1 December, 2020

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Modi Must Bring About Serious Foreign Policy Change

By Rajasingham Jayadevan

Rajasingham Jayadevan

Rajasingham Jayadevan

The current Indian parliament (lok Sabah) will end its constitutional term on 14 May 2014. The expectations are, BJP coalition will win comfortably. BJP’s Narendra Modi is seen as the Prime Minister in waiting and expected to take India forward in an outright way from the foundation BJP laid for the economic upturn during its last term in office.

The demand for change in political direction is much felt, as India remains regionally and internationally a subdued state. Its non-assertive foreign policy is ravaged by its inability to articulate its regional authority. This is boomeranging on India, thus facilitating China to extend its spears without any check and balance. Never in the history of independent India has it been bullied by all of its neighboring states. Even the little state of Sri Lanka is taking fearless comfort and dictating terms on many issues-thus teasing with lozenges to the Indian fishermen after India abstained from voting in the UNHRC. India’s foreign policy is in deadlock and it is surely non assertive and submissive.

India’s muted approach is permitting Sri Lanka to enforce its will without any fear – a predicament of an elephant becoming highly allergic to ant venom. Continuation of this unreceptive foreign policy will eventually kill India’s stakes, as the fast changing international circumstances will lead to unredeemable consequences.

All the hopes are on the popular BJP leader Narendra Modhi to revive and reignite a commanding  Indian foreign policy to assert its stakes in the global politics. BJP’s foreign policy based on its nationalist principles is expected to be different to that of the present pathetically weak Congress lead coalition. There is dire need for a change in the policy direction.

The Pakistani Daily in its editorial of 21 January 2014 asserted: “It could be that considering the BJP’s candidate for the top slot Narendra Modi’s election campaign momentum and his track record in Gujarat …. that could outshine Rahul’s political career so far, Sonia decided not to take the plunge,”. Such a binocular view from a country contagious to India speaks volumes of Narendra Modi’s chances to become the Prime Minister of India.

The party will also try to focus on states like West Bengal, Kerala, Odisha and in the northeast where it does not have a presence.

When I had a long meeting with Narendra Modi on a five mile drive to the infamous Swaminarayan temple in Neasden in London some years ago,  I presented him with a memorandum on the political resolution to the conflict in Sri Lanka. It was a useful engagement and he made his candid comments. The Rajiv Gandhi factor was at peak at that time and he expressed his difficulties in carrying out an outright campaign. But he promised to do whatever within his limits.

Lots of blood have been spilt since my meeting with him and the internal political compulsions too have changed to the worse with the end of the war in Sri Lanka in 2009 and there is dire need to rethink India’s foreign policy towards Sri Lanka. Any such change must not be heavily compromised to protect only the Indian fishermen and investments in Sri Lanka.

Difficulties faced by the Sri Lankan Tamils should be the core determinant factor of the Indo-Sri Lanka relationship. When India attempts to outmanoeuvre in its back door dealings with Sri Lanka, it is encountering more difficulties. Overwhelming agitations in Tamil Nadu and its recent indecisive engagement in the UN on Sri Lanka are signs of failures of India.

For the past five years, India has failed to impact on Sri Lanka to meaningfully implement the 13th amendment to the constitution of the Island nation. The conditions have become hopeless with the lack of will on the part of India to engage to overcome the stalemate. It is rather bogged down in setting up housing schemes for war ravaged Tamils and strengthening the economic development plans of the Sri Lanka government.

For the first time, a free and fair Northern Provincial government election had taken place. Stubbornness of Sri Lanka government to undermine the constitutional mandate of the Northern Provincial Council did not invite India to play its assertive role, except for expressing its frustrations now and then for media consumption.

Within the Tamil politics, strong feelings are emerging that any political resolution to the Sri Lankan conflict must be aclearly defined federal model of governance. Tamil agitations since independence in 1948 to achieve some form of reasonable devolution has not gone anywhere, except for the community being brutalised in a ferocious manner.

In the post 2009 scenario, India should have played its due role to respond to the crisis with a mature sense. Modi’s election must pave the way for India to positively engage with the UN, to find a political solution to the political crisis in Sri Lanka. Taking forward a federal solution in Sri Lanka must be its aim.

There is demand from some quarters to hold a referendum under the aegis of the UN for the Tamils to decide their own future. In this, India must play its part by articulating a best federal model and secure a political status for the Tamils. In that, two options are prevailing in the Tamil community:

*Establish a clearly defined federal governance within Sri Lanka.

* An option for the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka to join the Indian federation as the 29th federal state to enjoy the freedom, security and the economic upliftment as a nation of people.

There is a need to refocus the political debate of power sharing in Sri Lanka. A referendum on the above theme will precipitate Sri Lanka to come up with its own devolutionary arrangements and safeguards for the minorities.

India needs a national leader to take forward a broader political mission and whether Narendra  Modi, who did wonders in Gujarat, will stamp his name as a national leader who could take unprecedented steps to correct India’s progressing malaise, is a challenge he needs to deliver.

On Sri Lanka, India must move away from the Kachchai Thivu demand and should turn the table to create a much broader agenda beneficial to India.

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Latest comments

  • 7
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    A fresh view from Rajasingham. Most welcome!

    Sengodan. M

    • 4
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      “An option for the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka to join the Indian federation as the 29th federal state to enjoy the freedom, security and the economic upliftment as a nation of people.”

      Since Tamils in Sri Lanka continue to be oppressed by the Sinhalese majoritarin rulers, I am sure Tamils would be happy to be the 29th state of India as an alternative to all the suffering they have undergone/undergoing for 66 years.

      Tamils must think like Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Crimea who decided to be part of Russia rather than Georgia, and Ukraine, respectively.

      Tamils of NorthEast must take this line of thinking to reverse Sri Lanka from destroying the Tamil nation permanently.

      • 3
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        Good option….India may consider seriously…

      • 0
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        Good analysis.

        The GOSL knows this and hedges its bets with the joint love of hammering the Muslims by the BJP and GOSL.

        Lest we forget, it was the BJP who got both the LTTE and the GOSL to the negotiating table, it was they who wanted Norway to be the mediator.

        Many remarks have been made by the BHP on Srilanka and we are on notice.

        Let events reveal itself.

        Prabhakharan dead, more dangerous than alive.

        The way out, implement the LLRC in law and spirit, let all our people live in peace.

  • 6
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    70% rural vote of India will decide what is good for them not terrorist/kalla pusari or kallathoni. Sikkim and Nagaland which were never converted by the Turks returned to India.

    Does India need another blood sucking island.?? No`| did it not give away 2 islands to Lanka?? Yes.

    IIT mech engg/taxman who is contesting Mr Clean NaMo at Varanasi UP will make India be like Atal Bihari Vajpayee- attached/detached like democratic westerners.

  • 2
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    A good, balanced presentation and showing a realistic way to get out of the malaise. Hope Modi will be the force to redeem.

  • 0
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    Jayedevan,

    “An option for the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka to join the Indian federation as the 29th federal state to enjoy the freedom, security and the economic upliftment as a nation of people.”

    Due to your population size the 29th state will be directly governed by Centre. This is the best you could hope

    • 2
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      There are about 65 countries smaller than Eelam among the 192 sovereign states…..

    • 0
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      Puducherry (aka Pondichery) has less population than that of Srilankan Tamils. Yet, it is a territory with its own Chief Minister and it is not ruled from Delhi. There are States like Mizoram which contribute very little to India, compared to such States, an autonomous Srilankan Tamil State would add more value to India. India can heave a sigh of relief in that case with its southern sector free from chinese and other intrusions.

      There will be minor problems and hiccups, but Srilankan Tamils in the Indian federation would not be brutalized and oppressed as they are now.

  • 1
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    There are just a handful of countries with electorates versed in the impact of foreign policy nuances on their lives. Indian electorate is not one of them. The victory of BJP will be triggered by domestic concerns.

    Further, Foreign Policy is a boat that doesn’t respond well to rocking.

    BJP has already hinted how it would handle SL. Tamils should not dream of anything that is not in the Indo-Lanka Accord.

    • 2
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      Excuse me sir, where did BJP state that 13A is all that it can do to?

  • 2
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    India has been getting their back side reamed by the US China and anybody with a stick , what a stupid country , what does it do with its clout . become a servant of toilet nadu , I hope not ,

    by a long shot .

  • 2
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    How easy it seems.

    Now Rajasingham Jayadevan has appointed himself adviser to Narendra Modhi…………..
    The daybefore he was with LTTE.
    Yesterday incaserated by Castro in the Wanni and opted out of the Org despite a pound 50K donation………..
    TODAY AN ADVISER TO MODHI.

    TOMORROW ???????????????? Sky is the limit of his imagination

  • 3
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    The last think I want to see is a racist as Indian PM.
    Which isnt going to make any good for India itself
    let alone the neighbours, unless BJP changes from its
    racial radical madness.
    BJP gave SL a JHU and its unoffical police
    RSS/Shive Sena gave us a BBS/Sihala Ravaya.

    Modi is another Mara. A bad orator but a big talker. Lets forget their English which is catostrophic.
    Both were hardly average students, rather below par. Modi ran a tea stall at a bus terminal after selling tea in trains, while Mara was a library clerk with his 2/5 O/L results, thanks to political influece. Pointless talking about Modi’s gujarat University degree & Mara’s Law Collage admission.

    Having said that, when Modi wins, he would of course, the only positive thing that could happen would be Modi would contribute to expedite Mara’s exit.
    Therefore I dont mind Modi ‘there’ for a while.

    • 0
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      Yes, it ll be like a hell like situation if he would get elected.

    • 0
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      Chelva dreanmt he could deliver a Federal State. VP dreamt he could establish a separate stae. The gullible Tamils believed all that . Now they dream Modi will give them Ealam on a platter. Dreams on!
      The reality is Modi is a north Indian, who is likely to consider Tamils to be troublesome. He needs Sri Lanka just as Singh did to keep the Tamils under north Indian rule.He needs Rajapakses,given their proven skills to help him in that regard.
      Modi’s hands are tied, as soon as he becomes PM, the Muslims in India, Pakistan, Bangla and Sri Lanka will rise with alarm.
      The Tamil hatred for the Sinhala is the root cause of Sri Lankan Tamils’ problems. Address that! The dreams of Chelva, Sunda, VP and Jayadevan’s will bring more nightmares and not peace!

  • 3
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    I think the moment Congress declared for autonomous solution, BJP will accede to similar arrangement in the form of federal solution. I hope thereafter Sinhala hawks mind their business if not, separation is inevitable.

  • 2
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    Quite a refreshing paper with an idea as: “An option for the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka to join the Indian federation as the 29th federal state to enjoy the freedom, security and the economic upliftment as a nation of people”; as opposed to the other drab and stereotype views. But how does one define the Tamil areas. This will generate much discussion. It will be interesting to await more views. Bensen

    • 1
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      The Buddhist Kingdom Bhutan would soon be the 29th state-
      It’s called homeward bound just like Sikkim, Nagaland.

      Humke kaal fajire Varanasi khatir nikle la haan.

      I have to leave for Banaras, early next morning.]

  • 4
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    The article it is well written and covers the present inept Indo-Sri Lankan foreign policy that is based on Sonia Gandhi’s myopic view of the Tamil struggle through the prism of her husband’s unfortunate death. Indian foreign policy is hamstrung by Sonia’s demented anti – Tamil venom and Manmohan Singh’s fossilised timidity in his interaction with a bully like Mahinda Rajapakse.

    This UPA government has left the foreign affairs stage void for actors like Sri Lanka , China and Pakistan to bestride it at the expense of India. You have correctly analysed the weakness of India’s present foreign policy that surely will have to be turned around by a prospective Modi government that should take its position boldly in international affairs commensurate with its economic and political strength in the world and in the region.

    The Russians have recently propounded a new policy on intervention in a foreign state (i.e. Ukraine) to save ethnic Russians in Crimea. The have now annexed it as the newest state to join the Russian Federation. The continued and longterm oppression of the Tamils in the north and the east by Sri Lanka should morally require India to intervene militarily to protect ethnic Tamils in these parts occupied forcibly by Sri Lanka; and as you suggest may become the 27th federal state of the Indian Federation, connected viscerally to their brothers in Tamil Nadu.

    The only other option for the Tamils should be the offer of self rule for the Tamils of the north and the east of Sri Lanka under an amended Sri Lankan constitution (much more than the 13th amendment which just allows for glorified municipal council powers that will leave the Tamils still governed by the Sinhalese at the centre). The Mahinda Rajapakse government has denied the Northern Provincial Council of the police and land rights enshrined under the 13th amendment. We can move in stages to the self rule option starting with a Federal setup, where land rights, judiciary, police, higher education and the civil administration comes under elected Tamil officials, and the Sinhala governor and military are withdrawn from Tamil provinces.

    The UN could conduct a plebiscite among the Tamils to establish their democratic decision as to the form of their governance, which must be guaranteed by the UN with a UN peacekeeping force in position to ensure that there is no Sinhala military presence. I should think that a strong Indian declaration by a future Modi government that any more or continued oppression of the Tamils in their traditional homelands in Sri Lanka will result in the Indian government taking military steps to protect the Tamils, and that will produce a sustainable and a more democratic solution to the national Tamil question. It is only by doing this that the Indian central government can send a strong message to Sri Lanka, China, Pakistan and other regional states that it will intervene to protect its national, ethnic and regional interests. No longer will India be considered a toothless Bengal tiger!!

    Well done for starting a real debate on the political options for the Tamils.

  • 2
    1

    I am pleased that you have met and already established contacts with the man who will be the PM of India in few weeks.

    federal solution is an outdated claim as we lost and suffered hugely . Right to self-determination has three elements

    1. Remaining with the state
    2. Joining with the neighbouring state

    3. Chose to become an independent state.

    I think the strategy we should adopt is to become a separate state and negotiate with India for close cooperation for security and any other important matters. This is the way forward for influencing India.

    Recent decision of the Indian FM reveals that they are anti to Tamils and still unable to understand the serious atrocities committed against us. Kothabaya once declared that he has closely worked with all section of Indian govt?
    What does it mean? Has he unduly influenced journalists, diplomats, and politicians?
    I am sure that you may be maintaining contacts with BJP in London. Hope it will bring some fruits for us.

    • 0
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      BJP is not your lande/lungi party but a Deshi party.London is where Mahatma Congress committed crime and still rules not Babuva Tiwari.

      Who is going to trust any kalla pusari when India has seen many a Rajneesh??

      Vaiko lost his lungi to BJP after BTF ceremony and Jaya tried to release but it all went limbo.

      Indira’s heir Sanjay Gunda’s son. BJP national general secretary-& Maneka’s son-

      Varun Gandhi will not take on Gandhis in poll pitch.
      Which political party at the center would trust a sihala or tamil of lanka??

      Desmond Do Do loves you lungi and Mugabe loves the SB of incest breed.

    • 0
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      Lingam,

      You should include another element to “Right to Self Determination”.

      Please add to that list of 3 the most viable element, no 4; mass emigration and creating Ealaam in Tamil Nadu.

  • 0
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    India did not enjoy turmoil on in its southern border; indeed a headache for the Indian military strategists’, even they considered the tiny tigers air wing as threat to Koodankulam nuclear power station and they neutralised it. The current Chinese domination not only a security threat, but it would also restrict their ability in commercial (export/import) via SL. They are looking for counter strategy; which is a permanent Naval Base in Thanjavoor.
    So the Indian think-thanks always keep all the options open including “federation as the 29th federal state”for their own benefit as a security buffer zone & as well as keep the TN within their fold.
    The Cremien annexation by Russia and even welcome by SL is a new phenomenon. The rapid economical growth earned TN status ranked as no4 and If the Eelam Tamils play their card wisely; nothing impossible in the ever changing world order.

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