Opposition to an Indian presence at the forthcoming CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka from within the Congress-led UPA government (Nov. 7) — by two senior Union ministers and two Ministers of State — only goes to show that all is not well within the ruling establishment. It is clearly a case of parochialism and vote-bank politics. While it is necessary to bring about a change in India’s foreign policy, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rightly pointed out, the Congress’s vote-bank politics seems to be backfiring on itself.
Vuppu Raghavendara Rao,
I believe that India should stay away. I am not saying this because I am a Tamilian but because India has a long history of standing up for human rights. Even recently when the U.S. decided to bomb Syria, India was one of the few countries to oppose such a move. The war against the LTTE was nothing short of genocide though that country may deny it and India may shamelessly support it. Let us not be carried away by the opportunistic views of Tamil Nadu’s politicians. Instead, let it be viewed in a humanitarian way. The film clip released by Channel 4 recently that depicts the brutal killing of a woman only exposes Sri Lanka’s attempts at cover-up. Be it Syria, Palestine or Somalia, we must acknowledge the sufferings of the common people. The same yardstick applies to the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Staying away from the meet will not isolate India.
T. Anand Raj,
The hue and cry being raised over India’s attendance is both unnecessary and unwanted. Let us remember that no country in the world wants to be divided. Therefore, Sri Lanka is fully justified in making any move to ensure its territorial integrity. We should also remember that Tamilians have migrated to other parts of the world and obey the law of the land there.
Dr. Singh’s absence will not only be a blow to bilateral relations with the island nation but will also weaken an Indian hold over the strategically important Indian Ocean Rim region. After experiencing the after-effects of soured ties with Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and the Maldives, India can ill-afford another round, this time with Sri Lanka.
Instead, India needs to step up its involvement in Sri Lanka to ensure the rehabilitation of Tamils. This is a golden opportunity we must not lose.
Dr. Singh must go to Colombo. Political parties in Tamil Nadu including leaders in the Congress are only looking at the issue emotionally. India cannot afford to invite trouble by isolating Sri Lanka for waging a war against a terrorist organisation that was proscribed in several countries. The LTTE, too, has indulged in alleged rights violations.
The Congress and the government must not prolong the decision on going there.