14th May 2000

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Facing reality

For all his pious talk of eliminating cross border terrorism vis-a–vis Kashmir, Indian premier Atal Behari Vajpayee has been unable to respond to the needs of this country today, which trace back to a brand of cross border terrorism spawned by India several years back. All the raucous tub thumping Bharathiya jingoism aside, Vajpayee is today surrounded by a cabal of political forces comprising those such as George Fernandez, his Defence Minister, who was, if not still is, a known supporter of Velupillai Prabhakaran's LTTE, and others. (When an Indian Navy Admiral wanted greater surveillance around the Andaman islands which is a base for LTTE operations, Fernandez contributed his heft and got the Admiral sacked according to reports.)

Vaiko Gopalaswamy, whose middle name should be notorious, Censored Censored Censored Censored. The DMK's Karunanidhi on the other hand is a man who wants to be all things to all men, and therefore doesn't want to back the LTTE or oppose it directly for fear of upsetting the sensibilities of the emotional Southern Tamilian fringe.censored

Censored Censored Censored

In this context, Mr. Vajpayee should jog his memory and recall perhaps that cross border terrorism, his pet - hate, is not endemic to the Indian nemesis state of Pakistan. Indira Gandhi engineered Sikh and Tamil separatism as a means of acquiring illegitimate political hegemony in the subcontinent. The result — she paid for it with her life and her son's life.

Now, the Indians say they want to play "honest broker" once again in Sri Lanka. Can a nation whose prime minister could say that 'the fall of Jaffna would not change India's policy' while Sri Lanka is facing a crisis situation, be an honest broker? The Tamil Tigers secessionist movement was trained and funded by the RAW in the 70s and 80s decades. Tamilnadu politicians of various breeds have for ages openly backed the LTTE, beginning most notoriously with that dear and departed matinee idol of the state, M G Ramachandran. The late MGR got himself photographed for the newspapers with Mr. Velupillai Prabhakaran, and Tamilnadu politicians opened bank accounts for the LTTE, in the full glare of publicity, and yet these petty shoguns were able to get away with all these actions which flew in the face of civilized behaviour (not to mention internationally accepted conduct) because Tamilnadu was BIG — a state that possessed physical and geographical heft.

There are however, several ways to skin a cat, and several ways in which crossborder ties could be pursued in the modern arena of regional politics. (Censored)

Short circuiting this paralysing conduit is necessary and practical. For example, Sri Lankan airlines should consider flying to Patna in the state of Bihar. Our business leaders should forage for trade links in the state of Andra Pradesh, and the Sri Lankan government must establish friendly and enduring links with the politicians of these states. The alternative is that while representatives of all other states remain silent, we will continue to get knocked about by Tamilnadu, considering the influence that Tamilnadu politicians exert on the stormy centre of Indian politics.

Censored Censored Censored Censored Censored Censored Censored It is chronic sentimentality to have visions of India as the land of the Buddha, or the Mahatma or of Nehru and so forth.

The fact is that India has changed to our detriment. The sooner we square with that reality, the better for all of us.

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