Thursday, January 15, 2009

What is India’s message?

By K Godage
(DM)It was being trumpeted that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee would visit essentially to appease the politicians of Tamil Nadu who had put the Congress government under pressure to intervene to save the LTTE. Perhaps knowing that the Minister would have been sent back empty handed and the Indian government would have lost face in Tamil Nadu they are now sending their amiable and affable Foreign Secretary who once served here with distinction to bring a message to our government. What could this message be?

When Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa visited India, the joint communiqué was significant from its not making any reference to any ‘Bail out’ package for the LTTE. There were also the statements of the External Affairs Minister that they would not be a party to any ceasefire which they could not monitor. This was followed up by the statement of the Spokesman of the Congress party to those who were referring to Sovereignty that India’s sovereignty ends at her borders. On top of all this Sri Lanka agreed to two matters that were important concessions namely agreeing to receive food for the IDPs at a time when we were sending lorry loads of food to the refugees, in a sense we admitted to the world that we needed help to feed the refugees or that we were incapable of looking after our own citizens. The second concession to India was even more important; we agreed to permit fishermen of Tamil Nadu to fish in our waters. This concession ironically put our Navy at risk for the LTTE is known to attack our Navy by mingling with fishermen. There was also another important fact; hundreds of our Tamil citizens in the Northern Province depend on fishing for their livelihood; whilst we have restricted them from fishing in our waters we have permitted Tamil Nadu fishermen to ensure as they once claimed that our fish will not die of old age. We have indeed made huge concessions to appease the Indian government and their friend in Tamil Nadu, that more could we give? Full Text