The Longbottom standard for Rajapakse

Colombo might have won the war with China’s help. It can’t win the peace without India’s

Just in case you missed it in the heat of the elections, here’s the take on the situation in Sri Lanka:

Now, while President Rajapaksa’s election manifesto promised to include in the Sri Lankan Constitution a charter to “uphold and protect social, cultural, political, economic and civil rights of all Sri Lankans”, there are some among his supporters who want to translate the LTTE’s defeat into a victory for Sinhala supremacism. The immediate task for Indian foreign policy, therefore, is to hold President Rajapaksa to the Longbottom standard: It takes a great deal of bravery for him to stand up to his enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to his friends.

How? Well, read on.

4 thoughts on “The Longbottom standard for Rajapakse”

  1. Heh, can’t win the peace without India’s help, eh? How did Pak or Bangla maintain its peace with their own Hindus, without Indian help? Those countries treat their minorities worse than Lanka, any day.

  2. Sanjay,

    Sri Lanka is neither Pakistan nor Bangladesh. The entire context is different. I’m sorry I have no ‘one size fits all formula’ for you.

  3. I’m speaking in the context of treatment of minorities. In that sense, Pakistan and Bangladesh are worse than Sri Lanka. This is not a matter of one-size-fits-all, it’s a matter of consistency on policy ethics. Why should Pakistan and Bangladesh get off with a more lenient stance from us than Sri Lanka would get? Is it because their religion is different? Hypothetically, as a thought experiment, how would we have treated Sri Lanka if it was an Islamic-majority country mistreating minority Tamils, instead of a Buddhist-majority one?

    I think I know the answer to that, and I think you know, too.

  4. The end of the war and the killing of all the leaders of the LTTE has changed the ground scenario in many ways.
    1) Sri Lanka can no longer postpone meaningful devolution of power to Tamils.
    2) It has made enemies in the West by calling people names regardless of their stature and standing on the international stage.
    3) The protests surrounding the conflict have amplified and brought the ethnic issue to the international stage that it may be very difficult for Sri Lanka to deflect international criticism.
    4) Many Tamils now realize that they will not be able to win their rights through armed struggle, at least for the time being. Even the LTTE has announced that it is putting down arms (even though it does not matter much after the end of the war).
    5) India no longer has the excuse of citing the LTTE as the reason for non-interference in Sri Lanka.
    6) The end of the war and LTTE has brought together both the moderates and the extremists in Tamilnadu demanding Indian interference to ensure equal rights to Tamils.
    7) There is a sudden realization around the world that China’s quest for power in the Indian Ocean has led to the militarization of Sri Lanka and consequently the bloodbath. Keen observers may realize that the ‘peaceful rise of China’ has started to demand human sacrifices.
    8) The war crimes inquiry in UN will be a flop. China and Russia will block them and even India has signed a document along with Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia saying that UN cannot interfere in Sri Lanka (it is completely unethical). Irrespective of this, the EU and USA may start their own investigation and may impose punitive sanctions on Sri Lanka.
    9) Any sanctions on Sri Lanka by the West may drive Sri Lanka more towards China and consequently this may damage its relations with India and India’s security may be affected.
    10) India’s attitude at present is very similar to the Soviet complacency when Hitler invaded Poland. India must take all possible measures to drive China out of Sri Lanka. Otherwise we will have to pay the price the Soviet Union payed during the second world war.

Comments are closed.