29 July, 2021

Blog

New Delhi, Colombo & Tamils: The Adani Factor

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

With 49% of the East Container Terminal (ECT) handed over to the Indian Adani Group, in spite of strong opposition from Sri Lankan trade unions and anti-Indian nationalists, India has gained a strategic foothold in Sri Lanka. To the Rajapaksa Government, it was a deal, according to the Prime Minister, to save 66 percent of trans-shipment business in the terminal, which is linked to India. To New Delhi on the other hand, the Adani presence, in addition to the economic benefit it brings to her GNP, is also of great strategic value in the context of Indian Ocean geopolitics and the future development of its own port facilities such as the Mumbai Port Terminal. To Adani Group itself it is, above all, a lucrative business deal. And finally, to the Tamil community of Sri Lanka, it raises an all-important question of how dependable would India be in future in helping the community to achieve justice in its struggle for power sharing with the Sinhalese majority.     

The Adani business group is one of if not the most dominant and influential representatives of global capital in India. As always and everywhere the primary interest of capital is to make profit, and it will nestle with any political party or group or interest anywhere that vows to protect and promote its business interests.  It is therefore neither patriotism nor Hinduism that threw Adani’s support behind Modi’s BJP, but BJP’s commitment to enhance the interests of capital. The ECT deal is testimony to the success of Modi-Adani economic and political alignment.

To the Rajapaksa Government that faces a pandemic induced economic bankruptcy and mounting international pressure on human rights violation, there was hardly any choice but to sign the deal. ECT sell out to India is another version of Hambantota’s 99-year lease to China. On the one hand, ECT deal is part of the geostrategic balancing ACT Sri Lanka plays between India and China, and on the other, it is designed to win New Delhi’s favor to blunt the international community’s persisting attack on Sri Lanka’s abysmal record of human rights abuses, especially against the Tamils.

For a longtime, the Tamil community in Sri Lanka expected the support of New Delhi via Tamil Nadu in its struggle for some form of power sharing with the Sinhalese majority. Therefore, it came as terrific disappointment when India, after raising false hopes, let down the LTTE high and dry and at the mercy of a merciless Sinhalese military directed by the current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, during the final phase of the civil war. Tamil losses were immense, wounds were deep and the scars are still not healed. However, the Indian initiated 13th Amendment gave a glimmer of hope to afflicted Tamils; and when Prime Minister Modi secured a promise from GR to implement the provisions of that amendment in full, Tamil leaders’ expectations obviously ran high. When GR back tracked on his promise after returning from New Delhi, Modi did not show any bitterness outwardly, but continued to advocate his Neighborhood First policy with Sri Lana. India, as promised, loaned $400 million to Sri Lanka’s infrastructure projects, and the Indian Reserve Bank signed currency swap arrangements with SLBC for $400 million with the possibility of another deal for one billion dollars. Diplomatically viewing, all this were baits to capture the shark and that shark is the Adani deal. How could GR and his MR Government refuse now?

Once again, these economic transactions and commercial deals between the two countries raise doubt within the Tamil community about New Delhi’s commitment to arbitrate justly on the Tamil issue. Just a week ago, the stealthy demolition of the Mullivaikkal memorial monument inside the Jaffna University campus, which provoked spontaneous student protests and hunger strike in the North and East, raised sympathetic voices from the Muslim community, which has its issues with the GR-MR regime, and threatened to spill over into Tamil Nadu, India acted quickly and quietly to repair the damage.  The hands that demolished the monument were forced to lay the foundation for its reconstruction. Does it enough to quell the doubts in Tamil minds?

For the local Tamil community, realpolitik dictates that shouting through Tamil Nadu is politically inaudible in New Delhi, because Modi’s BJP did not need Tamil Nadu (TN) support to come to power, and as things are, with Hindu nationalism reigning supreme in the central and northern states, Modi may not need TN support if he decides to run again to capture the capital.  Also, at least on the communal issue, there is perfect amity between Modi’s anti-Muslim Hindu nationalist vote bank and GR-MR’s anti-Tamil cum anti-Muslim Buddhist nationalist counterpart. Now, with mutual economic interests tied closely between the two regimes thanks to the Adani deal, New Delhi’s interest on the Tamil issue is destined to wane. It may at best work with GR-MR for a virtually powerless Provincial Council system to satisfy Tamil aspirations. Tamils have no choice therefore, but to join hands with the other disgruntled community, Muslims, and get their grievances heard internationally. 

In the meantime, how much of economic benefit would Sri Lanka receive from the operation of Adani deal is yet to be seen. Trade unions are worried that ECT would be swamped by Indian labor, just as Chinese are working in tens of thousands in China initiated joint projects.  At the same time, the anti-Indian Buddhist nationalists fear that Indian meddling in Sri Lankan affairs would be permanent. This is the price the country is paying for seven decades of self-destructive communal politics. It will be interesting to watch however, China’s next move. 

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business & Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 13
    3

    India’s concern is only INDIA and not the Tamils. As the regional election is drawing near in Tamil Nadu, Modi may be putting up a Boru Show as all politicians there and in Srilanka do. Central India is very keen to obtain some seats in Tamil Nadu for the BJP. Hence an effort is bein made under various pretexts. Love thy neighbour as thy self is not their moto.

  • 7
    3

    The argument that vexes me is simple.
    Ameer Ali says that to the Tamil community an all-important question is how dependable would India be in future in helping the community to achieve justice in its struggle for power sharing.
    Ameer Ali is adult enough to know that for Tamils justice is not in being allowed to share power but in being permitted to make our own destiny, within or without the island.
    India resoled the issue with its Provincial partitioning. Knowing how difficult it would be for us with a Sinhala central administration, we found the 13A inadequate. History has proven that we were correct.

    • 6
      1

      “And finally, to the Tamil community of Sri Lanka, it raises an all-important question of how dependable would India be….”
      I would say not only Tamils but everyone else have bigger things to worry about, like the dependability of Muslim MP’s at voting time.

  • 5
    0

    I have already expressed my opinion on this matter in Rusiripala Tennakoon’s and Jehan Perera’s articles. Therefore, I have no intention to repeat the same.
    .
    Ameer Ali,
    You are talking in the past tense. When did the Rajapaksas sign the deal? Who signed on behalf of Sri Lanka? I don’t think the Rajapaksas will stay for long. They were first admired, then feared and now despised.
    .
    You say, “ECT sold out to India is another version of Hambantota’s 99-year lease to China.” No, it is NOT. Unlike the ECT which is already making high profits, Hambantota Port was a new port where operations and services had to be started from scratch.
    It is pure political immaturity of Sri Lankan leaders to take the regional competitiveness between China and India on us by turning over our national assets to them.

    • 0
      0

      I didn’t notice this before.
      There is one line missing in the paragraph I mentioned about Hambantota’s 99 year lease to China.
      What I meant was not actually about leasing, but the initial contract given to China to build a new port.
      Leasing the Hambantota Port to China for 99 years was a treachery involved by both Ranil and Rajapaksas. When Ranil presented the Hambantota Port Leasing Act in Parliament, only 5 MPs in the Joint Opposition voted against while all other JO MPs, including all Rajapaksa MPs were absent. Now it is the same Rajapaksas who try to sell Colombo’s ECT to India under the pretense of a DRAFT agreement said to have been signed by the previous government.
      Although we did not pay attention, Rajapaksas seem to have had a habit of fooling Sinhalese who placed immense trust in them.
      We need to get together with Maha Sangha, especially Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thero who happens to be the backbone of the Sinhalese right now, in the absence of “fake patriots”.

  • 1
    2

    Dear Dr Ali
    I look forward to observe the TNA and Muslim Party power sharing in the near future?Kindly let us know where in our planet this will be please…Alice Springs would be an ideal location??
    India looks after its own interest?? TNA and Muslim Parties needed to create havoc in SL and settle in Western Countries to find out this normal fact that all the Nations look after themselves including Australia Sir?seriously?
    Given there is no such think as TNA nor Muslim Power sharing scenario ever existed nor India ever had such interest in Sri Lanka please rewrite your article on this basis we can compare notes thereafter.
    More than the trade benefit India looks after its territorial interest from extreme/sectarian backward mindsets like the TNA and Muslim Parties of SL from their shores always…for a little while they were happy to play “fools” with a bunch of fools/cowards who will even sell their own children from SL as mercenaries now you are figuring out India had no interest in what exactly?
    I am sure Indians will share some of the loot with you all in the respective countries you all call home nowdays…as you have legitimate right to demand too……spin both sides is better than one am sure??

  • 0
    3

    Alternatively you are all planning to power share village by village throughout of Sri Lanka perhaps??

    Now I understand when you somehow hijacked the mission and vision of Late Hon Badi-ud-din- Mahmud and his great life and work of a Sri Lankan patriot and try to make him look as though it was a “Muslim” doing great things earlier in the CT and now this from you of a development proposal of an elected GOSL not evaluate from the pros and cons for Sri Lanka but as is suitable for power sharing with whom exactly please?

    You could have written an article to ensure how all the citizens can benefit from such ventures? how SAARC can benefit encompassing Pakistan/Bangladesh etc??….bring peace to the region too before all hell break loose with geo politicians screwing us all collectively??

  • 4
    1

    Dr. Ameer Ali.
    Thank you for the interesting piece. Some food for thought about the oncoming Geneva sessions, 13A, PC Elections etc.

  • 4
    1

    Both Hambantota deal and the two Indian deals in ECT and Trinco oil tanks have dragged SL into the China-India war. SL will be bombed by both in the event of war between them.

    • 0
      1

      Dear Gatam

      We are a beautiful Nation of people and we will be setting exceptional examples for the future of the planet in many fronts….over and beyond the commercial pros and cons this is a mark of strength and not weakness by the GOSL please note.

      (1) Thus is the first step to set the path for SAARC. This scope was to be lead by us from the 80’s anyway through our strategic success we would have fed into all other SAARC countries greatness. It was not to be does not mean this ends their the journey will continue be it we are all hurt a bit should make us stronger and wiser correct??

      (2) There is no fear and making deals which are “normal” and respectful at least that much is fully understood by India she owes that to SL. Others who could had similar deals too did not do that and they will all learn from this….a good PR work by India on a very critical future making Asian continent. We will be the peace makers not the exploiters is what is being stated by us to the Chine and India and not the other way around. Respect to our GOSL too.

  • 9
    3

    Amir Ali . A good and insightful article . India is only paying lip service to Tamil rights in the island and the Sinhalese establishment know this and this is why they are boldly marginalising the island’s three Tamil communities . Eelam, Indian origin and Muslim. The recent destruction of the monument in the Jaffna campus , the kidnapping and assault of Tamil diary farmers in the east that is now being openly supported by the most senior Sinhalese officials in the east. The latest episode is storming an ancient Hindu temple in the east by Sinhalese government officials and hundreds of Army personnel( what is the army doing here. They seem to be in the north and east just for one reason to Sinhalize these areas) and installing Buddha statues , in an ancient Ayannar /Siva temple . The central Indian government may mean well for the Tamils(in Sri Lanka( Eelam , Indian origin and Muslim) but there are many anti Tamils high up in the Indian establishment , some even calling themselves as Tamil, who put a spoke to this. The Sinhalese very cunningly cultivate these people.

    • 1
      2

      Dear SSS

      “The central Indian government may mean well for the Tamils(in Sri Lanka( Eelam , Indian origin and Muslim) but there are many anti Tamils high up in the Indian establishment , some even calling themselves as Tamil, who put a spoke to this”.

      There comes the times one has to learn from the realities…..all of us in the region including India are looking to focus on regional development work without further destruction/divisions/sectarian politics to the area…damage is already done…there are other Asians Nations such as China and Japan also focused on the bigger picture in their own way.

      • 1
        2

        Your personal hate for someone or something can not change the realities any longer..is what the end of the war in 2009 (huge support base from around the world culminated in this event where GOSL had to execute the final push) meant shaped by others already. There goes the other adamant nature of another Tamil man leading to the sad end …FP/TULF to 2009 has one whole mark…undemocratic actions and the consequences to date…..listen to others for a change will help your causes of human empowerment more effectively??

        • 2
          2

          I have to clarify to the folks/CT reders the definition of Tamils bye this segment of our Nation who write a particular type of political analysis a peculiar take on life is the TNA, Some of the Muslim parties period…however the Indian origin Sri Lankan Tamils (99.9999%), vast amount of SL Tamils from North to South and East to West and the Tamil speaking Moors have nothing to do with this blunder all that have been propagated by 50-50, Federalism, Separatism folly and many more blunders under the “same party FP/TULF/TNA manifestos”….except we all died for this absurdity. Even the Tamil Nadu Tamils except few Harthal’s had nothing to do with this drama a very innocent people manipulated by their gutter politicians since 1947, Singaporean and Malaysian Ceylonese/Indian Tamils and the Chinese played both sides for their needs since the war started for the past 40 years.They have no other interest other than purely monetary colonialism.

          • 1
            2

            I am concerned if Dr Ali type of article now showing solidarity with “Tamil” which is null and void from the word go as is limited only to the few who lives overseas and subscribe to some non sensible absurdity they left behind a long time ago. The ground realities have changed too that is the progressive politics shaping the Asian Continent for a different generation…..is why these folks can not even relate to the developed and visionary thought of India let alone China?

            There will be family planning discussion soon in SL and will see how Dr Ali’s writing will advise his followers as we have seen enough with the burial issues already even this few do not see eye to eye?? May be is time the ghetto elements stand together on a stage and explain to the Nation how they plan to live together without the One Nation clout over them?? what do they have in common except living iff the tax man as elected for the past 70 years?

            • 1
              1

              For those who have written so many articles on recent US politics perhaps the new President and Vice President will have a message…kindly listen to their inaugural speeches.

              Special emphasis on the young lady poem that pause the question….how do we “remedy the past” to move forward……it is not the UN she had in her mind when she wrote those words. the answer lies somewhere else..other than the misplaced retribution that everyone in SL is entitled to the same as born free citizens offer planet earth specially if they choose not to hold a gun a exceptionally kind gesture to those who choose to just that in the first place in the name of freedom?

              • 1
                2

                For those wasting the UN time and their pressures time at the doors of Geneva can write similar poems for SAARC Forums and we can work our through all the SAARC countries village by village for empowering the people.education/eradications of depot scenarios through our wealth of worldly knowledge. We do not need Global Tamil Forums but we need is the “Global SAARC Forum” and think of her strength and the solution she could deliver??

                This will be far more than any single government can deliver nor any armies we spend money can deliver fighting amongst ourselves??????? The next discussion on sustanabulity is not about carbon footprint discussions on what each of consume but on the entire SAARC countries spending on armament?? We should be campaigning for one defence force for the continent not to fight the non existing enemy but to fight the corrupt mind of our Indian Continent citizens who are easily persuaded to sell their own for a dime?

                • 0
                  0

                  Hello Vennu Kutti. I see you have now become a Bumble Bee

              • 0
                0

                Dear Rumble 2021, GATAM, Champa, and chiv,
                .
                May I suggest that you take a look at Professor Kumar David’s latest article.
                .
                https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/conspiracy-theorists/
                .
                The Biden/Harris inauguration went well. More good news from an unlikely source: Donald Trump has left behind, in the Oval Office, a very decent personal letter for Biden.
                .
                If you google, you will find that there are thirty articles similar to what appears below:
                .
                https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/tamil-nadu-villagers-celebrate-inauguration-of-kamala-harris-with-prayers-firecrackers-food-201162
                .
                Kamala Devi’s village is very much South of Madras. It seems very close (by fishing boat) to Point Pedro and VVT.
                .
                I suggest that if somebody knows of celebrations in Sri Lanka, he writes an article in English, Sinhala and Tamil, with photographs, and posts it somewhere. Send a link to the American Embassy in Colombo. This is a sincere suggestion from me.

  • 5
    1

    “New Delhi, Colombo & Tamils: The Adani Factor”
    It is absolutely pathetic and a disgrace to what low level Sri Lanka has fallen in to. The one of the most precious asset is being sold to a Indian family.
    Adani!

    long live family business
    fxxk the country

  • 2
    0

    It is possible, that Adani’s name being used by SL investor.

  • 4
    6

    Ameer,

    You seem to be sad the LTTE was destroyed militarily and that India did not help save the LTTE.
    What is this special love you have for the LTTE ?. You seem to have forgotten the fact that your people were chased from Jaffna within 24 hours and Also the Kattankudy massacre ?
    In spite of the antics by Anti Muslim groups in Sri Lanka the fact remains that majority of the sinhalayas are not anti Muslim. This certainly is not the case when it comes to Tamils.

  • 5
    2

    Dr. Ameer Ali,
    Your analysis comes with a conclusion that for Tamils in Srilanka has no future other than joining with Muslim. Don’t ignore the facts and history and the threat against Muslims by the Rajapakse regime or Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalist regime. The ECT deal with India was made to manipulate the threat Srilanka face in the coming UNHRC session where Western countries plan to bring another resolution against Sri Lanka. The threat of China to India is real and ongoing and the ECT deal is not enough to reduce the threat from China. India need Tamil problem to continue as long as China threat remains live. Similarly western nations also need some problem (Tamil problem) in Srilanka to keep their upper hand.

    Further, the situations in any country changes frequently these days. Don’t assume that Tamil Nadu politics can change. Similarly, Delhi politics can change. Even Sri Lanka politics can change next year. For example, it is Rajapakse family told Sinhalese that Tamils are enemies, Muslims are enemies, India is our enemy, West is our enemy. Why cannot another family come with the same conspricy lies. Wait and see.
    However, whole hearted unity among Tamils and Muslims and other minorities are good and important to face the threat from the Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalists and the Rajapakse family spreading lies to cheat Sinhala masses.

  • 2
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 2
    3

    “This is the price the country is paying for seven decades of self-destructive communal politics.”

    Sinhalayo are paying the price for communal politics of Demala politicians and Muslim extremist politicians. As usual Demalu and Muslims who resorted to violence and terrorism against Sinhalayo and ruined this country want to put the blame on Sinhalayo and show that they are innocent.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.