27 September, 2020

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Devolution And Sri Lanka’s Global Vulnerability

By Dayan Jayatilleka –

Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

The debate on devolution between Prof GH Peiris and me (‘Security perspectives of province-based devolution: A reappraisal’ The Island Midweek Review, June 5th, 2012) has reached the point where a statement of what I regard as the fundamentals would be far more useful for the reader and the record, than a contestation of every single point and nuance.  I have five such fundamental points which constitute the ‘ground’ as it were, of my perspective.

Firstly, a society or state that demonstrates repeated violent convulsions over a fairly prolonged period such as decades does so because of a deep underlying problem. In the case of Sri Lanka this is the problem of the relations between the Sinhalese, Tamils and the state or to put it another way, the problem between the North and South or centre and periphery.  A problem of this sort is usually classified as a Nationalities Question or an ethno-national or ethno-regional question.  Insofar as it has a territorial dimension, it cannot but require a solution that is also has a territorial aspect.  In order to resolve the issue of the permanent political alienation of the Tamil people of the North of Sri Lanka, an alienation that had been aggravated to one of active armed antagonism, it is necessary to reform the state so as to provide the North with a moderate though irreducible measure of political and economic autonomy, calibrated carefully so that it is of a centripetal rather than centrifugal nature. Provincial devolution and more specifically the 13th amendment is the only bridge across the North-South fault-line.

Secondly, if a society does not engage in the necessary reform by its own internal process, it either self destructs through rupture or decay, or invites external agency which imposes such reforms.

Thirdly and deriving from these two fundamental points, it is my contention that while Sri Lanka’s victory in 2009 addressed one vital dimension of the problem, that of an armed separatist challenge, a secessionist war, reunified our state and returned to it our natural borders, it cannot have resolved or even addressed the underlying problem. It has cleared away a basic obstacle to the resolution of that problem, namely the secessionist-terrorist armed force, opened up space and bought us time for its resolution.

Fourthly, the problem however remains and if unresolved it is likely to invite external intervention. If aggravated by the unilateral abrogation or drastic diminution of the 13th amendment as recommended by the JHU, NFF and BBS (and Prof Peiris), that likelihood is greater.

Fifthly, given the current and evolving balance of forces in the concentric circles of Sri Lanka’s immediate and far flung environs, we stand in danger of losing our present borders. If we persist with a paradigm and in a policy of Sinhala Buddhist domination, we stand in danger of being shrunk to precisely the contours of those areas in which the Sinhala –Buddhist constitute a majority and shall be shorn of our periphery by external agency, reducing our state to a position it has retreated to for not insignificant periods of its history, to some point that is not coextensive with our borders as an island.

That is the foundational basis of my perspective. Now to the points that constitute a ‘superstructure’. Prof Peiris chooses to ignore the young SWRD Bandaranaike’s central contention, one may say central theoretical contention, of 1925-26, namely that he knows of no country which has a heterogeneous population that has prospered with a centralised form of rule.

I would add the caveat that there are such countries, but they survive and prosper because of (a) the equality of citizenship and the separation of church and state, or (b) the supplementation of such equality and secularism, such lack of privilege for any one language, ethnicity or religion, with a measure of autonomy at the periphery or (c) the balancing off of any degree of privilege with a measure of autonomy at the periphery.  This is why SWRD negotiated the Pact with Chelvanayakam, following the Sinhala Only legislation a year earlier. He understood that having sundered the social and political contract that underlay the Soulbury Constitution and the governing perspective of DS Senanayaka, he had to balance it off, by the compensatory move of a measure of regional autonomy which however remained within a non-federal state (the Soulbury commission having correctly rejected the federal model). This trade-off could not be effected due to the agitation in the South and the unhelpful political stance of the Federal party. There was a third reason. As A Sivanandan was to note in passing in a major essay in Race and Class, the powerful Left parties, which were to lash Bandaranaike with strike action later, did not throw their considerable weight in support of the B-C pact. Prof Peiris may choose to derisively dismiss the B-C pact of ‘57, but I see it as an enlightened effort and its abortion as one of Sri Lanka’s tragic ‘lost opportunities’ to use the title of a book by Kethesh Loganathan (murdered by the Tigers), which sums up our post independence story.

In Prof Peiris’s distorted re-telling, my notion of the “international community” is that of “governments whose Sri Lankan policy is driven by those sections of the ‘Diaspora’ that persist in their commitment to destroy Sri Lanka, the others don’t count)”.  Now if that were the case, I could hardly have played my part in the Geneva outcome of May 2009. My notion of the international community is precisely that, international or if you prefer, global. That does include global public opinion but primarily consists of the global interstate system. Prof Peiris will note that Sri Lanka has forfeited the support of important members of the Non Aligned Movement who supported us in 2009 and who DO NOT have a Tamil Diaspora. That erosion could have been forestalled had Sri Lanka retained the support of India, which is the most important ‘ swing state’ as far as Sri Lanka’s fate is concerned in the international arena and whose attitude is significantly determined by our commitment to and progress in the political resolution of the Tamil Question. To put it bluntly and at the risk of some caricature: the 13th amendment swings India, India swings the Non Aligned and may well swing or neutralise the BRICS.

Prof Peiris also believes that anything less than province-based devolution is accepted no less than “obviously” by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, Douglas Devanandas and Arumugan Thondamans, to name only a few”. This simply has to be Prof Peiris’ recently fevered imagination because none of these leaders have said anything remotely akin to such acceptance and have repeatedly reiterated their commitment to province based devolution. Why does Prof Peiris “name only a few” such Tamil leaders? Why doesn’t he name all the Tamil political leaders who would accept anything less than province based devolution? Relentless researcher that Prof Peiris is, I look forward to evidence of his contention. He also thinks that the TNA are “Tiger agents”. I do not. All the Tamil leaders who stood against the Tigers – those of the PLOT, EPRLF, EPDP and TULF (Mr Anandasangaree) stand precisely for province based devolution. Prabhakaran however went to war against it and the ‘Tiger agents’ (based mainly in Tamil Nadu and the West based Diaspora) are vociferous in their rejection of the 13th amendment with the same derision that Prof Peiris displays, only for the opposite reasons.

Prof Peiris then gives us a potted history of Yugoslavia which could be obtained from Wikipedia and which is utterly relevant to the issue at hand. Prof Peiris has one view of this island’s history. The Tamil nationalists have another.  I share neither and do not regard either view as politically determinant. Unlike the Yugoslav Communists, the Serb nationalists did regard Kosovo as part of their ancient historical heritage; indeed as most sacred to Serbian Orthodox Christianity. When President Milosevic attempted to explain this to US Representative Richard Holbrooke, the latter’s answer, famously was “I don’t give a damn what happened half a millennia ago; we’re living now.”  Prof Peiris may not realise this but the world doesn’t care about competing historical claims. It does care, increasingly, that the Tamil problem seems to have been going on unresolved for decades. Frankly, the Tamils look a heck of a lot better in the eyes of the world than do the Sinhalese right now, both as high achievers (White House Award winner Prof Sivananthan) and victims. Time is not on the side of the Sinhalese. If we don’t replenish our ‘soft power’, and the Sinhala hawks continue with their recidivism, an effective enough global consensus may crystallize in favour of divorce, with our friends sitting on the fence as they did in 1987.

None of this is purely speculative. We had a narrow shave in 1987. Some of us don’t seem to have learned the lesson. The next time someone comes in, they won’t leave and they’ll have some multinational or multilateral fig-leaf. Given the military balance, we won’t be able to force them out. Prof Peiris and his co-thinkers among the Sinhalese don’t seem to live in the same period of post-Cold War history that the rest of the world does, in which states (not solely Yugoslavia) have been broken up or have broken up before our eyes and new ones have been recognised. India has withstood all these trends, but we shall return to that in a moment.

Prof Peiris and his co-thinkers seem dangerously unaware that when Georgia, its military beefed up by NATO assistance, attempted to unilaterally tear up the peace agreement with Ossetia and South Abkhazia, Russia intervened. Those areas are no longer part of Georgia. He and his ideological brothers in arms are also oblivious to the fact that when Serbia challenged the independence declaration of Kosovo, the International Court of Justice opined that secession did not violate the fundamentals of international law.

Most pertinently, Prof Peiris seems ignorant of the area of academic specialisation of one of the members of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts’ report (the ‘Darusman Report’) on Sri Lanka, Prof Stephen Ratner of the USA. His speciality is the issue of borders of new states and one his arguments is that when a pre-existing parent state triggers secession by unilaterally abrogating the autonomy of an existing province and leading eventually to the creation of a new state, the borders of the new state are or should be on the basis of pre-existing possession and should constitute the boundaries of that pre-existing province the autonomy of which was unilaterally abrogated.  (‘Drawing a Better Line: UTI Possidetis and the Borders of New States’, Steven R. Ratner, the American Journal of International Law, Vol. 90, No. 4 Oct., 1996, pp. 590-624).  Surely the dangers of unilateral abrogation of provincial devolution, the 13th amendment and in effect the Indo-Lanka Accord should be obvious even to one as myopic as Prof Peiris has disappointingly turned out to be.

And now to India. In Prof Peiris reckoning “what had held together the Indian union more effectively than all else is the overwhelming military might of the central government of India.” This contention fails to explain why the far more powerful military of a superpower, the Soviet Union, was unable to hold that multinational state together.  Nowhere have I or anyone else stated that the Indian model has kept that country free from secessionist violence or border conflicts. The evidence however shows that these violent conflicts have been manageably contained and often dampened. What is remarkable is that unity has been sustained in the face of such enormous diversity, precisely by accommodating such diversity. The “idea of India” (as Shashi Tharoor among others have put it), transcending such multinational and multi religious diversity and cross border influence has been a striking achievement, in stark contrast to the failure to generate fealty to an idea of Sri Lanka outside of cricket matches and an idea of being Sri Lankan which is not a synonym for Sinhalese or Sinhala Buddhist. India has a greater percentage of Hindus than Sri Lanka has of Sinhala Buddhists and yet, it resisted the temptation, despite the partition and emergence of Pakistan as an Islamic state, despite the murder of Gandhi by a Hindu fanatic, of declaring itself as anything but secular. It is the combination of (a) a unifying vision of India, (b) quasi federalism (linguistic regions/states), (c) secularism, (d) democracy, (e) the retention of the English language at the upper reaches of the state apparatus, education and the parliamentary process, supported by the might of the Indian armed forces that has kept India together in the face of all odds, and the breakup of both empires and multinational states. In short, and contrary to Prof Peiris’ version, it is India’s soft power together with its hard power, and not its hard power alone or pre-eminently, that is the secret of India’s unity and consolidation as a nation.

As for Switzerland, I suppose the discussion has as much point as the one on India, because Prof Peiris and those of his ideological tribe live in a mental universe of ‘Sri Lankan exceptionalism’, as distinct from its specificity. Therefore, not merely any notion of universality but any recourse to comparative politics (pioneered by Aristotle) has to be abandoned!

Let us conclude with the bottom-line strategic equation. I really do not know whether “The average reader, I guess, is expected to feel, “look, this guy is such an expert in strategic cum military matters…” I do suppose though, that there is a fair likelihood that my name was not drawn at random out of a hat when I was invited to be a member of the International Expert Group (INTEG) of SECURITY INDEX, a Russian journal on international security; the ‘academic and policy quarterly journal’ of the Russian Centre for Policy Studies, Moscow-Geneva-Monterrey.  (I continue to function as a member despite not being an ambassador any more, and indeed when I wasn’t one, between my Geneva and Paris stints).

If my strategic and security perception of the Indian repositioning strikes Prof Peiris as a trifle fanciful, permit me to quote a scholar from the faculty of the London School of Economics, Prof Peter Lyon:

“Geopolitically, the rise of new strategic bases will promote the rise of India, as it is this power, more than any other state, which is leading this base building process. Unsurprisingly, the India bases are more ambitious and almost certainly will be more potent, than those of other littorals. In the long run, they likely will serve a function—both militarily and symbolically—analogous to such past or present US bases in Pearl Harbour and Corregidor, ‘strategic bastions’ that were key markers in America’s march to regional and ultimately global power’. (‘South Asia and the Major Powers in the Early 21st Century’, 2004).

By contrast, in Prof Peiris’s strategic perception, India could strike us from any one of its long–standing bases and therefore the opening of a brand new base in Tanjavur Tamil Nadu, together with the stationing of its most lethal warplane, is of no relevance whatsoever to Sri Lanka and should not enter our calculus; not even when China and Pakistan exist not to the south of India but to its East and West, and India already has a naval airbase in the South from which it can monitor the sea-lanes.  It may be safe to speculate that Prof Peiris will dismiss as profoundly irrelevant, a little detail that  caught my attention, namely that in his remarks at the opening of the new air-base, India’s Defence Minister MK Anthony found it necessary to make a passing reference to Sri Lanka.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Dayan you are in right direction, ticking u r brain nicely. Good next do u believe Sinhala Buddhist mongrels going to listen.

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    Dear Writer,

    if you could please convince federal structure of the today´s germany to the lanken top leadership, that will help them right at this critical juncture of the country. I have lived in many countries, but looking back I truly believe for a folk that respect a dignified life – law and order, the system that practises in today´s Germany is the best.

    The federal structure
    The German federal state is a complex entity. It consists of a central Federal Government and 16 federal states. The Basic Law lays out which issues fall within the ambit of the Federal Government and which devolve to the federal states. As such the federal system in Germany is similar to that of other federal countries. Public life in Germany is predominantly based on central laws. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity citizens, on the other hand, deal almost exclusively with state and local authorities acting on behalf of the federal states. The reason for this is the aim of the Basic Law to combine the advantages of a unified state with those of a federal state. In everyday life the citizens of other federal states have far more frequent dealings with representatives of central government.

    The Basic Law stipulates that it be possible to compare living conditions throughout Germany. Essentially these are determined by economic and social policy. With regard to financial policy the German constitution accords the federal states considerable leeway in the financing of their duties. All high-revenue taxes are decreed by law, though this needs the approval of the Bundesrat, which represents the states at federal level. Part of these taxes goes to central government alone or to the federal states and another part, including the particularly lucrative taxes, is divided up between central government and the federal states. To this extent the German federal state resembles a centralized state. Nonetheless it is the federal states that control the major part of pan-state administration. This means that federalist elements dominate the state administrative systems. First, its own administrative system enforces the laws that apply in that particular state. In addition they also execute most central laws. Given the large number of duties passed down from central government to the federal states several of them have, in the past, had to take on enormous debts. In 2009 an amendment was made to the constitution forbidding them to raise further loans as of 2020 and limiting the amount of new debts central government can take on from 2016 – with a proviso for economic crisis situations – to a maximum of 0.35 percent of the gross domestic product (the debt ceiling).

    There are three pan-state functions the individual federal states exercise on their own: schooling and tertiary education, internal security, including policing, as well as the organization of local self-government. Thanks to the wide-ranging rights pertaining to guaranteed participation they enjoy in the Bundesrat, the federal states receive a form of compensation for the fact that central government is the primary body determining legislation.

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      Samare

      Good that you have overtly stated that a Federal structure is beneficial for SL.

      A clear synoptic picture of the governance structure of Federal and State as it exists.

      Regarding land distribution the States have the power to enact laws even at variance with Federal laws. Land powers are thus stated unambiguously. Such high devolution even where German ethnicity is dominant at 91.5%

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    So out of fear of India we should keep 13 amendment? Absurd logic.

    The way things are going India will not last long. It will collapse like Yugoslavia.

    A divided India is better for China and Pakistan. It is better for USA too because the smaller nations (not states) will not be able to put conditions to US military deployment in Indian territory. It is also better for SL.

    We must consult Pakistan and China too, not just India, in political solutions.

    • 0
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      Is that so? Could you help the process of its divide? even China could not do in 1962, what else do you think will do that?

      • 0
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        Defeat the Congress from all fronts.

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          Dividing we eat

          “Defeat the Congress from all fronts.”

          Good idea.

          And replace it with Hindi/Hindu fanatics.

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        In 1962 China did win a large chunk of previously Indian land. Remember Latha Mangeskar crying on stage?

        Today there are more separatist groups, Islamist groups, Naxal groups in India than 1962.

        USA find it difficult to have a military base in India because India is strong and doesn’t allow it. But if India collapses like Yugoslavia (which it soon will in my opinion), USA will be on a better footing to negotiate with smaller nations (again like Yugoslavia where USA runs many bases in Bosnia, Kosovo, etc.) which was previously unthinkable.

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          Muliyawaikkal

          You sound like a LTTE rump. Are you one of them?

          • 0
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            I escaped the genocide in May 2009 by pretending to be dead.

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              Muliyawaikkal

              You are the right man then to confirm Pottu Amman’s whereabouts.

              Is he now sharing a bed with Gota?

              Where VP’s wife?

              Pottu and Mathi are not accounted for.

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          Muliyawaikkal

          My elders remind me that China is only 4,500 miles away from this island and 20 miles away from Sri Lanka.

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          China occupied some barren land in 1962 but could not penetrate further as planned, and got unified voice from all states in India agaisnt its invasion. Thats what I referred there. In fact , because of chinese invasion, TN ( ANNA) dropped its separate state request. This went against the thoughts of China that India would be separated through military with the help pf many dissent states. If it could not happen in 1962, it is unlikely to happen in near future.

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            correction:
            “separated” should be read as “divided”

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              Did India win or lose against China in 1962 ? What happened to Nehru , didn’t he lose his PM post as well ? to Shastri ?

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              John

              Shastri succeeded him following Nehru’s death.

              Please check your facts before you start typing.

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        India lost to China in 1962 Tibet war & Nehru lost PM post.

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          Yes India lost in 1962 but the china main aim of dividing India was defeated. And they had retracted after a part ( 27 000 SQ Km) in akshai chin area.

        • 0
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          Nehru lost PM post??

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          China, Pakistan and SL have jointly launched the break up India campaign. In my view by 2016 India will be no more. Tamilians will get their own nation of Tamilakam (in place of Tamil Madu state). Punjabis will get theirs. Bengalis will get their second nation.

          But Hindi Belt will become one new country.

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      India is holding together because so many CEOs, who are Indians, in the USA wanted, USA to not to pursue with the plans for dismantling India.

  • 0
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    Good Article, India is getting more stronger and stronger and it will be never decide at all. If anyone is thinking that this will be a dream. but china will be devided soon, just wait and see…

  • 0
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    Though I dont like you, this piece shows that you are a worthy one to decorate any foreign relationship office.

    • 0
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      You would say the same with Junious Jayawadene who made Rajiv a fool & Mahinda Rajapakse who won the terror war against LTTE mass murderers against all mutt opinion that LTTE couldn’t be defeated militarily, if you read more on them & wolud worship them & pray to god they be born in India as Prime Ministers.

      • 0
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        Sorry, I am cleverer than all of those you mentioned in the list.

  • 0
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    If the TNA is contemplating the approach broached by Mr.Sambanthan at his meeting with the Foreign correspondents (http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/tna-hopes-election-win-will-ensure-more-executive-powers/article4784039.ece), it is to be welcomed. If the TNA intends to cooperate, the government has to respond in kind. This is the need of the times. This will lead to healing and help bury the mutual suspicions that are at present unnecessarily and inopportunely deepening the communal divide. The wisdom in Mr.Sambanthan’s approach has to be applauded.

    All the discussions that are centered around the 13th amendment; the outcome of the northern PC elections and fears of the worst case scenario; and the consequent international ramifications, will become mute, if the vision postulated by Mr.Sambanthan becomes a reality. Will the present government become a wise partner in making this vision a reality? Will Mr.Sambanthan be able to sustain his stance through the likely problems arising from the emotive talk of the loose canon within the TNA and its supporters?

    We can only hope wisdom will prevail!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    DJ

    The first point is well expressed, but “moderate” ..”and 13 A” place a ceiling and make the arrangement “non-optimisable”. “Calibrate carefully” to make centripetal prevail over centrifugal can satisfy those believing in central dominance. This obsession is stultifying the states in India and promoting separatist sentiment. If Tamil Nadu the first state to be most separatist has become more unionist since 1962, it is because of assymetrical powers she enjoys and funds she gets through adroit political maneuvering, not because of the Anti Secession law.

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    “Fifthly, given the current and evolving balance of forces in the concentric circles of Sri Lanka’s immediate and far flung environs, we stand in danger of losing our present borders. If we persist with a paradigm and in a policy of Sinhala Buddhist domination, we stand in danger of being shrunk to precisely the contours of those areas in which the Sinhala –Buddhist constitute a majority and shall be shorn of our periphery by external agency, reducing our state to a position it has retreated to for not insignificant periods of its history, to some point that is not coextensive with our borders as an island.”

    Yup, The whole thing, BBS and all may be cut off and thrown into the sea leaving the place clean shaven but in a bloody mess. As for the borders and the island, there you make a grave mistake. No one is going to leave any bit of this island in the hands of a bunch of clowns who have no idea what is required of them. No, not with all that black gold just a few kilometers off our southern shores.

    So Doc, you have left out the really serious part of the equation which is the part which will make footing the barbers barbaric bill worth while. We are running out of the gooey black stuff rather faster than we thought and there are plenty of old fools like me who have not forgotten the crumpled folds on the seabed off our south eastern coast that fathered the recent baby mahasen and what lies beneath those folds. That stuff, more than the murder of a hundred thousand or even a few millions is what will let the dogs out and set them on our heels.

    But I must say you do seem to have got a bit of the picture. Sail on my boy, and heave ho my hearties.

  • 0
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    One of the finest analysis by Dr Jayatilleke.
    This article should be translated into Sinhalese and Tamil so that a wider audience will benefit by this excellent analysis.

  • 0
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    Well said, Thanks Dayan

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    Why India is not using it’s military might to invade Kashmir or Nepal and complete those annexations ?

    India could have prevented Maldive Island signing a MOU/agreement with USA ?

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      Nepal was separate country and India has no interest in annexing it not needed for it. Kashmir is alerady part of India, what nonsense talk? POK was gifted to pakistan as part of 1964 agreement. you make all comments without knowing anything about India.

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        Mani, when u answer make sure got ticking brains, most of the Sinhala Buddhist dead brain or never been used or never going to be used in future as well.

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          J.muthu

          “most of the Sinhala Buddhist dead brain or never been used or never going to be used in future as well.”

          The Sinhala/Buddhists share your DNA.

  • 0
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    Thanks Dayan!

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    DJ: Aren’t you frightening Peiris and company further by all this talk of foreign intervention?They are paranoid enough as it is !!

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    Dayan,

    Do you know that more people have died from small weapons (guns, bombs, claymore mines) than from sophisticated weapons?

    Even the LTTE defeated the IPKF! In similar vein ultra nationalists in SL can destroy Indian interests in the island using small weapons. Most Indian interests (I need not spell it out!) are very very vulnerable in the island. Please use your imagination to know these Indian interests.

    My point is the threat of violence works BOTH ways!

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      Muliyawaikka

      “Even the LTTE defeated the IPKF! “

      Oh really?

      “My point is the threat of violence works BOTH ways!”

      O really?

      Why LTTE’s threat of violence or its actual violence didn’t work?

      Don’t forget the cost of violence paid by generations to come.

  • 0
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    Another intervention in Sri Lanka would be disastrous for the country. The warning clouds have gathered and we are in peril. Good if the regime takes heed of the results of their ill conceived actions and inaction. Time waits for no one.

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    Brilliant analysis of things to come in the future.It is so very unfortunate that one time confidante of the Regime is not consulted now.He is being replaced by pseudo professors who are unable to look beyond their nose.Pea brained leaders of the regime do not understand the language of intellectuals nor do they see the writing on the wall until it destroys one and all.

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    This guy is so obsessed with 13A, in supporting fragile damn 13A, he brings Soviet Union,Yugoslavia ,a US invasion, an Indian invasion etc, all nonsense, only in his mad imagination.
    Doesn’t he know that, 13A has no ground here , since forced down by Big brother India , both UNP/SLFP holding 85% of popular vote in this country, never liked it & implemented it but just kept in cold storage from 1987 to 2013 , since had many burning issues at hand. On the other hand why this guy never say this damn 13A was forced upon us by India ? against our will ? is this guy genuine or holding brief to some one or some body ? certainly not a patriotic Sri Lankan.
    On the other hand those powerless leftist LSSP/CP (this writer’s political mentors) who cannot win a single seat out of 225 seat parliament support this, because they have no any power , so they have nothing to lose by giving power to any body, even LTTE proxies, but those with power UNP/SLFP never give power to all or sundry , just because India or any donkey said so.
    If Leftist Communists (LSSP/CP) too had power like Chinese Communist party , they too would oppose any devolution of power, as in the case of China today , concentrating power at center.
    All should know, Sri Lanka is not any body’s dominion, has never been part of any Indian empire in known history running over 4000 years to days of Ravan / Rama.
    This guys leftist leanings sees Satan in US & many Crocodiles in Tea Cup, should never be taken seriously

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      John says”both UNP/SLFP holding 85% of popular vote in this country, never liked it & implemented it but just kept in cold storage from 1987 to 2013 , since had many burning issues at hand.”

      What the people like may not be what is good for the country.Masses are asses and must be led,not the other way about where they lead the others.When SWRD tore up the banda chelva accord the masses would have liked it.When he brought in the sinhala only they would have loved it.When riots against the tamils took place in 1956,58,77,81 they would have liked it.When the 1983 riots took place the masses would have been overjoyed that the tamils are getting a comprehensive works once and for all.Now they like the sounds coming from JHU and wimal and gota to repeal the 13th amendment and get rid of the threads that india used to stitch up the north to the rest of the country.

      By giving into what the masses/asses country bumpkins liked, you ended up where you are now while people who did not give in to them like Lee kuan yew,mahathir and chiang kai chek of taiwan raced ahead of us.Mao took the country backwards by giving what the masses liked,and today China is what it is not because of that idiot,but because of Deng Ping and others who had to go against Mao’s policies and go through huge suffering because of that.They were banished to pig farms for ten years for defying mao.

      Now you advocate giving some more of what the masses/asses like and what people coming from backwaters like hambantota like,and you are going to end up like kosovo,timor and south sudan,It is not a question of will but when.

      As for your contention that the 13th amendment was kept in cold storage from 87 to 2013,you idiot don’t you know that the reason that India could not implement it is because of that other idiot like you the velvetithurai country bumpkin Prabha,who thankfully has now ended up in a train wreck.Though that obstacle is gone now there is another obstacle the Hambantota country bumpkins who are also determined to end up like prabha and lose the north of srilanka permanently.

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    Dayan has the background and the experience, so we must take him seriously on his assessment of the current situation. In arriving at a decision we must be Buddhist first and Sinhalese thereafter. If you think as a Buddhist you know that all who live must be treated with kindness and with equality. That should be our guideline to act in this instance. We must be able to trust the Tamil people and they in turn must honour that trust. Despite the contentious issue of how 13A came to be imposed on us, let us be realistic and yield to the need of the Tamil people for the measure of control over governance in the northern province that they desire, not because of international ramifications but because it is the right thing to do. It is the Buddhist thing to do. If the Sinhala and Tamil people think on racist lines some of Dayan’s fears may well come to pass.

    We must not be deluded in to thinking that India can be broken up as some commentators think. Firstly there is no overwhelming reason for doing so. Furthermore it is in the interest of the Indian periphery to be glued to the centre for strategic, economic, and security reasons. It is now up to the Sri Lankan South to make the Sri Lankan North think likewise within the context of a united Sri Lanka. It is doubtful that the Northerner envisages a future attached to South India and swamped by the latter. It may envisage a separate state of it’s own which to my mind is unworkable independently despite the grandiose claims of the Tamil diaspora. So let the Sinhala and the Tamil people work on a mutually beneficial relationship instead of an acrimonious self destructive one.

    Mahinda Rajapaksa missed the bus after 2009 and took a rocket to outer space. Now that he is (hopefully) back on earth let us hope that he will take the bus this time.

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      Dayan’s article is extremely good, clear and if this gets into the brains of those in power, could do good to all the races/deemed races of SL.

      Wickramasiri’s insights are also interesting.

      I wonder why SL fell to such low depths despite having such brilliant and humane buddhists.

      May be we don’t understand the ways of God. Had such persons had the power to change things, so much of death, destruction, misery could have been avoided.

      :(

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    Dayan, study the ugly complicity of Croatian Catholic Ustasha regime during World War II. It will shock you how complicit the Catholic church was in the mass murder of ethnic Serbs living in Croatia and the forcible conversion of Orthodox Serbs(over 200,000 were forcibly converted) and how many Jews and Serbs were massacred by Pavel and his Pro Nazi Catholic regime the Ustasha of the Independent State of Croatia. They did it because they were Catholic and their forcible conversion of Serbian Orthodox citizens and Jews to Catholicism was approved by the Church at its highest level. Crazy things happen in the world and this is why Serbs still hate the Croats and vice-versa. over 300,000 Serbs were murdered by Croatian Catholics. Hundreds of thousands were expelled from Croatia. The only way some survived were by converting to Catholicism. So be circumspect with Anti buddhist rants by a Catholic when the history of the Catholic church is pretty gory. Buddhists and Sinhalese have bad apples and terribly rotten apples but not one Buddhists has forced people to convert or commit war crimes like the Croatian Catholics did. Just a side note to your barrage of invectives. When you resort to personal insults and barbs out of some hidden rage or anger with your late famous father, you lose the argument. Stick to facts and data and events. Your biggest weakness is personal insults. Your biggest strength is your knowledge of world issues; your other weakness is selectively trying to smear and attack Sinhalese Buddhists for the fault of weak political leaders and thugs. My point is highlight Croatian Catholic war crimes is to show you FACTS from World War II in Yugoslavia because you and Pieris both mention Yugoslavia. Serbs have a reason to hate Croatians.

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    Brilliant analysis of the dangers to us as a nation of not being prepared to share power with all communities – clearly derived from the author’s recent experience with international politics, and how it works. But, the question is, are those in power today – starting from the very top – even able to understand an article such as this and its implications? Very unlikely.

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    Yes, agreed, and now….?

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    As an Indian, let me clear some misconceptions on what holds India together

    1. There is separatism in Nagaland, for the last 60 years, yet , the Indian army raises a Naga regiment and recruits 5000 Naga soldiers for the Indian army
    This has several impacts, due to the presence of Naga soldiers within the Indian army, the Indian army has to be restrained in dealing with Naga civilians, over time, the Nagas have been co-opted and there is a ceasefire

    2. The next example is Kashmir. For the last 65 years, there is the Jammu-Kashmir Light Infantry – JAKLI regiment, 90% muslim, raised from Kashmir. Again this puts limits on Indian army misconduct. Next the local police in Kashmir is locally recruited and is 75% muslim. For several years, during the peak of the insurgency, Lt.Gen.Zaki, an Indian muslim was in charge of the anti-insurgency

    3. The Khalistan movement was crushed by Sikh loyalists, using Sikh police, not Hindu army

    4. In 1966, to stop the Mizo separatists, Indira Gandhi, bombed the towns of Mizoram with airforce, for a few weeks, and thats always a last resort

    5. Per Professor John Garver, in 1986, Jayawardene asked Deng to invade India and relieve Indian pressure. But Deng refused, and adviced Jayawardene to give autonomy. China will not risk a war over Sri Lanka, the China card was played by Jayawardene in 1986 and lost. The Chinese navy cant invade beyond the straits of Malacca for the next 50 years , perhaps never.

    6. Now that Narendra Modi is the BJP candidate, he is unlikely to get support from other parties to form the next govt. To get a majority, there will have to be a compromise candidate, very likely Jayalalitha, with 35 MPs as PM
    In 1996, Deve Gowda became PM with 15 MPs only. Once Sonia loses power, there is no more safety

    7. India has foreign policy cover from Russia as well as West and given the proclivity of the West for regime change in Libya, Syria, Iraq, any regime can be termed a rogue and invaded

    8. Historically, every few hundred years, an Indian dynasty has invaded Lanka, and due to geography, that is always repeatable

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