This refers to the reports “Suspense still on PM’s visit to Colombo” and “Manmohan, Sonia to take a call” (Nov. 8). As long as Sri Lanka continues to maintain aggressive steps over its Tamil minority citizens and doesn’t take meaningful action against those who committed unspeakable atrocities against the Tamils, it would not be right for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the CHOGM in Sri Lanka. The opposition to his going to Colombo within India cannot be brushed aside.
It is amusing to see the BJP, which loses no opportunity to demand the severing of all relations with Pakistan whenever there is any act of terrorism or a border incident, now wanting Dr. Singh to attend the meet. Why this double standard?
Baikadi Suryanarayana Rao,
India’s foreign policy has never been framed by us. Rather, it has always been in reaction to the moves and actions of Pakistan and China. India is acknowledged as an emerging superpower. I wonder how a country that never seems to display a spine can ever become a superpower. A nation that dances to the tunes of tiny nations around it is only making a mockery of its own status.
If Dr. Singh can boldly reprimand Sri Lanka for human rights violations he can attend CHOGM. Otherwise, history will remember him as the one who let down his own people for the sake of pleasing a neighbour.
Indian participation in CHOGM has become a debatable issue. The best option for India would be for Dr. Singh not to go and instead let a senior Minister attend it.
The second option would be for Dr. Singh to travel there and openly assert India’s concerns, while impressing upon Sri Lanka the need to implement the 13th Amendment, as suggested by the BJP. India must also take the cue from Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s line that the CHOGM could be an opportunity for countries to convince Sri Lanka to adopt the path of reconciliation.
Madan Menon Thottasseri,
This refers to letter writer Mr. S.P. Sharma (Nov. 8) who has said, “We should also remember that Tamilians have migrated to other parts of the world and obey the law of the land there.” This reflects a widely prevalent misconception about the Sri Lankan Tamils and their problems. The Sri Lankan Tamils (Eelam Tamils) are natives of Sri Lanka whose history dates back to Third Century BCE, constituting about 12.7 per cent (1987 figure) of the island’s population.
They should not be confused with the much smaller group of descendants of the migrant Indian Tamils who were brought as bonded labour by the British in the 19th century to work in the tea estates, and other Indians who came there subsequently in search of a livelihood.
The Sri Lankan Tamils are a section of native citizens, being a linguistic, cultural and religious (Hindu) minority, who have been discriminated against and denied their due rights by the Sinhalese, mostly Buddhist, majority of Sri Lanka. The LTTE was fighting for the right cause using the wrong means.
India went to Sri Lanka assuming the pious role of a mediator in its internal conflict, and unwisely got itself entangled in its civil war. At one stage, the Indian Peace Keeping Force virtually became a third warring group in the conflict. At the end of the day, it seems that India has lost heavily: militarily, diplomatically and politically. Today, India’s status in the scenario is unenviable and it has been pushed into a situation of extreme dilemma both internally and externally. The fact of the matter is that Sri Lankan diplomacy stands superior to ours and, as usual, India has emerged miserably snubbed. In this context, Dr. Singh’s call for a rethink on Indian foreign policy gains significance.