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Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Tamilnation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution - Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Norwegian Peace Initiative > Tsunami & Aftermath > India, Lanka's Opposition agree on peace process says P.K.Balachandran in Hindustan Times

CONTENTS
OF THIS SECTION

Tracking New Delhi's Pursuit of its Strategic Interests...

1.Narayan Swamy  in Hindustan Times - Western diplomats must boycott LTTE, says Colombo, 27 August 2005
2. The Spin and Swing of RAW Orchestra - Sachi Sri Kantha, 27 August 2005
3.P.K.Balachandran in Hindustan Times - India & Sri Lanka Opposition agree on Peace Process , 25 August 2005

" New Delhi is said to be unhappy with the performance of the "co-chair" of the June 2003 Tokyo Aid Lanka conference. The co-chair (US, EU, Japan and Norway) have arrogated to themselves a role not assigned to them. They style themselves as the "international community" and strut about as the "co-chair of the Sri Lankan peace process". more

4. Sachi Sri Kantha - Pigs are Flying in Batticaloa!, 28 July 2005
5. யாழ்ப்பாணத்தில் 'றோ'வின் கண்கள் - New Delhi's RAW in Jaffna, 1 April 2005
6. Tsunami & the "Killing" of Pirapaharan! - New Delhi's RAW & the Media... 7 January 2005
7.Sachi Sri Kantha - The RAW Factor in Col.Karuna's Revolt, 1 April 2004
8. Jyotindra Nath Dixit, Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka 1985 /89, Foreign Secretary in 1991/94 and National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister of India 2004/05 -  in 1998 Seminar in Switzerland "...Tamil militancy received (India's) support  ...as a response to (Sri Lanka's).. concrete and expanded military and intelligence cooperation with the United States, Israel and Pakistan. ...The assessment was that these presences would pose a strategic threat to India and they would encourage fissiparous movements in the southern states of India. .. a process which could have found encouragement from Pakistan and the US, given India's experience regarding their policies in relation to Kashmir and the Punjab.... Inter-state relations are not governed by the logic of morality. They were and they remain an amoral phenomenon....."

Norwegian Peace Initiative

India & Sri Lanka Opposition agree on Peace Process
says P.K.Balachandran in Hindustan Times

25 August 2005

"According to sources, the Indian leaders expressed concern about the "over internationalisation" of the Sri Lankan peace process. ... New Delhi is said to be unhappy with the performance of the "co-chair" of the June 2003 Tokyo Aid Lanka conference. The co-chair (US, EU, Japan and Norway) have arrogated to themselves a role not assigned to them. They style themselves as the "international community" and strut about as the "co-chair of the Sri Lankan peace process". India feels that they have been pampering the LTTE a bit too much and have been ineffective..."

[See also Western diplomats must boycott LTTE, says Colombo - Narayan Swamy in Hindustan Times, 27 August 2005]


India and the United National Party (UNP), Sri Lanka's main opposition group, have a common perspective on the peace process in the island as well as Sri Lanka-India relations.

The commonalities came out during the visit of the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to New Delhi between August 16 and 18. He and his advisors met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, National Security Advisor MK Narayanan and the Chairperson of the ruling United Peoples' Alliance (UPA) Sonia Gandhi.

Both sides agreed that the peace process must be continued and the ceasefire maintained. Both saw an urgent need to address the immediate humanitarian and development needs of the war-ravaged North Eastern Province (NEP), so as to pave the way for the resumption of peace talks suspended since April 2003.

India, which has an abiding interest in the maintenance of the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka, and which lends support to democracy and pluralism, was happy to hear the UNP delegation saying that friendship with India was the "cornerstone" of the party's foreign policy. India also found the UNP's approach to its involvement in the peace process as being reasonable and practical. As Wickremesinghe's confidante, Milinda Moragoda, says: "India should do what it is comfortable with."

Wickremesinghe found in Dr Singh a kindred soul, as both believe in the importance of broad-based economic development in countering militancy and separatism. Both believe in creating a social, political and economic environment in which militancy and separatism cannot thrive. It was during Wickremesinghe's stewardship of the Sri Lankan government as Prime Minister between December 2001 and April 2004, that for the first time in decades, a serious attempt was made to develop the war-ravaged North East as a foundation for lasting peace.

Under the peace process, Wickremesinghe had jointly established with the LTTE, a sub-committee on the Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs (SIHRN) of the North East. This structure was to administer as many as 672 grass roots level development projects worth about $75 million. But unfortunately, the structure collapsed after a few months, when the LTTE complained that it lacked teeth and adequate autonomy, and boycotted its meetings, rendering it defunct. Wickremesinghe, however, was unfazed.

Interestingly, though its boycott led to the collapse of SIHRN, the LTTE has consistently stressed the need to address the "urgent humanitarian needs" and the "existential problems" of the Tamil people in the North East, to use the phrases popularised by the outfit's chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham.

The LTTE says that its proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) for the North Eastern Province, made in October-November 2003, and its efforts to get the Post-Tsunami Organisational Management Structure (P-TOMS) in 2005, rest on the desire to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the long-suffering Tamil people.

According to sources, the Indian leaders expressed concern about the "over internationalisation" of the Sri Lankan peace process. The Indians (the present Congress-led Government as well as the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Government) have been of the view that any solution to the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict will have to be a "home grown" one, developed through direct negotiations between the two parties, namely, the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE, and taking into account the basic tenets of democracy, pluralism and human, fundamental and individual rights.

New Delhi is said to be unhappy with the performance of the "co-chair" of the June 2003 Tokyo Aid Lanka conference. The co-chair (US, EU, Japan and Norway) have arrogated to themselves a role not assigned to them. They style themselves as the "international community" and strut about as the "co-chair of the Sri Lankan peace process". India feels that they have been pampering the LTTE a bit too much and have been ineffective.

But having brought the international community into the peace process, the UNP is committed to its presence in the process. The "co-chair" are its creation also. However, there is no doubt that the UNP will want the co-chair to be firm with the LTTE in case it became intransigent and crossed the limits. The UNP has now worked out a division of labour between Norway, the official facilitator of the peace process, and the co-chair. It wants Norway to be the "facilitator" and the co-chair to be a "pressure group".

It is learnt that the UNP wanted India to be part of this "pressure group". If India could not be part of the co-chair, the co-chair might device a system or mechanism to consult and co-opt India in its work, the UNP suggested. New Delhi was apparently willing to examine this suggestion.

For its own reasons, the LTTE too is wary about the international community. Earlier, it had sought the international community's participation in the peace process and is even now using it to the hilt to safeguard its interest vis--vis the Sri Lankan state. But there is an underlying fear that the international community may turn out to be a millstone around its neck, an instrument to force it to accept proposals antithetical to its political interests and goals. This is why the LTTE boycotted the June 2003 Tokyo Aid Lanka conference, which laid down the basic parameters of the Sri Lankan peace settlement.

When the Wickremesinghe Government put in place an "International Safety Net", Anton Balasingham had said that the peace process was "over internationalised" and that Wickremesinghe was using the "International Safety Net" to subjugate the LTTE and make it accept unacceptable conditions.

India is very keen that there is a bi-partisan Sri Lankan approach to the peace process. For long, there has been no consensus between President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the UNP. They let each other down at crucial moments and stymied attempts to resolve the ethnic question. What the UNP did to the SLFP's constitutional proposals in 2000, the SLFP did to the peace process in 2002-2004.

The Indians urged Wickremesinghe to work with Kumaratunga as she could play a key and useful role in the peace process. India is of the view that Kumaratunga is genuinely interested in establishing peace, democracy and ethnic equity in Sri Lanka and that her past actions testify to this.

UNP sources said that the party had proposals to co-opt Kumaratunga and reward her for her cooperation. And cooperation is already underway in some critical matters. The UNP extended to Kumaratunga full support for her proposal to establish P-TOMS, a Joint Mechanism involving the government and the LTTE to do post-tsunami reconstruction in the North East. More recently, after the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, the UNP extended support to Kumaratunga for her bid to continue with the peace process and maintain the ceasefire.

Of course, Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga are at loggerheads over the date for the next Presidential election. The former wants it in November 2005, while the latter wants it in November 2006. If elected President, Wickremesinghe plans to dissolve Parliament, thereby removing the minority SLFP-led government. But at the same time, the two have a vital common interest in keeping the belligerently Sinhala nationalist and ultra leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) out of the corridors of power.

Kumaratunga had contacted Wickremesinghe and made proposals for collaboration to keep the JVP at bay, but to no avail. And yet, hopes of collaboration are alive. Political sources say that a challenge from a new political quarter like the JVP and the Buddhist monks'party, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), may eventually force the two parties to collaborate.
Revisited:  Comment by tamilnation.org in  Sri Lanka: Taking Stock of L.T.T.E by Colonel (Retd) R. Hariharan, 29 July 2005

"The central plank of New Delhi's foreign policy is to deny any (independent) intermediary role to extra regional powers in the affairs of South Asia and also to encourage the emergence of a multi lateral world. On the other hand US foreign policy is directed to build on its current position as the sole surviving super power and secure a unipolar world for the foreseeable future. And this means preventing the rise of regional hegemons. . given the difference in the end goals that US and India have, it should not be surprising if  the policies of the United States and New Delhi in relation to  Sri Lanka and the LTTE are not always congruent... But that is not to say that the United States  will not cooperate with India. It will. It will seek to cooperate 'as a super power' - and the US believes that it has sufficient instruments in its armoury to do just that. One such instrument is the Norwegian sponsored Peace Process..."

 

 

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