By Gomin Dayasri
India is Indira, has changed to Sonia is India. Ironically Italian, intelligently Indian, she held the key to India’s Gate at an opportune moment for the fate of Sri Lanka.
Coming from the land of godfathers where avenging death is a sacred article in their code of honour, no pardon was forthcoming to Prabhakaran amidst a thousand apologies under the rule of the Indian Congress in the court of Sonia Gandhi. Fury of a woman for a death of a husband, deeply ingrained in the folklore of India and its celluloid cinema culture, was not a bargaining factor for any ruling Congressman, many deeply indebted to her.
India’s enigmatic diplomacy in furtherance of sub continent dominance is to contain its neighbours with fractured societies. India suffers from internal divisions and pathologically desires those on the borders must endure the same fate. In the neighbourhood of malevolent supremacy; LTTE tuned by India was to keep Lanka on a checkmate position.
The original script required revision, as its fissiparous nature was unhealthy of being infectious in India and the assassin of a princely leader of a dynasty received no mercy. Outward hostility blended with inward tolerance, would have been the policy towards the LTTE but for the grief of a widow and for the pride of India.
So is the 13th Amendment, an artwork of her husband, which is the last remaining relic of Rajiv Gandhi’s Lankan misadventure where the Indian forces returned home as a rag- tag army and for which her husband sacrificed his life.. India keeps reminding of the unlucky 13th but not with intensity. Indians chide Rajapaksa courteously, and make the TNA (after jettisoning their Eelam day –dream) to discuss the 13th Amendment sensibly. To India, Rajapaksa has greater value than the TNA so it is better to make them trail the President. The deflated TNA like a band of tramps are to trek on the Presidents path.
Argumentatively, India is for India and Indians - irrespective of Sonia. Indian Interest is ahead of the sentimentality of a single woman. Fortunately, Sonia being a westernized lady in a sari knows to wear genuine Indian cosmetics in her make up. Prabhakaran (deceased) and the 13th Amendment (comatose) means less than trade and commerce, defence and security, hegemony in the region and an emerging power pack globally. India looks to her own future with conceit.
Brothers Rajapakse understood Indian mentality better than the mandarins in the Ministry with their upbringing in the revolving schools in local diplomacy. Sri Lanka performed best in India in the time of the Balangoda Woman and the Hambantota Man with their simple homely homilies. India was temporarily unsighted until the majority registered eighteen hundred thousand; with it, Rajapaksa rapidly became reliable in the region. Indian foreign policy tilted more to the Man than to the Country.
It was more Lanka’s fault if Indira Gandhi shifted patronage to the LTTE due to J.R.Jayewardene’s stupid caustic personal remarks of her and her son- to her India was her family unlike to the more sensible Sonia. Sirimavo Bandaranaike had previously maintained a cosy relationship with all Indian Prime Ministers. Rajapaksa is back on track.
India understands the moods of the Asia that are lost on the West and westernized UN. India more confident than under Indira and desirous of projecting its image as a global heavy weight and the undisputed leader of South Asia, requires the goodwill of Sri Lanka as India stand facing hostile elements in its own and other backyards. India knows Rajapaksa is Mary’s little lamb, with war crimes and the hostility of the West.
India backed the winner.India does not want to lose it to China, if it flexes its strength too much on the 13th amendment. India alone can undo the good it has done to her. The war has given the people of Sri Lanka an identity to be proud of its present.
Sri Lanka always a friend, acts the role of a reliable gatekeeper to the gateway to the southern entrance of India, with its ocean considered a private pool of the Indians until the Chinese started patrolling the waters. From the time of Independence, Sri Lankan Centre did not play foot loose with the politicians of the Tamil Nadu. With the Brotherhood as the lords of the port of Hambantota, India is safe and secure with an office of a consul to watch the movements of Chinese shipping lanes with a telescope on the edge of waterfront.
The President deciphered the smoke signals correctly and shifted the prime India desk from the Foreign Ministry to Temple Trees, from the time of Boggolagama with the Foreign Minister being merely a glorified baggage master in New Delhi. They knew psyche, tact and pride were Indian priorities. The President and his two brothers negotiated with Secretary Lalith Weeratunga providing the inputs.
There were strains, as when the Indian prime minister opted out of a photo opportunity to show his displeasure but laid the red carpet after Rajapaksa’s convincing military and presidential victory, to show India was firmly in the President’s corner.
India has a trump on the 13 amendment on Lanka’s many vague assurances but Sri Lanka holds a China card. In a game of cards of high stake between friends’ neither player desires to go home with a bounty on a kill. In a give and take, the Provincial List may be the casualty.
To make the taste sweeter, aid and trade, to India’s advantage, possible with the laid-back approach of the Lankan officials. The south block in New Delhi would never desire an independent Dravidian state to arise with a dedicated capital in the North on the door- step of Tamil Nadu, which will be the beginning of India’s fragmentation, and give rise other divisive elements.
To make it worse LTTE, Diaspora and the TNA turned to the West, in search of benefactors. They hooked on to the issue of the imperial cartel -human rights- to attract the western NGO lobbies, and always kept at a safe distance away in India. India channelled its assistance via the central government in Colombo after Prabhakaran made the fatal error of having a warrant issued for murder. The TNA took a false aim by targeting on Chennai and Western ideology.
Kouchner and Milliband helped Sri Lanka’s cause by seeking access to save the man responsible for the death of a prime minister; to India, he is a convicted murderer roaming free in a sanctuary that he was seeking to convert to a state. Worse, American tried to unleash the Marines on beaches of Mullativu.
The Indian Navy did not desire to see a Yankee flotilla near their coastline and registered their strong protest.. To make India comfortable was more important to the USA than saving lives of terrorist leadership. That was the end to physical intervention by the West. A free and independent Sri Lanka with a leadership looking to India, rather than the West is a better option for India.
India had to pay its debt to Sri Lanka for nourishing terrorism in the times of Indira Gandhi that compelled her daughter in law to make India remain silent that coincided with India’s present priorities, while the LTTE stood decimated. The west showed its proximity to the LTTE and made the Indian establishment jittery after seeing their adventures in Kosovo, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and former Russian satellite states, on the Himalayan borders.
The confusion in the mind of Blake of failing to assess the growing Indo-Sri Lanka bonds undid the influence USA could exercise during the critical last 30 days. Sri Lanka should erect a monument for Sonia instead for the unknown IPKF soldier in Pelawatte and build a miniature of Robert Blake by the side for his unintended misfired side support. To undo the damage the west did to itself, seeks to circumvent the UN General Assembly, Security Council and Human Rights Council by reaching for their anchor- man in the UN.
The West is losing its standing on Sri Lanka to the gain of India and China and eroding their bases in South Asia around the Indian Ocean. While Lanka is trying to stage a mini Rama-Sita epic on a tourist trail, India is on a grandiose Asokan expedition in Sri Lanka.