Isha khan’s Weblog

Sinister designs on Sri Lanka
March 16, 2009, 1:00 pm
Filed under: India, Sri Lanka, SubContinent

Sinister designs on Sri Lanka

By Dimuth Gunawardena

“By attacking something your enemy holds dear he can be forced to surrender to your will”Art of War-Sun Tzu

Much has been said about the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore and the basic details are common knowledge. The “who” and “why” are not clear yet, but what is generally accepted is that there were serious security lapses on the part of Pakistan, especially in terms of security guarantees and undertaking given by the PCB prior to the tour.

Pakistan probably realises that such lapses only gives ammunition to its archrival India and of course the USA in whose interest (more than anyone else’s) it is to portray that country as being blown apart by terrorism.

Interestingly, and indeed commendably, neither Pakistan nor Sri Lanka engaged in any immature blame game like what happened in the aftermath of the 11/26 attack on Mumbai. Neither the Sri Lankan people nor the Sri Lankan media made a Bollywood spectacle of the Lahore attack. There was no mass hysteria. That’s a kind of political maturity that the Indian masses and mass media are yet to attain, one is forced to observe. Such a course of action would have only serves the interests of the terrorists. On the contrary, Sri Lanka, very responsibly condemned those in the world media baying for Pakistan’s blood in its hour of greatest need, even as carefully ‘placed’ video camera footage and stories planted in the press in foreign capitals sought to play into the hands of the terrorists.

To put ‘Mumbai’, ‘Lahore’ and of course, the countless such terrorist attacks that Sri Lanka has suffered at the hands of the LTTE in it’s proper context, an analysis of the Lahore attack in depth in a geo political sense is essential.

It is pertinent to note that 60-70 percent of the Afghan parliament is occupied by former mujahedin, ex-communists, drug-barons, and warlords who individually and collectively do their utmost to prevent the Central Government’s writ being established across the country. There are serious conflicts between Pashtuns and Non-Pashtuns, especially the Tajik population of the country. The Afghan National Army (ANA) is seriously short of manpower to the tune of an 80,000 troop inadequacy. The Afghan dilemma contains, as such, the reality of Indian ‘advisors’ and intelligence officers littered along the Pakistani border and ‘consulates’ functioning as intelligence gathering networks along the 2,560 km long Durand line border. The Indians and Americans have essentially ensured that Hamid Karzai is hapless with presidential elections declared in August (term expires in May). Development in Afghanistan is a non-starter.

Yet, instead of finding a viable exit strategy like in Iraq, the new American administration announced the induction of 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan even as it made noises about not winning the war in Afghanistan and talking of initiating talks with the Afghanistani Taliban.

This is how the West in general and the US in particular dismembers countries in the guise on waging its war on terror. India has lifted a page from that pernicious handbook, it seems.

To return to Pakistan, the Obama administration has announced an intention to increase the intensity of the drone bombings inside Pakistan and in the same breath, advocates talks with the Afghanistani Taliban.

The Zardari Government is certainly not doing itself any favours either. Depriving Nawaz Sharif of contesting elections or holding public office and sacking his popular brother Sheka Sharif (which probably led to the costly security lapses at Lahore), not restoring the independence of the judiciary as promised during the election campaign and remaining mum on the exposure by US Senator Dianne Feinstein that the US drones that bomb NWFP took off from Pakistani bases has strengthened the perception that the regime is made up of a bunch of pro-American agents. Given history, one cannot be blamed for wondering if the Pakistani military military is waiting for the usually nod of approval from the US embassy for yet another coup to restore the image of stability in Pakistan.

The Pakistani Government signed a peace accord in the Swat Valley region for the return of Shaira law. This lead to a hail of criticism in the western media, Is it not another face saving Bajaur type truce that the Americans so desire in Afghanistan to pull out its troops one needs to ask?

Elsewhere the Pakistani government is following the military option and it is useful to note that attacks between Pakistani security forces and terrorists have intensified in Nawagai and Mohamand regions since the 3/3 attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers.

Let’s remember that China will remain determined to be a part of the regional and of course major part of the global equation. The Gawadar Port (China’s biggest overseas construction undertaking) would give China direct access to the Indian Ocean. This is unacceptable to both the Indians and the Americans (India, because of its aspiration to be an up-and-coming blue water navy and dominate the region and the US, due to the given concerns about China’s close accessibility to the strategic Straits of Hormuz). “Terrorism in Pakistan” therefore is a subject that has to be included in such considerations.

Perhaps this is the reason why Basit-ul-Ullah Mahsud who was held in Guantanamo for 2-3 years has been attacking targets detrimental to Pakistan’s interest ever since he was released and subsequently disappeared in Pakistan. His first major action was to kidnap some Chinese engineers attached to the Gawadar project.

It is also pertinent to remember that a nuclear armed Iran and Pakistan pose a common strategic military threat to not only US/western interests in the region but also to Israel and India.

Slieg Harrison of the Centre of International Policy in Washington predicted the breakup of Pakistan into three sovereign states all along ethnic lines: Pashtunistan (comprising Pashtuns of North Western Frontier Provinces, NWFP, and Afghanistan as one country), Free Baluchistan (a federation comprising the Sindh and Baluchistan provincial regions) and Pakistan (comprising the nuclear armed Punjabi rump state), with Baluchistan being the high priority target for both Indians and Americans due to General Musharraf’s efforts to marginalise mischief making tribal leaders with the help of China.

General Aslam Beg, Pakistan’s former Army chief in an article about the “Strategic Partnership Deal” says that it led to the creation of a joint espionage network comprising CIA, Mossad, MI6 and RAW that is now engaged in destabilising Pakistan, Iran, China, Russia and other Central Asian States such as Tajikistan.

As part of this plan in the NWFP the main terrorist group called Pakistani Taliban is fighting a proxy war in the tribal belt. By engaging Pakistani Taliban and terrorist insurgents in Baluchistan, the Pakistani armed forces are stretched to its maximum limit and unable to concentrate on the Indo Pakistani border or on Kashmir terrorists.

As Rahman Malik (special advisor to Zadari) clearly pointed out that theydo not rule out the possibility of a foreign hand in the cricketer’s incident.

Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalisation in his article “The Destabilisation of Pakistan” says (unashamedly) “Washington’s foreign policy course is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanisation of Pakistan as a nation”. He goes on to say “The course consists of fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial break up of Pakistan”. Familiar? Yes, it is not too different to the American/Indian policy preferences with respect to Sri Lanka and quite similar to the ‘proposal’ to devolve power in areas freed from terrorism.

If a hostage take over was the terrorist objective then wouldn’t one or two dead bodies of cricketers’ executed by them have had the desired impact on Colombo and have forced a ceasefire to pacify an outraged Sri Lankan population?

According to reports in newspapers like the Hindu and Times of India, India had told the Sri Lankans not to go to Pakistan, but Sri Lankans outrageously defied that Indian “order”. Perhaps Sri Lanka needed to be taught a lesson in obedience. Indian rulers were not too pleased at all. They expressed their displeasure to Colombo in no uncertain terms. The effectiveness of their boycott of Pakistan was being neutralised by Sri Lanka. The Times of India was bold enough to say “India is not happy with Sri Lanka’s cricket tour to Pakistan”. The Sunday Times opined that Ranatunge’s decision to tour Pakistan “had irked the Indian authorities” and reported that the matter had been discussed at the highest levels in Colombo. To appease the Indians, Ranatunge and his administration had to be fired and the Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge said “the tour had become a diplomatic issue”.

It is always pertinent to examine whether the diplomatic closeness between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and it’s perceived strategic threat on the interests of other nations could have been the main factor for the targeting of the cricket team.

RAW has been structured and designed to primarily serve the imperial and expansionist needs and more than the national security needs of India. It has a Special Ops Division in all SAARC countries with a large network of local agents specialising in assassinations, sabotage and raids and paramilitary style operations. Propaganda and deception are integral elements of the overall RAW modus operandi. Covert operations and fuelling clandestine warfare in neighbouring countries is another area of RAW specialisation.

It must be noted at this point that the Daily Mirror newspaper in Sri Lanka reported how the RAW is supporting cross border terrorist groups such as the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) to separate the largest province from Pakistan.

The Indian media was quick to point a finger at Lashkar-e-Taibar (LeT) and its front organisations such as the Lashar-e-Jhanvi (LeJ) and attempted to establish a close link between these groups and the LTTE. However the LeT spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi was quick to deny involvement in the attack. He rejected media reports of their involvement in the attack and said “The attack on Sri Lanka’s team was an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty and Kashimiris could never think of that”. He went on to accuse the Indian agencies of trying to defame Pakistan and to bring instability to the region. Imran Khan speaking to Times/UK opined that the Lahore attack was not perpetrated by ideological terrorists. He argued that there was a pattern in such attacks and that in his view a “foreign element” was almost certainly involved.

Indian intelligence sources have also gone to great lengths to establish a connection between the Marakat-ul Mujahideen (MuM) and the LTTE. They have said that the former leader of the LTTE “Mahattaya” was killed by the LTTE due to his connections with the RAW (result of RAW efforts to indoctrinate Sri Lankan Tamil prisoners, which backfired). Some analysts like Ram Madhav have even argued LTTE was equipping Indian terror outfits like the Maoists and the United Liberation Front (ULF) of Assam.

It is also a well known fact that RAW operations in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are mostly about Human Intelligence (HUMINT) unlike those of the CIA, SIS and MI6, whose Intelligence gathering forte are in areas of Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Sophisticated Signal Intelligence (SIGINT), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) etc. HUMINT is a very difficult and sometimes costly affair for any intelligence agency such as RAW and they often resort to financing outside of the normally allotted governmental finances. With a total budget of appx. Rs. 2,500 crore it is well known that RAW has had to resort to drug smuggling from India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan using Sri Lanka as a transit point to finance certain special operations. It had close connections not only with the LTTE but Pakistani terror groups from the times of the Mujahedeen/Jihadist operations against the Soviet Union.

It is also worth pointing out that 70 % of the funding requirements of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan come from the opium trade.

One must also look at cases like Massood Az Har of Jaish-E- Muhammad who was being held without charges by India and was subsequently released following a deal done in a hijacking drama. He has since been targeting subjects detrimental to Pakistani interests. It would be interesting to see where the strings that control Muhammad Aqil who is one of the prime suspects on the attack of the cricketers will lead to.

On the other hand some analysts had concluded that the attack on the cricketers may have been precipitated due to the fact that Sri Lanka now represents a success story in ” Miitarily defeating terrorism”. They also say this was a danger to the Taliban’s ambition of acquiring conventional military capability in the Fata region.

There is one contradiction in all this however, after yesterday’s bomb attack in Matara, RAW agents such as Hariharan says “with the LTTE, there is no love lost for Muslims”. How true they chased out and ethnically cleansed the entire Northern Province of Muslims numbering more than 100,000 within 48 hours. Some of those subsequently worked with the Sri Lanka Army intelligence.

These all remain in the realm of ‘machinations’ at this point and nothing conclusive can be said. It is heartening that in spite of all the pressure Pakistan has quite correctly maintained a tight lid until the investigations are complete. One can only hope for all concerned that these investigations are swiftly concluded and the culprits are punished for their crimes.

Meanwhile Chidambaram has been making some “queer and ludicrous” statements before and after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team: “the ISI were training Tamil armed group in the North and East of Sri Lanka and sending them as refugees to Tamil Nadu to ferment terrorism”. “The ISI can infiltrate India through Sri Lanka” he said, adding that “cricket is safe in India, but security forces are required to make it more secure”.

The RAW analyst Raman in his attempts to whitewash his organisation’s involvement in cross border terrorism made the most hilarious statements of all in his assertions “That ISI had links with the LTTE since 1990” so it was all the ISI and not the RAW ?

Whoever was responsible for attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team succeeded in achieving a multitude of objectives, some of which are given below:

– Pakistan is a country in anarchy; Pakistan should not only be isolated in sports but also no foreigners should visit the country.

– The weakening economy will be further destroyed with no foreign investments or lending forthcoming, creating both political and economic instability.

– This will increase Pakistan’s foreign debt significantly.

– It was clearly a signal to Sri Lanka not to get too cosy with Pakistan after the end of it’s conflict.

All this points to a singular design on Sri Lanka: push the island nation into a ceasefire situation that benefits no one but India.

Perhaps India’s has it’s own reasons to demand that Sri Lanka gets directly involved in the investigation into the attack.

India has not exactly been Sri Lanka’s friend. Pre-1987, India actively trained terrorists. Later, India played only lip service to Sri Lanka by giving the usual training, some naval intelligence information and obsolete 2D radar (to block the supply of 3D radar being purchased from China which proved to be a costly error in the early days of the LTTE air raids).

They have once again violated Sri Lankan sovereignty and independence by landing Indian forces (or some say those RAW agents with “stethoscopes round their necks” or as “betel-chewing nurses in white uniforms”) to take control of Pulmoddai under the false guise of setting up a field hospital to treat the injured civilians and who knows, perhaps even terrorists. We note, with grave concern that these so called ‘doctors’, have effectively taken control of Sri Lanka’s most valuable mineral resources. Already the South Block defence and external affairs officials are working on several plans to increase the number of these so-called “military medical teams”. It is said India hopes to force Sri Lanka to expand these unwelcome military teams to cover other areas such as road building, de-mining etc. India seems to have put a foot into a situation that will see a number of other foreign forces landing on Sri Lankan soil on India’s back on the pretext of ‘assisting Sri Lanka’.

Are we seeing the first moves in a concerted “American-Indian” led invasion of Sri Lanka on the pretext of ‘evacuating’ that magic number of “quarter of a million civilians” that the LTTE and it’s propagandists claim are trapped in the Wanni. The many visits by officials of PACOM (US Pacific Command) could not have been just to sample arrack and papadam, one notes.

Robert Kaplan writing to the latest issue of the American Foreign Affairs journal says “we will have to do so not as in Afghanistan and Iraq as a land-based, in-your- face meddler …but as a sea based balancer lurking just over the horizon”. Sea power has always been less threatening than land power; as the cliché goes navies make port visits and armies invade.

So once again just like in 1987 the Indian army and US Navy are poised to invade Sri Lanka and save the day for the terrorists. We note, again with concern and a keen consciousness of history, that several other countries such as the UK, France, Switzerland, have also “offered assistance” to this invasion force.

They are also encircling the naval dockyard from the North and the South (where you find Indian military personal operating from NIOC facilities in Trincomalee) and are now able to have a stranglehold grip on the Trincomalee port. This was the identical strategy the RAW must have advocated to the LTTE when they too encircled the naval dockyard from the South and brought their artillery guns within range of the base and the fleet, targeting thus the lifeline of all economic activity of the North and the East. This is probably what Clinton and Menon discussed for 45 minutes on Monday. Is this what they call “US-India counter-terrorism collaboration”?

The conventional Indian body politic has begun threatening Sri Lanka by crying for Sri Lanka’s blood in mass hysteria just like they did for Pakistani blood after the Mumbai attack.

India has offered the Northern and Eastern provinces massive development assistance. It is also useful to take note of the the Indian demand to develop the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the Indian High Commissioner’s attempts to bypass the Central Government and assist the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council.

According to Pillyan it was not the LTTE that shot his private secretary, who happened to be awell known RAW operative. Pilliyan has had meetings with the Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad and the officials of the PACOM. It is quite possible that he is the Sun-God-in-Waiting that India is nurturing for the next 3 decades!

Indian bids to develop and control the KKS cement plant, control Sri Lanka’s energy though NIOC and oil exploration of the Gulf of Mannar and control of Sri Lanka’s power sectors by the marine cable power line and the two coal power plants in Trincomalee have to be viewed as the regional version of the Trojan Horse.

India will no doubt do it’s all to fleece and wheedle out from the people of the north and the east if not the whole of Sri Lanka dry and of all its resources before creating another terrorist monster like the LTTE to deflect the focus of its Tamil Nadu parasitic separatist militancy in order to maintain its own union. India will never give anything of substance back to Sri Lanka without an ulterior motive that benefits her.

Like that what has happened in Pakistan, the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims of Sri Lanka will once again end up killing each other for another 100 years in order to keep “Mother India” intact. When all the election rhetoric is over, the flames of separatism in South India will have to be doused, what better way to do so than with the time tested method of deflecting it towards Sri Lanka in the form of a LTTE-2.

Sri Lanka must never again allow the ugly head of another RAW sponsored terrorism to raise its head. It has cost Sri Lanka enough. She has bled for far too long. The LTTE surrendees or the common man in the north or the east today have no interest in the devolution of power to break up Sri Lanka like in the case of Pakistan or anything else that the India/USA/NGO-Mafia, the LTTE apologists or those “Colombians” pandering to foreigners are trying push down the throats of Sri Lanka.

It is these very same forces that had not too long ago convinced the Sri Lankan population that LTTE terrorists were an invincible military force which could never be defeated, that India would never allow it to be defeated, and therefore this country was asked to negotiate with these terrorists and separate the country on mono ethnic lines to appease the terrorists.

In a post conflict Sri Lanka her citizenry should always remember who helped her to defeat the most powerful terrorist group in the world, and on the other hand which were the forces that bullied her to act against her self-interest. Who was the friend in need who shipped arms to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces on a mere phone call, or who helped her armed forces in their most critical hours? Who, on the other hand, refused to provide necessary weapons citing various excuses but always tried to exercise control both strategically and economically for their own selfish reasons.

Apart from extending “real” help to Sri Lanka to free her land from the Indian-Made, West-Supported LTTE terrorism” China also remains the 2nd biggest aid provider in real terms. Countries like China and Japan have offered help without strings attached, unlike the western donors (USA, UK, EU, Norway). The USA, EU, and India, who give a pittance to Sri Lanka and never fail to bully, intimidate, and pressurise Sri Lanka on various issues to subscribe to their agendas. The hostility of US Ambassadors (Schafter, Lumstead and now Blake) towards the Sri Lankan state constitute a good case in point. Countries like China, Japan, and Russia help Sri Lanka when the west tries getting Sri Lanka on to the agenda of the UN Security Council.

Taking all this into consideration, perhaps the time has come for countries like Pakistan and Iran too, to learn a lesson or two from the bitter Sri Lankan experiences with the USA/EU and their India to save their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

The new world order is changing rapidly, Obama or no Obama,

The recent developments in India and particularly in Tamil Nadu should hold valuable lessons for Sri Lanka. It clearly shows that in a post conflict Sri Lanka, it is essential to build very fruitful mutually beneficial stronger bilateral relationships with countries such as China, Russia, Iran, and Pakistan. These relationships should go beyond the traditional areas of trade, cultural, and economic, cooperation to extend to cooperation in areas such as military, power generation, communications and other strategic areas as well. Strong bilateral “all weather” relationships with these countries is an essential prerequisite for the peaceful survival, stability, and growth of Sri Lanka.

It is obvious that Sri Lanka has little choice due to the sinister designs of India and USA.


LTTE, Sri Lanka and struggle for controlling Indian Ocean
February 4, 2009, 11:38 am
Filed under: India, Sri Lanka

LTTE, Sri Lanka and struggle for controlling Indian Ocean

By Farzana Shah
Finally LTTE got routed out when Sri Lankan army ran over its last bastion and main operation center, Mullaittivu bringing an end to their decade-long domination of the country’s North. The Sri Lankan army commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said the 25-year-old bloody ethnic separatist war was 95 percent over. It is a big reason for Sri Lankans to be jubilant specially when they are about to celebrate their Independence Day on February 4th but on the other hand the restlessness of India over this new development can be well understood primarily due to her own internal equation of ethnic politics.
Under pressure from Tamil political parties the Indian government last week officially expressed concern over plight of Tamil population and operation against LTTE militants.
Political parties from Tamil Nadu have already started pressurizing Indian government to press Sri Lanka for halting operation against LTTE militants.On Saturday (January 31st) Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu under the banner of ¡Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement (STPM)¢ called for massive protest in the state on February 4th.
The STMP includes all pro-LTTE characters including P. Nedumaran, MDMK Chief Vaiko, PMK¢s founder-leader, Dr. S. Ramadoss, Pandian of the Communist Party f India , Thol Thirumavalavan of Viduthalai Chiruthai Kadchchi , D. Rajah of CPI, whereas BJP has also joined the protest.
To understand the concerns of India, struggle for control of Indian Ocean, presence of US and the new big game we need to recall the historical events intertwined with the strategic location of Sri Lanka. Background/ strategic importance of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has always been a strategic place as far as the subcontinent goes and the sub continent has both mythological as well as historical relations with the place which was very much part of the subcontinent. But in the history which we are living today it is strategic importance that matters and Sri Lanka is strategically poised since it is right in the middle of Indian ocean and the complete potential of maritime possibilities and probabilities have not yet been exploited by the world that is changing every second.
 Tamil/Sinahlese problem again is historical and India took the lead to exploit it for making sure that strategic gains were her but it did not happen the way India wanted it to happen and a hasty retreat had to be the option but India had created a monster in form of LTTE.
Strategic importance of Indian Ocean:
“Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia. This ocean is the key to the seven seas in the twenty-first century, the destiny of the world will be decided in these waters,” said US Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan more than a century ago.
The Indian Ocean covering 2,850,000 sq miles is the third largest in the world with several important islands and about 47 countries around.It has Indian subcontinent in the North; Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia in the East; Antartica in the South; and East Africa in the West.
The Indian Ocean covering Red Sea moves towards Suez Canal, and oil-rich Gulf, the Cape of Good Hope and the Strait of Malacca, which is a major sea route between the West and the Far East. In the South of Indian Ocean we have Diego Garcia where US has naval and air base..
China has a base in the Coco Island which is near Myanmar and India is already there with its Navy covering about 1200 miles. We can also see Andaman Islands, Maldives, Madagascar and Gwadar in Pakistan and Kawar, the first naval base of India. It clearly shows the presence of world and some emerging powers in the Indian Ocean. Besides Indian Ocean is a critical waterway with heavy trafficking.
Indian Intervention and rise of LTTE
Besides strategically poised in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is ideally located to hit at Southern India. USA has air and naval bases in the Indian Ocean, India wanted to be present in Sri Lanka and with a considerable Tamil speaking population there in the island (which is also called as the emerald island) India took the first step but in retrospective it was a half measure. The aim was to stop USA having an influence in the Indian Ocean but the methodology and strategy used by India was wrong. In a nut shell it backed the wrong horse LTTE!
Many powers centuries back had tried to keep Indian Ocean under their tab. India right from the 1954 started showing interests in the Indian Ocean especially when the US started gaining firm strategic footing around Sri Lanka. India feared US control over Trincomalee which in other words was a sure uncontrollable damage to Indian interests in case US had control over airstrips and naval power. Besides worrying over US Diago Garcia base in Indian Ocean, India was also alarmed when US announced to move aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to Bay of Bengal in support for Pakistan during 71 war.
It was after that India started thinking on formation of terrorist organization LTTE. Formed in 1976 LTTE began its armed conflict with the Sri Lankan government in 1983 and relies on a guerrilla warfare strategy that includes the use of terrorist tactics. After the 1983 riots India started supporting the Tamil militants and in 1987 it had come up with another idea to have a role in Sri Lanka which could give India leverage for having strategic hold in the Indian Ocean.
India signed an accord with Sri Lanka in July 1987 for deploying Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). Though apparently the aim was to find a solution to the Tamil ethnic/separatist problem but it was clearly a strategic move by India.
Indian duplicity in dealing with the LTTE
Though after signing the accord India had sent its forces for peace keeping in Sri Lanka but unfortunately Indian soldiers end up sacrificing their lives for deceptive game of their government, not knowing that it was their own government that was sacrificing the innocent soldiers for political mileage. It was reported by media that even when Indian soldiers were fighting LTTE, India was facilitating LTTE terrorists. Tamil Nadu was facilitating LTTE cadres for reinforcement and regrouping.
In 1997 a report appearing in Indian Express said “Soldiers are the only innocents in politics. So it seems from the tale of a distraught father looking for his Army-officer son, evacuated with a head wound. The father walked into a hospital room only to be told by the nurse that, “These four injured are cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and your son is in the next room”.
This was in November 1987, the injured Army officer served in the Indian Peace Keeping Force, and the mistaken hospital room was in Chennai, India! In the truest sense of non-alignment, the Government of India and its state government in Tamil Nadu were simultaneously treating the LTTE cadres injured by the IPKF; and the IPKF personnel injured by the LTTE.
Manvendra Singh wrote in the report “Even while Indian soldiers were dying in the jungles of north and eastern Sri Lanka, New Delhi was still engaging the LTTE in talks, and Chennai was allowing the militants to rest, recoup and refit in Tamil Nadu. And some intelligence agents were ambushed in the company of LTTE by the IPKF, unaware that New Delhi’s operatives were even there and, above all, moving with the militants. He further accused RAW of orchestrating ambushes against Sri Lankan Army which even the IPKF was unaware of.”
 Manvendra Sing claimed in his report.
“Similarly, the intelligence agencies even organised an ambush in Amparai by the Indian-raised Tamil National Army on a Sri Lankan Army brigade commander without the knowledge of the IPKF leadership. There is even the case of detailed maps made available to the intelligence agencies, but locked away in dusty cupboards, while the IPKF casualties mounted because of insufficient information.
While a senior intelligence official was arrested for passing information to a Western country, officials closely involved with the crisis declared unequivocally that each agency was pursuing its own agenda in Sri Lanka and each kept the government informed, but only from its parochial perspective”,
It was also reported that in clear disregard for sacrifices of Indian soldier during fighting with LTTE, Indian government was still engage in talks with LTTE. During the same period Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi held a meeting with a senior LTTE leader Kasi Anandan at his 10 Janpath residence.
Why India provides radars to Sri Lanka instead of weapons?
In the past whenever Sri Lanka asked India for sale of weapons to fight LTTE, India refused to sell necessary military hardware terming it offensive weapons. However India did provide radars and technical assistance to Sri Lanka.When two Indian radar operators were injured in air strikes by LTTE planes on Sri Lankan Air Force base in Vavuniya, Indians were boasting about their role in fight against LTTE however they never elaborated actual reasons for Indian assistance with regard to radars operation.
There are few reasons for Indian assistance:
1. Safeguarding airspace of Tamil Nadu against any air-strike by LTTE is of paramount importance because of India’s fast-breeder reactor complex at Kalpakam near Chennai, the Russian-aided Koodankulam nuclear power reactor complex in southern Tamil Nadu and India’s space establishments in Kerala.
2. To block sale of Chinese radars to Sri Lanka because in case of Indian refusal Sri Lanka will procure these from China and the later will provide technical assistance as well which India fears will expose her to direct Chinese monitoring specially of its South coast.
India caught between the devil and the sea
It is believed that South India plays a major part in economic boom of India besides role being played by hardliners from Tamil Nadu in the Indian political equation gives immense weight to South India. For the last many years no political party has been able to get a parliamentary majority to form the single party government; Congress as well as BJP had been in government in coalition with regional political parties from Tamil Nadu. Hence Tamil political parties are becoming like lifesaving drugs for these two major political parties. These regional Tamil politicians have been supporting LTTE and its agenda since long and had been pressurising successive Indian governments not to provide necessary weapons to Sri Lanka.
If India provides such weapons it fears to face widespread protests from Tamils in South and in that case the ruling party is going to lose support from Tamil political parties. Besides it would be difficult for Indian central government to keep a tab on Tamil separatism within India. The scariest scenario for India would be uncontrollable suicide bombing in case if LTTE turns its screws on India considering its Southern part as potential separate homeland for Tamil nation.
On one hand it is question of safeguarding Indian integration while on the other stopping other countries especially Pakistan and China from getting influence in Sri Lanka. If India sides with Sri Lanka against LTTE or if it doesn¢t in both the cases India seems to be landing in the troubled waters.
Pakistan¢s Role
The solid assurance by Pakistan about two months back pledging to send one shipload of the wherewithal every 10 days in coming months for bolster Sri Lankan efforts against LTTE prompted Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to publicly state that Kilinochchi, the headquarters of the LTTE, would be liberated by the end of December, 2008.
On January 19 in a meeting between Pakistani Defence Secretary Lt Gen (retired) Syed Athar Ali and his visiting Sri Lankan counterpart Gotabhaya Rajapakse in Rawalpindi, the two countries agreed to enhance cooperation in military training, exercises and intelligence sharing regarding terrorism. According to some unconfirmed reports pilots from Pakistan air force participated in air strikes against bases of Tamil Tigers in August 2008, besides Pakistan has been providing advance weapons to Sri Lanka for fighting LTTE at a time when India refused to help.
It is not the first time that Pakistan is helping Sri Lanka militarily to fight LTTE terrorists. Back in year 2000 when LTTE offensive code-named Operation Oyatha Alaikal (Operation Ceaseless Waves) overran Sri Lankan military positions in the north and captured the Elephant Pass Base and entered Jaffna; it was feared that LTTE would run down thousands of Sri Lankan troops stationed in Jaffna, Sri Lanka sought MBRLs from Pakistan. According to Jane’s Intelligence Digest, weapons and ammunition, including artillery shells and multi-barrel rocket launchers, were airlifted in an emergency operation from Karachi to Colombo in May.
In 2006 as well Sri Lanka sought multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs) and other advanced weapons from Pakistan when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Pakistan in March-April 2006 along with an 80-member delegation that included military officials. India was never happy with Sri Lanka over purchase of weapons from Pakistan.
New players: China, Iran and Saudi Arabia:
The vacuum created by absence of active Indian support to Sri Lanka against LTTE is being filled by new players including China, Iran and Saudi Arabia which again is a great cause of concern for India other than worrying about Pak-Sri Lanka military ties.
China has also been supplying necessary arms and weapons to Sri Lanka to fight the war against the Tamil Tigers. According to recent reports “Sri Lanka has signed a US $ 37.6 million deal with the Beijing-based Poly Technologies for a wide variety of arms, ammunition, mortars and bombs. Sri Lanka is also getting some Chinese Jian-7 fighters, JY 11-3D air surveillance radars, armoured personnel carriers, T-56 assault rifles, machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and missiles.”
Besides China is also constructing a modern port at Hambantota in the south with an estimated cost of one billion US dollars which will be completed in 15 years. The port work on which was started in 2007 can be converted into a naval base in future..
Recently Iran has also agreed to provide assistance to Sri Lanka including training a team of Sri Lankan army and intelligence officers in Iran, besides providing low-interest loan to enable it to purchase defence-related equipment from China and Pakistan. Iran will also invest US $ 1.5 billion in energy-related projects in Sri Lanka. Similarly Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka recently have agreed to cooperate in areas of mutual interests in the field of oil supply, exploration and investments.
US interests:
Keeping in view long term strategic interests in the region US had already made its presence felt with constructing Air Force base on Diego Garcia, a coral atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean, a submarine base and a Navy harbor for propositioning equipment and supplies, in 21 fully-loaded ships at moorings, and in warehouses, for U.S. military operations in the Arabian Gulf, the Middle East, South Asia, and East Africa.
Diego Garcia is the permanent US outpost nearest the subcontinent as it lies approximately 2500 nautical miles from Islamabad. The base is approximately the same distance from Kashmir and 2200 nautical miles from New Delhi.The presence of American intelligence agencies in Sri Lanka since decades is to monitor US interests viz a viz developments taking place in the neighboring countries around India Ocean also is not a secret.
The central position of the island between the Straits of Malacca and Hormuz further gives reasons for US interests in Sri Lanka besides it eyes Trincomalee harbour. Since centuries Trincomalee harbour has been a central strategic point for many powers right from Portuguese, Dutch to Britishers. The harbour has played a significant role in WWII.
The presence of all these important countries gives Sri Lanka geo-political importance keeping in view the bigger game for power in the Indian Ocean.In this scheme of things India seems to be at the receiving end although the recent warming up of its relations with US might have decreased concerns about US influence in Sri Lanka which India always considered a threat to her in the past. But given the history of US relations with its allies especially Pakistan in the region, Americans are not considered reliable. Above all US doesn¢t tolerate potential regional powers that challenge or tend to challenge her hegemony in the future and undercut critical US strategic interests in Asia and India is no exception as well.
Farzana Shah is a Pakistani journalist based at Peshawar.

India’s Sri Lanka role
August 8, 2008, 10:23 am
Filed under: India, Sri Lanka

India’s Sri Lanka role: Then and now 

By Janaka Perera in Colombo
 Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe’s remarks over Isira Radio Channel this week on India and his reminiscences of the events of July 1987 seems to have highly disturbed some quarters.
Copies of the Tamil Nadu Tamil publication Ananda Vikatan (that conducted a survey claiming that over half the TN population is pro-LTTE) have surreptitiously found their way into Sea Street, Pettah, according to Samarasinghe. The issue he says carries a huge photo of Prabhakaran and runs an interview with Tiger ‘Peace Secretariat’ Chief Nadesan where he has the audacity to say that the Sri Lanka Government should listen to the LTTE since it is they who represent the Tamil people!
Samarasinghe has termed in Sinhala the interview as a ‘Vigadama’ (joke) of the Vikatan.
He said it was intriguing to know how this anti-Sri Lankan journal was smuggled into Sri Lanka. Both he and TNL Chairman Shan Wickremesinghe expressed the possibility that the magazine may have been smuggled in CD format and printed in Colombo.
Those who are displeased over Samarasinghe’s so-called tactless remarks forget that it is India’s failure to tame Tamil Nadu’s rabble rousers and pro-LTTE elements (some of who assaulted Sri Lanka film Director Thushara Peiris in Chennai) that evoked his comments. India’s mixed signals on the national crisis here during the past decade have made it impossible for the majority of Sri Lankans to have any confidence in Delhi unless it gives unconditional and unstinted support to GOSL to suppress the Tigers which are an Indian creation in the first place.
As Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal wrote in the Asian Tribune of April 18, India is a nation of contradictions not only in words and deeds, but in reality and propaganda. It is indeed an unfortunate development for both Sri Lanka and India that the latter has failed to win the confidence of the Sinhala majority because of its lopsided foreign policy. In this context and in view of the suspicions that the JVP, JHU and others have raised over Sri Lanka-India commercial agreements it is worth recalling what the late Minister Ranjan Wijeratne said shortly after the Indian Peace Keeping Force left the shores of Sri Lanka in early 1990.
He made his observations during an interview with the Sinhala monthly Kalpana (May 1990) that was then edited by former Lankadeepa Journalist Nandasiri de Alwis. The minister was asked for his comments on the Indian Deputy High Commissioner’s claim that the IPKF had accomplished the task of protecting Sri Lanka unity and territorial integrity.
Said Wijeratne, “Two and a half years after their arrival the IPKF a large number of their troops died. An equal number was injured. The Indian Government spent around 1050 billion US dollars. We have to accept these. The IPKF came here to disarm young Sri Lankan militants. But what they did was to give back their weapons to them before leaving Sri Lanka. The occurrence of clashes between the LTTE and the EPRLF is a result of the Indian Army’s presence. In fact we can say that the Indian Army made a mess of it. Instead of taking back the surrendered weapons with them they gave them to people here.”
It is however and irony that the very Tamils who welcomed Indian troops and jeered at the Sri Lanka Army when it was being confined to barracks under the Indo-Lanka Accord, had to suffer at the hands of the IPKF when the Tamil people’s so-called sole representatives and ‘liberators’ turned their guns against the foreign army.
Four years after Sri Lankan sailor Vijitha Rohana attempted with his rifle to attack Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in seething anger over the accord, the same PM had to die at the hands of the LTTE to which his mother Indira had given arms and training. Now her grand daughter Priyanka visits Nalini, one of the conspirators in her father assassination as election year is round the corner. And some Tamil Nadu politicians (and perhaps Priyanka too) think that Nalini should be pardoned.
This is Indian politics. And we smaller nations are expected to have faith in them. The next blow from India to Sri Lanka will come in the form of dredging the Sethu Samudra. It will not only cause serious environmental damage but also deprive Sri Lanka of many trade benefits and cause serious economic losses since foreign ships that are calling today at Colombo will instead call over at Indian Ports.

Posted by Isha Khan,