1 October, 2020

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Losing Game In Sri Lanka

By R Hariharan

 Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cancelled his Sri Lanka visit for the Commonwealth summit that concluded last week due to political pressure from Tamil parties. Is it a serious diplomatic error on the part of the UPA Government? Should regional parties decide India’s foreign policy? How will it impact the India-Sri Lanka ties?

Why did Prime Minister Manmohan Singh choose to stay away from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that concluded last week in Colombo? Was it a gesture to save the political fortunes of the Congress in Tamil Nadu after a vigorous campaign against CHOGM was whipped up? Was it an attempt to register India’s solidarity with international protests against Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes and human rights violations during the Eelam War? Or, was it to show his unhappiness at President Mahinda Rajapaksa not keeping up his promises to implement the 13th Amendment in full and resume the political process with Tamils? There are no answers, only deafening silence.

None of these reasons seem to have figured in the Prime Minister’s letter informing Rajapaksa of his decision to stay away from CHOGM. It would be unfair to hold the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) responsible for the CHOGM mess; the MEA was clear that India should attend the meeting. In fact, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s vocal support for attending CHOGM drew protests from fringe elements in Tamil Nadu. So not attending the meeting was clearly a decision of the Prime Minister, regardless of the speculation on how it came about.

However, CHOGM is not the issue. It is perhaps the most inconsequential grouping, a colonial club where Britain can reminisce on how the sun set on the empire without feeling guilty about it. Only 27 heads of governments of 53 member-countries chose to attend the Colombo meeting. This is not unusual; but still it provides an opportunity to build leadership relations through informal meetings and exchange views on critical issues.

There are two reasons why Indian participation in CHOGM became such a serious political issue. One is because Sri Lanka is hosting it. Internationally, there is a campaign going on against Sri Lanka ever since allegations of war crimes and human rights violations started piling up after the Eelam War ended in 2009. Tamil population had been the victims and many feel the international community must ensure justice is done to them. This has kindled a lot of sympathy in many countries, including Australia, Britain and Canada, where sizeable Sri Lanka Tamil diaspora lives, as well as in Tamil Nadu. Rajapaksa’s aim in hosting the meeting was to refurbish his bruised international image. Chairing the international body would also boost his national image, besides providing an opportunity to showcase Sri Lanka’s rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the war-torn areas. It was for these reasons that his detractors had been against holding the Commonwealth meeting in Sri Lanka.

The other reason is the Sri Lankan Tamil issue has become a foil in the turf war between Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and the aging DMK leader M Karunanidhi. Almost all political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the Congress and the BJP, started asking New Delhi to bring Sri Lanka to book ever since war crimes allegations started surfacing at the end of Eelam War in 2009. The series of Channel 4 videos depicting gruesome scenes of atrocity added fuel to the fire. But well before all this, it was Jayalalithaa who resurrected the Sri Lankan Tamil issue from political margins and used it to rally support for the ADMK in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and later to rout the DMK in the Assembly elections. In the process, she has marshalled the frustration of Tamils at India’s seeming ineffectiveness to take Sri Lanka to task for its insensitivity to the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils and its refusal to investigate alleged war crimes. The Chief Minister had been to channelising these sentiments into protests against Sri Lanka and the Centre in a sustained campaign.

Karunanidhi, as a coalition partner of the UPA, had influenced India’s Sri Lanka policy during the crucial days of Eelam war. As Tamil Nadu’s protests against the Centre gathered momentum, the ageing leader has been desperately trying to distance himself from his past role in Centre’s Sri Lanka policy. He has been finding it difficult to manage it ever since Jayalalithaa took the lead to trigger protests and initiate a series of resolutions against Sri Lanka in the State Assembly.

Obviously, the Tamil Nadu resolutions on Sri Lanka trespass into the Centre’s domain. But to be pragmatic, they need to be contexualised in the political fisticuff going on in the State as well as in the growing ability of regional satraps to decide the fate of coalitions at the Centre. Neither of these influences can be wished away.

Can the nation afford to allow its foreign policy to be subjected to regional pressures when there are larger strategic security and trade interests at stake? Of course not; but the Tamil issue has been considered an important component of India’s Sri Lanka policy. The signing of the India-Sri Lanka Agreement in 1987 and India’s military intervention in the island nation between 1987 and 1990 illustrate how the Tamil issue has become interwoven in the India-Sri Lanka strategic security calculus. So, the Sri Lanka Tamil issue, which has local impact, has come to impinge upon India’s relations with Sri Lanka. The Centre cannot allow its Sri Lanka policy decisions to be subjected to vagaries of the State’s prescription. It is the responsibility of a national leadership. And in handling the CHOGM question this seems to have been ignored.

The problem is more with the national decision-making process than with political management. There are wheels within wheels that seem to operate New Delhi’s policy-making process on almost all national issues. Many of them do not operate solely in national interest. And coalition compulsion is only one of them. The national leadership has to strategise ways of handling it in States like Tamil Nadu and West Bengal which have sibling interests in neighbouring countries.

However, where national interest dictates, the Central leadership has a responsibility to assert itself. It has to demonstrate it is in control of its policies. Of course, this has to be done while reassuring the people how it proposes to address the concerns of the State. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister seems to have a serious problem in asserting his role. This is further compounded by his inability to articulate the policy through a transparent and interactive process. He should regularly meet the Press, and visit States to explain policy decisions. But unfortunately, this has not been his style. This is applicable not only to Manmohan Singh but also the entire political leadership. As a result, the present decision-making process is regarded as hesitant and ponderous, exuding uncertainty.

Even the inadequate and opaque articulation of the national leadership’s decision is usually belated. It is dished out after prolonged public agitation in terse messages lacking courage of conviction. Witnessing Tamil Nadu’ growing concern for the plight of war-affected Sri Lankan Tamils for four years, it is surprising that the Prime Minister has not visited the State to tell people how he plans to attend their concerns.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has demonstrated how to make the best use of a difficult decision. He chose to attend CHOGM in the face of opposition. But by speaking and writing at length on what he proposes to do in Sri Lanka, he turned the decision to his advantage. After going to Colombo and during his meeting with President Rajapaksa, he did not shy away from explaining Britain’s concerns and how constructively it can contribute to ease the situation.

The Chinese angle

The India-Sri Lanka relationship is also being tested due to the ever-increasing Chinese presence in Colombo. China has shown keen interest in expanding its strategic base in Sri Lanka, obviously to protect its growing interests in the Indian Ocean region as well as to gain a foothold close to India’s peninsular south.

Of course, China has been having cordial relationship with Sri Lanka for long. But Beijing established itself more firmly by meeting Colombo’s wartime requirements for armaments and military equipment after Delhi “let down” its southern neighbour due to domestic compulsions. China is reported to have provided $1.8 billion worth of arms to Sri Lanka. China’s Poly Technologies is estimated to have supplied $37.6 million worth of ammunition and ordnance for the army and navy in 2007. More importantly, China provides diplomatic support for Sri Lanka at the United Nations. China has now become a member of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and it could be useful when Sri Lanka is again hauled up in March 2014 on implementation of the earlier UNHRC resolution seeking Sri Lanka’s accountability for alleged human rights aberrations.

President Rajapaksa has visited China six times since coming to power in 2005. After the Eelam War ended, there had been steady increase in exchanges between the two countries at governmental, military and political levels. During Rajapaksa’s meeting with President Xi Jinping in May 2013, the two countries agreed to upgrade their relations to a “strategic and cooperative partnership”.

According to media reports, under the “new consensus, the two countries will maintain high-level exchanges, enhance political communication, and support each other’s efforts in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”. Clearly, China is going all out to build a well rounded strategic relationship with Sri Lanka.

As per the 2012 report of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and Planning, China has emerged as the largest development aid provider to Sri Lanka last year with a commitment of $1.05 billion, while India came second with over $700 million aid. The total assistance extended by China between 1971 and 2012 was $5.05 billion of which $4.76 billion, representing around 94 per cent, was extended during the last eight-years from 2005 to 2012. As against this, India extended a total assistance of $1.45 billion between 2007 and 2012. Out of this amount, $1.12 billion was loan and 326 million was grant.

Chinese companies are involved in a number of infrastructure, communications and port development projects of strategic importance. These include the Hambantota port project and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport near Hambantota (completed in March 2013). China has helped make the Colombo Port complex one of the biggest in the world by increasing its container terminal capacity to 2.4 million TEU (20-foot equivalent units). Of strategic interest are China’s deals to build telecommunication and information technology networks in Sri Lanka. Chinese satellite will be providing communication support to Sri Lanka. And China’s Beidou GPS navigation system will shortly become operational in the island nation.

Sri Lanka is negotiating with China to finalise a FTA (free trade area). The Deputy International Trade Representative of the Commerce Ministry of China, Yu Jianhua, who visited Sri Lanka last month, expected “the preparatory process of the FTA to be completed by December this year”. In his view, the FTA was not only for trade “but something beyond, to institutionalise our strategic cooperation partnership as mandated by the leaders of both countries”.

Sri Lanka had been tempting Chinese investors, saying its existing FTA with India could facilitate them to export goods to India on liberal terms. And when Sri Lanka-China FTA is signed, we can expect China to take full advantage of it to flood Indian markets. Are we ready to face these forays from China on strategic and trade fronts?

The absence of the Indian Prime Minister at CHOGM is likely to add to Sri Lanka’s cup of bitterness after India voted in favour of the US resolution at the UNHRC meeting in March 2012 and again a year later. And when the issue comes up once more at the UNHRC in March 2014, India will be in the thrall of parliamentary elections. So, we can expect an action replay of the CHOGM ‘crisis’ all over again. That could make India’s engagement with Sri Lanka even more brittle. How does the Government propose to protect India’s national interests in such an environment is the moot question.

*The writer is a retired MI officer associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies. He served as the Head of Intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka 1987-90. Version of this article appeared in The Pioneer November 24, 2013.

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    This old Cold War, bi-polar security DODO, Hariharan seems obsessed by China and keeps bleating ad nauseum about China. He sees the world through his Indian Chinese prism ONLY!
    What a waste of time and space!

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      India’s center was never what it used to be after 1991 death of Rajiv, & all were weak coalition govt’s, Congress never recovered from absence of a Gandhi with national acceptance…. What a tragedy ?.. their own idiotic intervention of Lanka had boomerang on them, …even after 22 years they cannot form a strong center, & dependent on regional parties to govern India, even at the expense of India’s national interests………Tamils are unhappy because they think they were used & betrayed , Sinhala Lanka never forgive because Indian invasion (air drop) , intervention pity but it’s the Reap of what they Sow.

      • 0
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        John…… “What a tragedy ?”………. It is known as democracy in action, of course it is too complicated for you to understand. No need for a strong centre and its a fallacy.

        • 0
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          Isn’t national interests are at stake ???

          • 0
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            Correction- Isn’t national interest at stake as claimed by Hariharan himself ??

  • 8
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    ‘This has kindled a lot of sympathy in many countries including Australia, Britain and Canada where a sizeable Tamil diaspora lives’. What are these sizes? Not even half a million in each country! Comparatively what is the population of Tamilnadu? Isn’t Tamilnadu a part of India? Or is it that these are just ‘Tamil issues’ with which the other Indians need not be concerned?

    Are the strategic concerns and economic relationships with that potty island so great that the concerns of the Tamils of Tamilnadu in full solidarity with the Tamils of Sri Lanka are negligible?

    Sengodan. M

    • 4
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      Tamil Nadu and Tamil diaspora do not pay Sri Lankan taxes do they really? Who are they to poke their finger in things they cannot afford?

      • 0
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        Who said that only the tax payers of a country can take an interest in the politics of that country? Anyone, anywhere can! That is democracy!
        Sengodan. M

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          Its “democratic” to undermine another democracy? Thats an oxymoron isnt it really? Perhaps its only India that has interefered in a another democracy in recenet times. No wonder it gets things so wrong isnt it really? Where did you learn international law btw? was it at Tamil Eelam Maha Vidyalam?

        • 0
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          Democracy is a ‘one man – one vote’ version of politics as practised from the times of the Greek City-states. It hasn’t changed, simply because a Tamil minority in one country wants to change it’s meaning. ONLY the citizens have a say, and what foreigners (and bogus asylum-seekers/refugees ) demand is interference.

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            ram ………….. The democracy you described as “‘one man – one vote’ version of politics as practised from the times of the Greek City-states” only applies to city states which is also known as direct democracy and not meant for countries. ……….. However the democracy now practiced through out the world is called “representative democracy”, elected officials representing a group of people. ……… Therefore set aside your emotional baggages and racism and look at the facts as they are. Don’t let your stupidity dictate the meaning and practices of democracy………………. More you comment more you expose your stupidity………… The less said the better.

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        Vibhushana …”Tamil Nadu and Tamil diaspora do not pay Sri Lankan taxes do they really?”…… Out of curiosity, who else do you think pay Sri Lankan Taxes? When Indian tourists and Tamil Diaspora visit this island don’t they pay direct or indirect taxes?………

    • 6
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      This guy Hariharan is not fit to be a colonel, he is coming from an angle of the Indian fear towards China which is at their door in the North. He is worried that China might surround them in the North, West, East and now in the South. No wonder China is already encroaching on Indian territory in the North. Soon the Indian colonels will be shitting in their pants in fear of the Chinese! ——————————————————————————He is also not concerned about the genocide of 150,000 Tamils in Sri Lanka and is ongoing in different forms. Here is a country only a few kilometers away that committed genocide of Tamils, and 70 million Tamils are inflamed about it. What kind of morality do these morons have in wanting India to have friendly relationship with a country that has committed gross war crimes and crimes against humanity including genocide? ——————————————————————————Aren’t you judged by the company you keep? Cruel selfish rascals who don’t care about Tamils at all.

      • 1
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        Mallus are real traitors and pro chinese.

      • 1
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        I always love reading comments by Hariharan and Thissanaygam.But not comments being made by MADAM Thissaranne,MADAM Dharshika,MADAM NIMALKA,MADFAM MAITHREE,SIR PAKI,SIR Laksiri,etc.I would contribute to Hariharan’s article,may be tomorrow.Lets call Mahinda a war criminal but these ladies will have to be respected.No more old bags(edited out).Madam KIshali,ha ha ha!A bunch of middle aged women on heat!Hadda and these lovely ladies got something going between them.Hadda and his love bird Nimalka.Bloody hell we are jelauos. Never insult these Madams.Mahinda the war criminal.Shiranthi the war criminal’s wife.Lets kill this couple.And Gotta etc.David we love you.Lets take revenge!Oh!that unfortunate incident at Nandikadal!Minee Band my band!Gahapalla band!Tamil Nadu,phew awful smell.Imagine 50 million Tamils farting!

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        I have met Indian Colonels who are doing labour jobs in the west.

    • 1
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      Absolutely if Sinhalese in Australia asks for a separate state and then gets defeated in the process it should not be an political issue for Sinhalese in Sri Lanka isn’t it?

      India is losing out to China in it’s own backyard, politicians in center knows it but tamil nadu just don’t care about it or isn’t capable enough of understanding Indias strategic needs.

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        Liberal One…………. If India is losing out to the Chinese in their own back yard it is India’s problem and not yours. ..Therefore back off. ……… India and China could one day form a greater United States of Asia, USA or Inchin. ……….. Please go away and read your Batman Comics. …………….

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      SM,

      If India is interested in good neighbourly relations it has to consider the concerns of entire population of the neighbour countries. Not specific communities based on domestic political compulsions. Partisan approaches intensify tensions and conflicts and will be detrimental to India’s national interests.

      Even a potty island could be a substantial issue if a balanced and strategic foreign policy is not pursued.

      India already lost a former prime minister and over 1,200 javns due to a bungled policy followed with regard to this potty island.

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        hela……..”If India is interested in good neighbourly relations it has to consider the concerns of entire population of the neighbour countries.”………..Rather India should actively participate in the genocide of all minorities.

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          Vedda, How can they genocide you when you’re not even 3,000.

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            mechanic …………. “How can they genocide you when you’re not even 3,000.”……………..This number you quoted above is after the genocide of my people by Kallathoni North/South Indian. …….. You must be a very stupid mechanic indeed. ……………You need a mental mechanic to fix your head……………

  • 3
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    It does seem from this article (and others including The Economist) that India has been quite over-rated in recent times. Mob assaults on some hapless Sri Lankan pilgrims (including at least one Buddhist cleric) in retaliation for some violation allegedly carried out by the Government 4 years ago is not the behaviour of a mature population. How is it different to the 1983 riots against innocent Tamils? Whipping up communal hatred to grub votes – not really decent politics is it?

  • 0
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    How does the Government propose to protect India’s national interests in such an environment is the moot question? Simple/ Take it to the logical conclusion. Help the opposition to defeat MR at the next elections. Indians have already begun work. Why not?

  • 5
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    Hariharan is a Tamil Brahmin of little imagination who is obsessed with China. Can he not see issues outside that blinkered prism? There are limits to China’s reach in Sri Lanka when it is unable to even enforce its writ on the East China Sea! China declared an air defense zone that the American, Korean and Japanese air forces continue to disregard with impunity. And that’s China’s backyard!

    • 0
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      correct it as Tamil speaking Brahmin. or remove the word Tamil in toto.

  • 4
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    The writer has asked a series of “intelligent” questions in the second paragraph. The simple answer is that prime minister Singh has no backbone, he leads a corrupt government and has not properly studied the Sri Lankan Tamil question . Bensen

  • 4
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    Jaya Lalitha & Karunanidi in a frenzy whipping up communal hatred and making it an issue to grab votes. How pathetic, when there are so much internal issues in TN they need to solve and make an issue with promises to improve better living conditions.

    If TN voters are wise, they should not cast their votes to either party BUT vote for a party willing to improve sanitary & hygenic conditions of the ordinary citizens.

    • 0
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      I take it that you have not really assessed your own sanitary conditions lat alone India’s which is better than wiping the ass of middle east people with your maids.

    • 0
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      Sanitary & Hygenic conditions in TN are lot better than SL. This is not 1970’s anymore. Now SL is worse than Bangladesh.
      :-)

      • 0
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        Aratai

        Sinhalese are the dirtiest and the most unhygienic people I have ever met. They are uncooth and smell of body odour.most of the Sinhalese are peasants except a few who are average educated people and they live amongst Tamils in Colombo and Kandy. The once in the South are uncivilised barbarians who are all low class they like to kill and rape . They also have a natural propensity to lie and cheat.

        • 0
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          Sadly, I have to agree with aratai and Piraña. Even after attaining the status of ‘Miracle of Asia’ we continue to have people shitting alfresco (even on our beautiful beaches) and freeform pissing against walls and lampposts (sowing confusion amongst the neighbourhood dogs). Sometimes even the toilets of 5* hotels are messed up and you just know that a yakko has been. When will our citizens be fully toilet trained?

          • 0
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            Koha, That must be in Jaffna. Where do you live anyway?

            • 0
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              mechanic …………. “That must be in Jaffna” …………. This happens all the time only after Southerners started visiting Northerners after the end of the war. ………

            • 0
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              No mechanic, NOT in Jaffna. In the last week, it was on Kudapaduwa beach in Negombo (not far from the old Browns Beach Hotel), the toilets at Crescat Kollupitiya and an exhibition of moonlight pissing down De Saram Road, Mt Lavinia, on Saturday night.

  • 6
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    Sri Lanka is a small island with 20 million people. India has got 1.2billion people and we are talking about the security of India and its dependence on its dot neighbor. It is the people of India who can save the nation, not the threat from Sri Lanka. China is not going to protect Sri Lanka if India invades Sri Lanka and divide the Nation or take control of whole Sri Lanka. India is not a major threat to China. China’s interest is global, not regional. Its aim is to expand its economic strength throughout the world and built up its military power on a firm economic strength.

    India never had a stable foreign policy and no policy at all in Sri Lanka. Their policies are politically motivated, not based on national interest. Do they ally with Western countries or with Soviet allies? Do they ally with free trade or ally with closed economy? Do they ally with human rights or ally with human rights violation? You don’t sit on the middle and dance to both side drums.

    Nobody understands what do they want from Sri Lanka? Do they want a peaceful stable Sri Lanka or volatile unstable Sri Lanka? Do they want divided Sri Lanka or undivided Sri Lanka? Do they ally with Sinhalese or ally with Tamils? You have to make a decision which side you want to ally with and you should tell open why you ally with them.

    If you think the Tamils have a right to self determination in the North East, then stand for that policy or if not stand with Sinhalese policy of Sinhala only Nation.

    • 1
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      It is not about Sinhala or Tamil or North or South or which side you are. First decide whether you want a neocon puppet or democratically elected person as the president of Sri Lanka. Then learn to play the game of democracy.

      • 0
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        Banda…………”It is not about Sinhala or Tamil or North or South or which side you are.”……… It has always been about, ..Sinhala first, ..Sinhala history, … Sinhala land, ..Sinhala only language policy, … Sinhala/Buddhist constitution,… Sinhala president, … Sinhala prime ministers, … Sinhala armed forces, …Sinhala bureaucracy, … Sinhala monks, … Sinhala Sri,…. Aryan Sinhala Hydraulic civilisation, … Sinhala heritage,…. Sinhala culture, Sinhala/Buddhism, Aryan Sinhala suit,… Sinhala racists, …

        • 0
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          Kallathoni Vedda dreams to be what?

          • 0
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            Banda ……………. “Kallathoni Vedda dreams to be what?”…….

            My dreams:…. 1) to send you back to your mother country, UK. …. 2) Liberate Budha’s teaching from Sinhala/Buddhism, ….3) Send all Sinhala/Buddhists and their Tamil brethren back to their homeland North/South India ….. 4)Before they leave they will be taught shared history, unity in diversity, how not to misappropriate history, land , heritage, respect democracy and human rights, ………. I will let you know the rest 5,6,7… in the fullness of time. ………..When are you leaving?

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            Hi Banda or Bandara you are originally a Tamil migrant from South India previously known as pandara or pandaram.

        • 0
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          Vedda, Have you seen Arab Prime Minister or President in Israel or Jewish Prime Minister or President in an Arab country or a Non Muslim president in a Muslim country. Sinhalese are 75% in this country. What do you expect? Vedda are only few thousands. Don’t do hate mongering it won’t help them.

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            mechanic

            Sihk is the prime minister, Italian Christian is the most powerful person, Muslims in powerful ministries, South Indian Tamil is the Finance minister….. In the past half Parsee, two South Indians, an atheist, Gujrati, and others were elected prime ministers. Muslims, Hindus, Tamils, Sihks, ……… have decorated the office of president. …………. Most of them were not Hindian Hindus. …….Guess where.

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              Vedda, Hindians are only 40% of India and not 75% like Sinhalas in Sri Lanka. Do not forget it is always Hindians that appointed others for the the job of the prime minister and if and only if they speak Hindi. Even Dev Gawda speaks Hindi. But never a Tamil. Why? Well, you tell me. Though Kamraj, a Tamil and a congress party veteran had laid a claim for the job, he was disqualified for he didn’t speak Hindi. Kamraj himself said so in the end. Understand the realities man.

              • 0
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                Banda ………….

                Kamaraj from Tamilnadu in the 1960’s was offered the post of Prime minister of India, elected by the Congress syndicate. …. He politely refused to accept the offer. ….The Congress syndicate was not dominated by Hindians then…… Indian democracy though sham yet retains a semblance of sanity. Kamaraj was not disqualified, this is a figment of your imagination. ……… “Kamraj himself said so in the end” … Where did you read this history, Champika’s Mahawamsa? …. Anyway Hindians are not the majority in India……………….

                Kathikamar spoke all three languages, why didn’t the Sinhala/Buddhists in SLFP refused to appoint him as the Prime-minister of this island? If language was the only criteria for appointing prime minister he would have been the first on the list. ……….. What a pity you can only see the world through your parochial Sinhala/Buddhist majoritarian jaundiced eyes.

                ………………………….. Banda, you have been living in your mother country for too long you have no chance of knowing Indian post independence history. ………… So please just forget about the whole thing and go for a walk. …….

                Just because 75% of the stupids are Sinhalese they do not have automatic right to rule and determine the destiny of rest of the stupid people. You need to read something on:………………..

                The Tyranny of the Majority……………..:

                In On Liberty Mill is not only concerned with freedom from government interference, from legislation and prohibition. Just as important is the freedom to develop culturally and intellectually, to become the type of autonomous and original individual that Mill admired. He feared that this freedom was under threat, that:…….

                … the inevitable growth of social equality and of the government of public opinion, should impose on mankind an oppressive yoke of uniformity in opinion and practice… Autobiography ch.7 …………

                The greatest impediment to human progress is, borrowing a phrase from de Tocqueville, the ‘tyranny of the majority’:

                … in political speculations “the tyranny of the majority” is now generally included among the evils against which society requires to be on its guard. 1.4…………………………………..

                The concept is closely linked to the growth of democracy. In earlier times, power resided with a governing tribe or caste who ruled in their own interests, and not in the interests of the people. This separation was gradually overcome with the rise of representative government: the rulers were elected to represent the people’s interests. However, as democracy established itself it became clear that a new separation of interests was emerging:

                … not the government of each by himself, but of each by all the rest. The will of the people, moreover, practically means, the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people; the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority: the people, consequently, may desire to oppress a part of their number; and precautions are as much needed against this, as against any other abuse of power. 1.4…………

                sevenoaksphilosophy.org

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                Banda …………………

                Less than 35% of Indian population speaks Hindi. Only 18% consider Hindi as their mother tongue. ……..

                Basic question and answer session for you,…………………. The States which do not have Hindi as their official language are as follows:- …………..

                Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal. ………………….

                Memorise the above fact, please don’t bother us with your well known ignorance.

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                  States like Tamil Nad, (6% of the Indian population) may legislate their own official language. But that language cannot be used outside the particular state. The official language in entire India is Hindi only. So, knowledge of Hindi is a must for any job at the centre. Yet only 40% (Vedda says 35%) of Indians use Hindi as their mother tongue. This is a matter that is imperative to us. Here in Sri Lanka the mother tongue of over 75% is Sinhala. Another 10% is fluent of Sinhala. Which is easier; for that 15% who cannot speak Sinhala to teach Sinhala or 75% to teach Tamil. I think we’re trying to pacify who cannot be contend with. // Crux of the matter doesn’t stop there: A Kallathoni Vedda reads writing by demagogic Tamils and plagiarises it here as gospel truth to tell us that 75% should not rule this country. We should opt for subordinated to minority rule. Where in the world today that minorities gang-up, condemn and forcibly rule the majority. It’s another thing altogether a minority(ies) align with the majority to rule a country. I think Kallathoni Vedda has gone bananas.

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                    Banda ………………………… Please note if you are less stupid you wouldn’t trespass into territories that you are not familiar with. ………. Your above comments reconfirms your ignorance and immense stupidity. One doesn’t need further proof you have argued my case very well. Thanks. Therefore I rest my case.

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                    Pandara aka Bandara

                    Tamils in Eelam are not a minority. You are sadly mistaken the Tamils never acceded their sovereignty to be part of one Country. Man where the hell are you? Are you in a deep slumber all these days . Tamils in Eelam refused to be called a miniority . We want to exercise our right to self determination as a separate ethic community as defined in international law. You Sinhalayas are in fact our neighbours and relatives like other
                    Dravidian subsets like Telugu, Malayalee, Kannada ! Tulu and Sinhala.

                    Even in Srilanka in the strictsense the following caste groups are ethnic Tamils viz Karawa, Durawa, Salagama , demalakattara etc. They make up over 7 million people. Now do you still wish to talk about the Sinhala being 75% no my chap take out the wanni nayakas , muthiyansalages , Bandaras and bulankulames as they are also Tamils or south Indians. That leaves you with some lanksi minisus who may speak fluent Sinhala . They can live in Lanka or go back to Portugal if they so choose. The boomi putras are all ethnic Tamils.

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            He wants Vedda without an amude to rule this country.

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    Dear Hariharan,

    Please stop this monotonous China threat, China cannot even take head on japanese due to growing number of enemies in International circle. Australia, South korea, Japan, Iran, Israel everyone is against it. Please dont let down yourself with this kind of Analysis.

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      manisekaran

      Israeli Prime minister Bibby recently visited China. Iran has somewhat close relation with middle kingdom. Recent visit by Cameron to peacefully rising China is refreshing. ………… Every country wants to be friends with China not with India. ….. India has nothing to offer….
      Rising China could be threat but it is unnecessarily blown out of proportion. Those doomsayer who repeatedly warn about China have some connection with Defense Industries or in the killing business.

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        Dont be so naive Native. Even Pakistanis visit India and Indian visits pakistanis and they do business, you think that they are friends.. when it comes to geopolity, every one sides with what is in common for them. I dont care whether India has anything to offer or beg.

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          manisekaran ………. I don’t care either. However why couldn’t India find one wise person among 1.4 billion people?

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            What are you talking Native Vedda? In Galle, we had to cancel our Christmas Nativity Play because we couldn’t find 3 wise men and virgin.

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              Spring Koha…………

              Good one.

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    Mr.Hariharan,

    Unlike India, China is surrounded by more enemies at her border.

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    Same old story by IPKF losers.

    When IPKF was raping Tamil women in their millions where was India?

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    BTW what happened to Dayan?

    White vanned?

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    “the Tamil issue has been considered an important component of India’s Sri Lanka policy”

    Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say “Sri Lanka’s Tamil issue has been considered an important component of India’s domestic election policy” instead?

    Does India really care about what happens to Sri Lanka’s Tamils when it’s not facing elections?

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    Are the Tamils of India not Indian? Does Hariharan think that India’s national interests are served by going on bended knees to Rajapakse begging him not to let Chinese into Sri Lanka. India has a moral right to intervene when the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka are oppressed, massacered, tortured, raped and subject to genocide. Remember Tamils are Hindus like the 1 billion Indians.

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    The greatest adversary India had always had to face is Pakistan. Two major terrorist attacks made India helpless and it has been reported that these attacks were done covertly from the Pakistani soil. China is Pakistan’s major arms supplier. Has this evaded Hariharan’s radar? The probable position of China with Sri Lanka could best be described as a friendly nation with wide economic interests but has it been lost on Hariharan that China has greater bilateral trade with India. With or without India’s treatment, Sri Lanka would still look to China as it had always done. The charade of this China thing sounds so silly that it minuses the writings of those like Hariharan who are quick to jump at such “expert” analysis. The most probable truth could be that Sri Lanka is holding the balls of New Delhi for being “partners-in-crime”

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      jansee …… “The most probable truth could be that Sri Lanka is holding the balls of New Delhi for being “partners-in-crime”” ……….. Indra Ghanti had a few bal.. whereas Manmohan has none. …….. I am sorry how can one hold, when the other has none?

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        What about offering your balls.

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          chandra …….”What about offering your balls”……… My partner owns both……..Ask her please.

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            Native Vedda:

            You mean your lady somehow magically developed “balls”?

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              jansee ……….If Indra and Maggie could why could not my partner?……….. When men fail, women need to grasp the nettle. When men lose their balls women evolve theirs.

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                Native Vedda:

                I hold my breath for the scientific discovery of the century.

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                  jansee …………. You learn everyday.

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                    Native Vedda……… yes, we do, some for the right reasons and some for the wrong ones, and yet some for no reason at all. Even in a figurative sense we don’t say “women have no balls”, do we?

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            Where do you live for me to come and take it.

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              I am no muslim ……………. My partner is the custodian of my bal.. ……………….. I am not sure where she keeps them and am still looking for them. Will let you know when I find them…….. In the meantime I bit curious …………… Why do you want mine, don’t you have yours?

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    Muralitharan has given a right and short picture of Sri Lankan Tamils. Minority, out of minority Tamils does not want live in harmony with Sinhalese, as their heads are big. They think Sinhalese are alos “Dalits”…75% of Tamils live outer places, northern province in this Island with Sinhalese…If India likes to see a self ruled Tamil political syetem in Sri Lanka’s northern part,what would be the status of Tamils living other parts of the country.? Does India think that even under a North self rule, Sinhalese will sleep as idiots?

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      sooriya …………. “out of minority Tamils does not want live in harmony with Sinhalese, as their heads are big.”………… Only if you let them live with dignity.

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    .
    Thank God, India is united and Tamil Nadu still (under) part of India. If Tamil Nadu is a separate nation, SL will be at war with TN all the time.
    :-)

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    S. Makenthiran,

    How can you ever ask for Indias help after killing Rajive Gandhi.
    Sonia and his children were very much behind the Sri Lankan government in annihilating the LTTE

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      Ravi Perera .”Sonia and his children were very much behind the Sri Lankan government in annihilating the LTTE”……….. So it is not Sinhala Weeraya’s exclusive victory over LTTE. ……… It makes sense. India destabilised Sri Lanka then it helped to stabilise this island. ……. In between meantime stupid Tamils and stupid Sinhalese lost their loved ones. ……. Have you learned any lessons? ………. If things wrong again in this island that would be an excuse for third party to take advantage. …………. Treat your wife and daughters well or else next door neighbour will take advantage of the situation. He will grope your wife and daughters, both at the same time.. ……..

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    China stopped Obama finishing off whatever left over in the ancient Syria after Cameron and his frog eating mate started the despicable carnage, by providing money and arms to terrorists…..Poor Indian PM can’t even attend CHOGM, because of the pressure exerted by the LTTE lobby, which took care of 2000 Indian soldiers and topped it up with bumping off one of India’s favourite sons as well…. Can India ever be able to show the leadership of the same league as China?….Never……

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      K.A Sumanasekera …………..”which took care of 2000 Indian soldiers and topped it up with bumping off one of India’s favourite sons as well” …….. Of course LTTE took care of IPKF while Sinhala/Buddhist armed forces and their leaders were hiding behind their women folks. … Where were you when IPKF invaded this island? Poor Mahinda was shaken and stirred. ……………..

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      Sumanasekera

      Do you think the Chinese are on the side of the Sinhalese? Do you think they are your all weather friendly allies? Soon you will find out what the Chinese are planning to do . The Tamils have better and stronger political leverage with the Cinese than the Sinhalese. In Malaysia, Singapore and other south east Asian countries there is a Tamil / Chinese mixed community called Chindians they speak both Tamil and Chinese they also practice Hinduism, Taoism and Budhism. These Chindians are in their thousands . Along with this Chindian connection there are other Tamilconnections in China including the radio Bejing Tamil service link between the Tamils all over the world and China. China will change its Srilankan forigen policy soon to accommodate the Tamil aspirations.

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    No Hari. This is not a losing game. This is the ascendancy of the ancient Dravidian civilization that is the foundation of all things Indian. Only the Dravidians are rooted in India and hence only they can realize the potential of India.

    Sri Lanka has to become part of India if the tensions in this region are to be resolved and this is not something that the lilly livered Gandhis can handle.

    There will have to be a few Tamil Regiments stationed on the island and a Tamil governor if there is going to be peace. These sinhala buddhist do not know what civilization means. The sinhala buddhists can become a scheduled tribe.

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      This is the crazy thinking that is trying to destabilize both Sri Lanka & India!

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    India 4% growth; China 8% growth; Very soon India would be a non entitity and China would increase its influence over all SAARC neighbours of India. Unless India faces upto this reality, and works in partnership with SAARC, it stands to be humiliated in its own backyard by China.

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      Pissu you need a shrink. India also grew at around 9% for two decades.The current downward trend in Indian economy is only temporary. India will do its best under a Tamil finance minister to grow fast once again. What do you mean by India needing to work with rest of SAARC ? Why don’ t you be honest Pisasa that you want India to take your pea sized Lanka seriously. Listen up pissa for your pea sized brain it is difficult to comprehend but do you realise India has even sent a mission to Mars successfully on their own and do you really think that the Chinese are better than India. Not only in Asia even in the entire world China now considers India as an equal partner and a competitor. Don’t delude yourself even the Bangaladeshis are now beginning to look down on you international Sinhala toilet cleaners.

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    “Should regional parties decide India’s foreign policy?”
    Thats nothing new – when 0.4% of Canada’s population( ie the Tamil diaspora) decide that country’s foreign policy.

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      No, I do not think so. Neocons use Tamils as cat’s paw in their geopolitical game. What neocons really want is to destabilize Sri Lanka and place a puppet as the ruler and drive out China from Sri Lanka and establish their own military bases in Sri Lanka.

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        Banda………….. Where do you get these ideas, if you want to call them ideas? ……….. Where is the evidence? Are you a Naxalite supporting Maoist or a graying arm chair revolutionary? Even worse, you could be Dayan’s ghost writer.

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          Vedda, Just read what China’s Communist Party owned ‘Global Times’ editor wrote about UK and Cameron of late and then start thinking in line with my writing.

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      By the way the Tamil population of Canada is 1% so is the world Tamil population.

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    India cannot afford to allow Tamil Nadu to dictate its policies. If so, there is every possibility of a cry for greater autonomy for Tamils in India being raised at the next election.

    Western Nations with a Tamil Diaspora capable of using their voting power to swing seats, are using their politicians to continue their proxy Elam war. Is it in the interests of India to join these opportunists to promote this proxy Elam war?

    The boycott by the Indian & Canadian Prime ministers and the attempt by Cameron to out manoeuvre Ed Miliband to win the votes of the Tamil Diaspora, are driving Sri Lanka to strengthen relations with China. India will lose one of their best friends in the region by such a policy.

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    Truth ………….”India cannot afford to allow Tamil Nadu to dictate its policies.”……Why not?……… “If so, there is every possibility of a cry for greater autonomy for Tamils in India being raised at the next election.” ………..Whats wrong with that demand. Increase autonomy will safe India as a country and it knows something about the values and responsibility being a democracy. ……Unity in diversity can be sustained only by devolving more powers to the states and not the other way around. ………….Centralizing state will eventually break up into several smaller kingdoms. …….

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    Colonel Harran should show courage in discussing matters as the same way he might have showed in his military career. Here he, apparently, is hesitating to talk about many things.
    Before Indira Gandhi’s time, India was a non-align country. At that time, though it is difficult to say anything about the Indian internal administration, Economical and development policies, it appeared, after receiving freedom, for the first time India was setting up its own Foreign Policy and Defense Policy. During her time India was bent towards Soviet Bloc. Rajiv Gandhi’s time and Prime Minister Vajpayee’s time it was western bent and now it is a “no-align” country. There is no real Defense or Foreign Policy. Now India is an isolated country without any friends to align.
    Because India does not formulate any policy on any sector for a smooth operation and steady growth, it is still much behind to other Eastern Countries on development, education and many others. After the release from Britain, all other Southeast Asian countries have gone or going to go for full dictatorship, but India may stay only with it’s a shaky democracy. Other than that, India also fully sharing the common phenomena of the “Southeast Asian Wonders” like corruption, racial intolerance, power hungry leaders…….. with her neighboring Southeast Asian countries.
    Recently the Congress Party’s Central Minister P. Chidambaram said that India is in no position to support the Tamils’ cause because India also wouldn’t like to see Kashmir going alone. Few years earlier, when Karunanidhi was working with Congress to help Sri Lanka to put down LTTE, the explanation was that the Central was concerned that if LTTE was successful with its goal then Tamil Nadu was also going to follow the suit. That notion is completely absurd because West Bengal which worked with Central Government in the Bangladesh’s freedom struggle, has not initiated anything to separate itself from India, following the example of East Pakistan. Congress is not accepting of the rational explanation of that a group of people going to ask for separation only if there are any ignored grievances of them are still open and otherwise, they are going to like to enjoy the colorful life of multicultural society and the advantage of the shared economy and opportunities that can be achieved by staying together. This is the basic foundation of the Democracy that is the minorities accepting the majorities’ rule in exchange for their right to rule they go for promise of majorities sharing their prosperity and opportunity with them. Instead of trying to sense and see if there are any ignored grievances exist in Tamil Nadu, Congress decided to coerce them toward to follow its cause. By infusing this type of new grievances with in the State, which is enjoying very fast economical and educational growth more than many other Indian states are able to achieve, (which itself may indicating that the State may not having much of open grievances to be addressed of,) Congress want to see others that its explanation of that the State is going to seek separate country is correct. So, those who brought down the Congress and its ally DMK on the last state election elegantly archived their object by arguing that the Congress’s explanation is not genuine and the truth was Central was not willing to heed their voice to help Eelam Tamils.
    Colonel Harran may sounds here that he is supporting Minister Chidambaram’s point, but the opponents of them too have some prove of Congress’s attitude toward South Indian Tamils. Indira Gandhi did not consult Tamil Nadu State government when she was making the Kachchativu Pacts with Sri Lanka in 1974. Rajiv Gandhi did not consult them when he was landing in Sri Lanka to subdue LTTE. Two times, central government dismissed the Tamil Nadu Government at its will, not hearing or consulting even the Tamil Nadu opposition parties. They took part with Sri Lankan Government on the Mullivaikkal atrocities. Karunanidhi was not consulted but was used for this. When Karunanidhi opposed this by a naïve fasting, Pranab Mukherjee, then a central Government Minister, coerced Karunanidhi to give it up. Congress did not behave like this with West Bengal. All these and other arrogant behavior of Congress have wiped out the congress completely from Tamil Nadu. These are artificial grievances created by Congress, rather than the deprivation of their ordinary livelihood of food, education, etc, that is what happening in Sri Lanka. It is not just Minister Chidambaram, probably nobody from Congress going win a seat in Tamil Nadu. It sounds it is too late for Colonel Harran to write article substantiating Minister Chidambaram, if Colonel is hoping to save Congress in Tamil Nadu. Mere jesters like coming or not coming to meeting is not going to bring any new confident of Congress in the mind of Sri Lankan Government.
    Sri Lanka supported Pakistan during the Bangladesh war. This prompted to think Indira Gandhi, who had just one or two years ago served the Sri Lankan Government from JVP by sending the Indian troops to Lanka, that there is a need to diplomatically or militarily handle Sri Lanka. As a smart diplomat, without attaching any conditions, she gave the Katchatheevu to Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, hoping to have obligated Sirimavo to her. When it failed to work in the diplomatic way, she started to look for other ways to deal with Sri Lanka. But, before any solution can be brought to fix this Indian- Sri Lankan relationship, in both countries’, the leaderships were changed. India had a novice as their new leader. Brilliant JR quickly pulled out from China’s, Pakistan’s friendships and realigned himself with West. Now, India had lost the cause to teach Lanka a lesson for not getting along with her. But the actions followed by Rajiv Gandhi taught a different kind of lesson to Sri Lanka that is just the alignment of with some countries is not the cause of India’s irritation, it appeared even the mere existence of Sri Lanka is a cause for India’s irritation. It is from that time onward; Sri Lanka had fixed it defense and foreign policies against India.
    After JR, there was no presidents of Sri Lanka had amiable relationship with India. With that trace record in place, Colonel Harran’s suggestion of that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not going to CHOGM is disaster is not getting anywhere. Indian- Sri Lankan is not a not a onetime matter to be spoiled or to be rectified with one action. The Indian – Sri Lankan relationship is on a continuous Tug-of War from the time Sri Lanka allowed the Pakistanis Military Service planes that were involved in the India-Pakistan war for landing and re-fueling in Sri Lanka. Recently, India has voted against Sri Lanka twice at UNHRC too.
    The irritating element within the Indian-Sri Lankan relationship is not that the Indian Prime Minister missing the CHOGM. In reality, the ailing element is the Indian-Sri Lankan Accord. After the departure of the IPKF, the Accord was dormant until recently. This was the time Sri Lanka was at the victory of ejecting IPKF. After the Mullivaikkal war, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Minister Kirishna, who temporarily forgot for their convenience the fact that there is an accord existing, told that the Sri Lankan Government is an independent government and it had full authority to give whatever it wish to give Tamils and it is the Tamils’ obligation to negotiate with the government and accept the solution the Government would offer. This is at the peak of the victories of Sri Lanka, now they were success in wiping out LTTE too. But the last two years India has changed the tune. This is time Sri Lanka is caught in UNCHR; accused of genocide crime and it is in need of a friend there to help it out. So, after 25 years of making it, India has gripped this opportunity in an awkward manner and seeking to have Accord implemented. This opportunistic action is really making the Sinhalese to hate India.
    Sinhalese are viewing the Accord, after departure of western rulers, as the document establishing their new masters. When Accord is in place they are not going to feel at ease with it if Indian Prime Mister had attended the CHOGM. Even though the Accord was there for 25 years, all these years Tamils sufferings deteriorated more and more. It is not doing any good for Tamils or Sinhalese. All what is it doing is satisfying the ego of the elite, Hindi, Congress masters. Once before also Congress suffered this type ego, but, then it was Gandhi came from South Africa and corrected it. But, now, Sonia Gandhi’s involvement, in contrast of fixing the Congress spoiled nature, it has aggravated that.
    No negotiated settlement going to come from Sinhalese leadership as long as this Accord is hanging over their head. If the Accord continues to exist any negotiation are not going to be genuine. The Sinhalese leaders are going use the Accord to generate vote for them rather than using it solve the Tamils’ problem. Only two types of settlements are Possible. 1). Singhalese willingly allow the Tamils to rule the North and East and they Rule the rest. This will save the country. 2.) Tamils following some actions of the genocide at UN and eventually, with Tamils popular votes, having their ancestral country separated.
    It is true when Colonel Harran says that the Prime Minister is not saying anything that would put these matters to go to rest. At the same time, it is also true that he has no freedom to talk about it too. That is why he is not talking. The current setup at the Prime Minister’s office is the decision making authority is not in Prime Minister’s hand. But, he is the taking the responsibility to those decision. For example, he is going to take responsibility for being the Congress facing the complete wipe out from Tamil Nadu. At the same time he is not the one took the decisions including the one of not going to CHOGM, which came as a too late fix to save Congress’s face in Tamil Nadu. Congress’s Leaders took this decision and imposed on him, thinking that it going to bring back the old Glory of Congress in Tamil Nadu. But everybody knows that it is not going to work at the coming election. This Congress’s decision has put Prime Minister the Manmohan Singh more uncomfortable status than ever. That is why he ceased to talk. So, when Finance Minister Chidambaram says that they seek to have the India-Sri Lanka pact implemented or if Colonel Harran says that it is disastrous mistake missing the CHOGM, they both are out of the political reality lines and they are in some kind of dream status.

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    Not only Kashmir, how about Punjab is in two pieces. One piece is Pakistani and the other piece is Indian.

    Not only Sri Lankan Tamils, these punjabis, Kashmiris have similar “political rights”

    India should be dismantled and these peoples’s political rights should be respected.

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