India has woken with a jolt from its
long interval of blissful slumber with regard to the North East of
Sri Lanka. India burnt its fingers quite badly in the "LTTE experiment''
when the Brahmins of the South block chose to extend Indian hegemony
in the immediate geopolitical neighbourhood. As India did previously
in operation Bangladesh by arming the Mukthi Bahini, India funded,
trained and gave all kinds of succour to the fledgling Tiger. Early
mid-wifery, birth, nursing and formative growth of the Tiger was all
courtesy mother India. But the adolescent Tiger kicked the parents
in the shin, bloodied the nose of the Indian army, and eventually
carried out a patricidal attack of sorts in assassinating the one
time Prime Minister of the country.
But, the "adult''
Tiger of today is self flagellating in remorse. The Tigers know
that going against India was arguably the biggest blunder ever committed
in the movement's twenty year struggle for independence. The Tiger
leadership which once crowed that "surely the Tamils and the
Sinhalese should be able to sort their problems without Indian interference
''( that was when the IPKF was here) now wants India to forget the
past and embrace the errant and delinquent child to its bosom. Refer
Anton Balasingham's plaintive cry during the press conference in
which he referred to India as the "fatherland.''
For the Indian
leadership, the LTTE and the current northern insurgency which was
fathered by them, is something that is stuck in India's throat.
India bit off clearly more than it could chew, and now the Indian
leadership doesn't quite know whether to spit out or swallow. After
burning their fingers quite raw with the IPKF, India has now adopted
a hands-off approach. Even when Jaffna was on the verge of falling
into LTTE hands in May of 2000, India froze not knowing what exactly
to do. India didn't want to get involved by helping evacuate 40,000
beleaguered Sri Lankan troops in the peninsula.
The Indians saw the Norwegians enter the scene as facilitators and
later as mediators, but still did not want to get "involved'';
thereby the Indian leadership missed the bus and abdicated their
role as regional superpower and was content with lesser role of
being "kept informed.''
When Prime Minister
Ranil Wickremesinghe visited India soon after his December electoral
victory, the Indians welcomed a negotiated settlement between Colombo
and the LTTE. The Indians also did not mind the LTTE being considered
the sole representative of the Sri Lanakan Tamil people. In their
hearts of hearts, the Indians probably thought, or perhaps wished
that all this talk about peace was a good deal of hogwash. Perhaps
the reading was that nothing will come out of it. The Indians realise
that the peace process is accelerating at some pace. It appears
that soon a group of armed rebels will be in control of territory
within 144mm artillery range of fire from its own soil, thanks to
an interim administration which would also give the Tigers control
of Trincomalee. The LTTE in the meanwhile is straining to revive
memories of a pan-Tamil homeland embracing 60 million Tamilians
in the state of Tamil Nadu, and the Tigers are now straining to
mend fences with India.
But, the Indians,
especially the Tamil Nadu political elite, are simultaneously screaming
that India should send its army to Sri Lanka to apprehend Prabhakaran.
The doomsday scenario for both Sri Lanka and India would no doubt
be the day the Vaikos of Tamil Nadu wrest political control in the
topsy-turvy politics of that state.
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