The Filter Coffee

Foreign policy, strategic affairs, defense and governance

Calls for ceasefire must cease

As the Sri Lankan army inches closer to a decisive military victory against the remaining remnants of the Tamil Tigers, the international community has been vocal in its call for a ceasefire in view of the thousands of Tamil civilians caught in the middle of the conflict.  The tone from politicians in Tamil Nadu has been particularly shrill, and unabashedly in support of Prabhakaran and the LTTE.  Political parties in Tamil Nadu have been demanding Indian pressure on Lanka to declare a unilateral ceasefire.  The government in New Delhi would do well not to accede to their demands.

Terrorism is a scourge that has plagued the Subcontinent for decades.  However, victories against terrorist forces have been few and far between with governments neither having the gumption, nor the ability to achieve decisive victory in the face of asymmetric warfare.  However, Sri Lanka today stands at the cusp of a famous victory against self-appointed champions of the Tamil cause.  The Rajapakse government will not squander the momentum gained over the course of three years to please Indian politicians in the throws of a general election or to placate the countless effete world bodies that have neither the right to demand nor the jurisdiction to enforce the ceasefire.

India must recognize that its role in the conflict should be not during the military conflict, but after the demise of the LTTE.  Normalcy in Sri Lanka’s civil war can only be fully brought about through political reconciliation between Lankan Tamils and the Lankan government.  Sri Lanka has a unique opportunity today to not only end militancy, but also address the root causes that led to conflict, not on the battlefield, but through political engagement.

To that end, India must encourage, prod, assist, the Rajapakse government to take the initiative to address the aspirations of the Tamil civilians.  Allowing international aid workers to provide assistance to the thousands of displaced Tamil civilians will be a pressing matter, and one requiring immediate attention.  But this can only be possible through a swift military victory against the LTTE.  By calling for a ceasefire, India and the international community will leave the Lankan government in a disadvantageous position vis-a-vis a millitant organization known for its ability to rise from the ashes, and injudiciously prolong a war that has already taken the lives of tens of thousands of Sinhalese and Tamil civilians.

Filed under: Karunanidhi, LTTE, Prabhakaran, Sri Lanka, Terrorism, Uncategorized, Vaiko, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.

A Sri Lankan military vehicle in Vannerikulam, Sri Lanka

A Sri Lankan military vehicle in Vannerikulam, Sri Lanka

India has been mounting a pressure campaign on Sri Lanka in the hopes that it can slow down the island-nation’s military advances into town of Kilinochchi, the administrative capital of the LTTE. Apparently, India has conveyed its “deep concern” over the “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in the LTTE controlled regions of Lanka. If this isn’t an example of a combination of barefaced hypocrisy and dirty politics, I don’t know what is. What right does a country whose politicians engage in violence against minorities as a matter of policy have to dictate terms to another country? Fringe nutjobs like Vaiko in Tamil Nadu and allies of the UPA administration, are behind this new effort to intervene in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. In supporting a reign-in of Lankan military advances, they are, in effect, allowing the LTTE to regroup and refortify its defenses in the town. Perhaps these political parties are forgetting that it was in Sriperumpudur, a town in their state, in 1991 where one of our Prime Ministers had the misfortune of having his head blown off by the very same LTTE that they’re sympathizing with.

If this wasn’t bad enough, Sri Lanka gave credence to New Delhi’s bellowing by inviting Pranab Mukherjee to come and evaluate the “humanitarian mission” in the region.

“With the view of clarifying the position of the Government with regard to the humanitarian mission in the North, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has invited the External Affairs Minister of India Pranab Mukherjee to Sri Lanka,”

Civilian casualties are an unfortunate consequence of war, and one that any responsible government will want to minimize, if not eliminate. Everyone understands that the Tamil situation cries out for a political, not military, solution. But Sri Lanka is at a defining moment in its history, and at the cusp of a victory against a terrorist organization that has stood between reconciliation between the Sri Lankan government and the Lankan Tamil civilians. Who appointed the LTTLE as the sole representatives of the Sri Lankan Tamils? The truth is that they grew like any other terrorist organization ever did — through dividing and conquering. It needs to be pointed out that this is an organization that India has outlawed, its leader Prabhakaran himself being a wanted man in India for Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

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Filed under: DMK, India, Karunanidhi, LTTE, Prabhakaran, Pranab Mukherjee, Sri Lanka, tamil, Tamil Nadu, Vaiko, , , , , , , , , , ,