years and it is not India alone that can be blamed.
The anger most Sri Lankans have against India and by India we must reiterate that it is successive Indian Governments and not the Indian people is that it was totally unnecessary for India to have taken groups of Tamil militants, trained at different locations of India, given arms and even financially supported them and put them under its intelligence to carry out an armed struggle against Sri Lanka. In a country that today has separatist movements taking place right round its entire borders the separatism that Tamil Nadu demanded in several successive bids was what was said to be the main reason behind the plan to start an Eelaam struggle in Sri Lanka enabling separatism to be doused in Tamil Nadu. Over the years we have come to realize that it was not simply India alone that became LTTE’s partners in crime and it is probably why India needs to be thankful to Sri Lanka and its armed forces for nullifying the threat to India from its Southern borders.
We cannot expect either gratitude or apology from India but it is our right to set the story straight as far as India’s role in establishing terrorism in Sri Lanka. We now need the world especially the Indian people to understand how its Government had launched the separatist struggle in Sri Lanka making a friendly nation a guinea pig to governments and illegal arms industries that turned Sri Lanka into a theatre of war. It is to the credit of the Sri Lankan State and its valiant armed forces that showed the world how even the most sophisticated and technically savvy terrorist movement can be eliminated within just three years and raises anyone’s concern why other movements exist if the will to eradicate terrorism prevailed just as it finally did in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka weathered a terrorist movement that ran an international campaign as the victim, used “ethnicity” as a camouflage and was brutal enough to be “recruited” by international forces to carry out their “designs” with time. These design range from political, economical, sociological to even religious emancipation of Asia.
Our contention is that it was India that helped make Asia vulnerable to these external players who today use “terrorism” as sufficient grounds to deploy “security”, “political advisors”, “strategic counselors” etc…. all to either further advance or use ground situations to newly create challenges for Governments and nations that are economic targets to secure natural assets.
Nevertheless, lest people have forgotten some of India’s dark and ugly past vis a vis its role in establishing terrorism in Sri Lanka needs continued mention. No friendly nation would secretly create training programs for Sri Lankan Tamil youth to be made into militants and ordered to create anarchy in Sri Lanka even if that excuse was due to India’s anger with Sri Lanka’s political leadership. Sri Lanka was certainly caught unawares, its army at the time was ill-equipped and it was also considering these scenarios that the LTTE made its theatrical entry in 1983 though the background to that entry should raise the question whether that Black July was also staged to provide legitimacy to the movement and enable it to openly carry out its terror and also begs to logically question why Sinhalese would attack Tamils to bring international condemnation to itself. This should raise anyone’s eyebrows whether the riots itself was also pre-planned and in Asian countries an exchange of a few notes will suffice to do what the CIA did in Iran.
Be that as it may the initial years of LTTE’s “liberation” crescendo was steered undoubtedly by India. Why would India threaten to invade Sri Lanka and politically humiliate the nation by sending its airforce over Sri Lanka’s territory demanding that the cornered Prabakaran be released in 1987 (Vadamarachchi)? It was in realizing that external players were also lobbying the LTTE that led India to quickly push for its version of a political solution – the 13th amendment and the Provincial Council system. It is having signed this that India no longer required the explicit services of the LTTE and probably would have contributed to its orders given to the IPKF to eliminate the LTTE – which severed ties with India resulting in LTTE-Premadasa joining to demand India remove IPKF forthwith. That LTTE was steered not only by India became clear with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and it questioned why India did not at that time take a sincere stand on LTTE at least for the death of its former PM without allowing LTTE to unofficially continue to use Tamil Nadu as a logistics and safety base. Was it because it had concluded that Tamil Nadu leaders lacked the capability of launching Eelaam in India or was India as it appears now to be remote controlled by western forces?
While the world and especially the Indian people need to understand the background to Sri Lanka’s conflict and agree that India played a cruel role in using terrorism to destabilize Sri Lanka, they also need to understand why our animosity towards continues to linger and why we continue to doubt India’s sincerity. Too often India’s media seem to follow the Western media path by withholding significant details that has only led to Indians feeling empathy towards the LTTE and anger towards Sri Lanka for eliminating a “liberation” movement. LTTE certainly was no liberation movement clearly evident by what the people who were forcibly conscripted to the LTTE now are fearlessly coming out to say.
It is perhaps time the Indian people dwell on the notion why its border neighbors unanimously find India a threat to them personally as well as to the entire South Asian region? Is it not because India is no longer been steered by an Indian? Is it not why despite many Indians asking its leadership not to vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions for the US-backed resolution that India boldly announced it would vote against us well ahead of the sessions thereby indirectly telling nations to vote with India? Is it to be believed that this same Chairperson has links to the LTTE and smuggling artefacts out of India – Dr. Swamy says so and he is one Indian who openly says his thoughts with facts.
To counter foreign roles India was able to keep the façade of its own position of importance as evident in its role in drafting of the infamous cease fire agreement of 2002 which opened up Sri Lanka to a multitude of “players” all designing how to use Sri Lanka for various purposes. This probably would have been why it was necessary that India unofficially backed Sri Lanka to finally go ahead with the plan to militarily defeat the LTTE since India had a secure contingency plan already designed. Over the years we are aware that thousands of Indians have made Sri Lanka its home, India was quick to steadily place economic agreements and deals that would further entrap Sri Lanka towards economic dependency, its now almost clear that it economic partnership agreement will induce Indian labor into Sri Lanka and it calls for Sri Lanka’s leaderships to unify and strategically plan how we are to while maintaining diplomatic niceties clearly say Sri Lanka is meant for Sri Lankans as of now and in the future too!
The country as a whole outnumber a handful that are playing to India’s tune and Sri Lanka continues to say that we will never forget how India made Sri Lanka vulnerable to destabling operations and how India denied its people thirty years of development – socially, mentally and even physically. India together with LTTE has to shoulder that blame and accept that accountability.
We were unprepared for what took place when India was secretly training LTTE and other militants and that is why every move India makes is doubted and we are all the while reading through even the most sincere gestures because the trust element has been removed by India and it has only itself to blame. Other nations of Asia obviously feel the same.
The international calls for devolution and the 13th amendment is clear signals that while India takes it as a perfect solution to any threats to itself, other nations have come to realize that its strategically critical north and east areas can be utilized for its own agendas. We must not allow India any piece of these areas for India is not being controlled in the present context by people that looks at India holistically. This is why India is being usurped from its rightful position as being Asian. Can India think West while being in Asia? If it does it is only attracting further dissent and helping to upset an entire region. There should be no competition between China and India. They both should be partnering Asia’s growth helping countries forge ties and building mutual beneficial sustainability avenues. The Indian people need to rethink seriously about who is steering its nation and where it is going – it is evident that India is not going the direction it should.
In understanding that India is being steered over the years by external forces makes it clear to understand that despite its economic growth it is a nation falling apart round its borders and every word India has been dictating to Sri Lanka becomes clear that it is on instructions of “others”.
We continue to however say that while we remain doubtful of India’s designs for which India cannot blame us, we reiterate that Sri Lanka has despite the presence of LTTE managed to keep its country from falling as other nations faced with similar situations have.
We have been a resilient nation – we continue to maintain that the minorities in Sri Lanka are leading far better lives than any minority in the world and there are enough of facts to prove so, we continue to maintain that we shouldered terrorism on behalf of a country as large as India and we did India a great favor by eliminating it before LTTE would have been used against India.
Can we expect India to be grateful? Can we expect India to claim accountability and decide to let Sri Lanka forge its own destiny….only the Indian people can force India to stop destabling its neighbors especially a country like Sri Lanka that has done it no harm.
The opinions expressed are the author’s own