The question is with the Prime Minister not attending CHOGM, will India be alleviating the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils? Will we further lose the opportunity to give Tamils a dignified life? Moreover, it is not an internal meeting of Sri Lanka but an international summit where Sri Lanka is just a venue. India should have understood this.
Sri Lanka is a small nation compared with India. What will happen if there are fissures in ties with Colombo? Human rights violations in Sri Lanka are well known. Indian should have taken the opportunity to firmly tell Sri Lanka that it is time it made a difference to the lives of Tamils. It is only the lack of political will and indecisiveness that has led to India losing ground. India needs a bold leader who can demonstrate the vision it displayed in 1971. It can do this without being antagonistic or a bully.
The government of India’s full page advertisement titled “India’s assistance to Sri Lankan Tamils” (some editions, Nov.9) was interesting. It is heartening to note that between 2005 and 2015 (commitment) or 10 years, assistance will total Rs.2000 crore, a per capita of Rs.2000 for an estimated population of one million Sri Lankan Tamils. Sri Lanka is not a poor country. Its HDI is high at 93 compared to India’s 136th rank (2012) and literacy is 90 per cent as against India’s 65. One can also use this as an opportunity to question Sri Lanka’s contribution. One only hopes that the viable tea and plantation industry of Sri Lanka is used to rehabilitate the Tamils. Of the Rs.2,000 crore funding, Rs.1,350 crore is the commitment for the period 2013-2015. Given this fact, the Prime Minister should have attended the meet and spelt out India’s vision. It is also hoped that Sri Lanka remembers that, in Nehru’s era, more than 5,00,000 stateless people were repatriated to India.