True, we lost the vote at Geneva but its no disgrace to a nation that eliminated terrorism comprehensively for which we are being punished by a section of the international community, orchestrated by a few, who wanted the terrorists to co-exist, enabling them to arrive at a settlement that was never in sight. Eliminating terrorism is a feat more acclaimed and rewarding than the setbacks at UNHCR. LTTE enslaved the Tamils including the TNA, which never had the freedom they enjoy today. Yet, that is forgotten.
It is preferable to examine the hard facts without becoming emotional or irrational, of our relationship with our purported ‘best friend’ India. Our target should be to evolve a policy well before the next session of the UNHCR, one year hence and to put it into motion; being flexible to the changing situation, to gain a degree of success in 2014. Thereafter study the outcome of Geneva 2014 before making the next move. We should take a year, at a time, with the UNHCR sessions as the pivotal point. Undoubtedly in foreign relations, UNHCR sessions should be the make or brake centerpiece of our foreign policy. It could be deemed a victory next time, if we improve from our present position, as we cannot be expected to score an outright victory in Geneva knowing we are challenged by the powerful.
It is time to rethink on a fresh initiative on India, as she has joined the hostile forces to vote against us. India did not make an attempt to raise it at a bi-lateral diplomatic level, on the matters raised in the US resolution, if she had such differences with us; but rather added weight to a draft mooted by a group that stood in the way of a military victory over terrorism. India held out, the usual sugar coat, that they were responsible for softening its impact; voting for the resolution makes such efforts cosmetic: purely to display a pair of false hands that are indeed smeared. This clearly established that before and after the war the Indian stance was similar to the West except for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE that made the difference. Indian stand in Geneva has not pleased India.
LTTE killed their Prime Minister on their soil and the war ended at a time the assassinated leader’s party was in power. In the circumstances India could not, if it had an iota of self-respect, expressly or tacitly assist the LTTE and especially Prabhakaran, as he was an Indian convict roaming at large in his safe sanctuary from which India could not extradite him notwithstanding causing the death of their Prime Minister.
In their address before the UNHCR India showed its true intent by insisting on the implementation of the 13th amendment; that was shoved down with the presence of the Indian forces occupying our territory. That was an additional sop to Tamil Nadu by the present central government of India, which is the springboard for the emergence of a divided Sri Lanka on its way to establishing a state of Eelam: a fictitious state not sought by Tamil Nadu with a much higher percentage of a Tamil population. A weak central government in India is the likely outcome at the next general elections and the Congress Party would prefer to encounter weaker nations in the neighborhood. India would opt in being a feeble government in Colombo to be on par with New Delhi.
Not just once: twice successively India voted positively against us, in which exercise no other South Asian country especially in the SAARC outfit joined India. On the contrary, they supported us vigorously. Therefore it is not a singularly one-off event by India, that can be overlooked, since we must accept, it would be repeated next year, mindful of the need to placate Tamil Nadu in a coming election year, with Congress Party becoming weaker to holding power in the Centre.
This tragedy occurred primarily because we successfully eliminated terrorism and shattered the dream of an Eelam. Among those who did not desire to see us successfully and genuinely eliminate terrorism include India, America and Europe who were in the forefront of trying to disgrace Sri Lanka in Geneva. Sure, there are many deficiencies in the working of our administration, which should be deservingly criticised,but India is not better positioned, in fact, more an offender than we are on several counts.
We are often too servile to India. We follow her dictates, on the premise not to offend India, which reciprocates by bowing to their sectorial political brokers to vote against us. Even Malaysia or Japan did not cast their vote against us, as being part of the Asian block and being friendly countries in the region. Not so India. Its time we distance ourselves from India and move closer to countries that did support or did not vote against us especially Pakistan that has always stood by us but whom we have served much less than India.
We too have erred stupidly assuring the implementation of the 13th Amendment at the UNHCR resolution of 2009. India supported the said resolution, which was passed in 2009 and now holds us to the assurance. It probably is one of the major diplomatic blunders made in recent years though some crow it as a diplomatic triumph. It was not necessary to include an assurance to implement the 13th amendment shortly after the war, when the 13th amendment ushers aspects leading to a possible division of the country. We should have brought forth that enlightened resolution in 2009 without accessing the 13th Amendment to please India. It is now contributing to our downfall due to lack of foresight in 2009.
So too is the 13+ talk of the President when he actually means 13 plus and minus with a tilt to a 13 minus. It is indeed wrong to send misleading messages to India as it rebounds on us subsequently. It is not necessary to be offensive to India merely because they voted against us but strike a distance to show our displeasure and move closer to friendly countries that stood with us notwithstanding their close relationships with the USA. We should not be piqued by their vote against us but keep India at arms length without being hostile and instead seek guidance from China, Russia, Japan and Pakistan. The message will sure be delivered. India cannot be trusted after it trained and armed the terrorists and saved Prabhakaran by forcing Sri Lanka to permit him to escape, after he was cornered.
Presently India concentrates to capitalise on a cross - border fishing dispute: it has accessed Jaffna fishermen through friendly NGOs. If India was sincere in their cause for the Tamils would they deliberately deprive them of their meagre economic sources? China watching is a pastime of RAW, the espionage arm of India operating from the embassy. India considered the waters around the Palk Strait as its private pool with no peepholes for any paparazzi: but with the big powers fishing in troubled waters Indians have upped a periscope in Hambantota.
It was RAW that restructured East Pakistan into the state of Bangladesh by working together with Bengali refugees Mukthi Bahini to mutilate a part of Pakistan. RAW displayed divided loyalties in Kathmandu shifting assistance between the pro Indian Nepali Congress and the Maoist rebels which ever was in the interest of India at the relevant time and staged an attack by the RAW backed EPRLF mercenaries on Maldives. Roused Nepali refugees in Bhutan to agitate against their adopted country and annexed the Buddhist kingdom of Sikkim to India by rousing the people against the monarch for marrying an American lady (playing an anti CIA card) and are operational in Kashmir against Pakistan from the inception of RAW. All these acts were carried out (except in the case of Pakistan) against friendly countries in the neighbourhood making RAW set a poison trail and contribute to the unpopularity of India in the region.
There are a few priorities to be attended to overcome another set back in Geneva namely –(1) Implement the reasonable grievances of the Tamils in the North as outlined in the LLRC report and move fast forward on the trilingual programme (2) Ensure Human Rights issues are handled transparently within the domestic framework (3) Make good governance issues effective including setting up a credible Human Rights Commission and Bribery and Corruption Commission with personnel esteemed by civil society.
If these basics are handled effectively, problems in Geneva will be much serious. It will sure make friendly foreign hands stronger. A main deficiency is we have a government that did little between 2012 to 2013, without proper monitoring, after being more effective in the years after the war.