You thought Sri Lanka was out there in the Indian Ocean ?Through the cacophony of voices over India’s stand on US sponsored UN Human Rights Council resolution accusing Sri Lanka of “genocide” during its civil war I realized one thing : Sri Lanka is within India.
Sri Lanka has its own problem – call it ethnic, call it economic, call it political, call it anything. But that is not exactly the problem that India faces. The problem that upsets India from time to time, whenever this issue of resolution against Sri Lanka comes up, I feel is our own problem. To some extent it is a tool that is used by some ‘players’ in our power equations to disturb the equilibrium and gain advantage to them.
I do not deny the fact that there is also a historical baggage that India carries with respect to Sri Lanka, which makes it difficult for us to look dispassionately at that country. It is not just for the fact that both Sinhalese and the Tamils trace their origin to this country. In nearer past we have been more than ordinarily active in influencing the course of that country’s history; first by encouraging the Tamils in their struggle for self assertion; and then by helping the Sri Lankan government to suppress them when they went out of control. This was partly driven by the dissentions within our own polity, but largely by our desire to assert our supremacy over the South Asian territories; which of, course, was perfectly justified given the rising influence of China in the region.
Probably that is where we tripped. Our national aspirations and our sub-national allegiances were in conflict. A weak leadership only made the matters worse. That made Sri Lanka very much our own problem.