Thursday, May 21, 2009

India's strategic interest in Sri Lanka after LTTE

The LTTE has finally been decimated by srilankan armed forces. Now question in front of India is how to actively engage the new political leadership and counter the influence of Pakistan and China in Sri Lanka.

From what I have read somewhere , when Indra Gandhi was PM , Voice of America wanted to establish a radio station in Sri Lanka and due to the insensitivities of Sri Lankan gov towards the security issues of India, relations between India and Sri Lanka soured. So when Prabhakaran come to the scene , it seems that Indian Intelligence helped LTTE , so as to keep Sri Lankan engaged with LTTE. So far so good.
Actually I do believe in what one commentator said, Any great country needs to have neighbours who should understand that their peaceful existence depend on the good will of the Big Brother.

But when India send IPKF in Sri Lanka to actually protect Tamils , it ended up fighting LTTE(an unfortunate fact that this monster had India's hand in it ). Finally Rajiv gandhi was assasinated and LTTE(Prabhakaran) became most wanted in India.
But still India did not overtly support Sri Lankan Armed Forces by equipping them with weapons of Lethal Nature(in the mean time several senior Army officers were trained in India, and India did keep supplying non-lethal material to Sri Lanka, maybe in a way to keep its influence on the island nation).
But still there was a gap in India's Stategic planning and China exploited that by getting agreements of Hambantota port. The strategic importance of this port is immense in the Indian Ocean due to its location on the busy shipping line. This is one of China's "String of Pearls" in the Indian Ocean region.

Well India could not have been seen overtly supporting Sri Lankan Millitary because of Tamil population back home in TN. So now when LTTE has been defeated , the action for India has begin once more. The news that NSA and Foreign Seceratry have been rushed to meet Lankan Premier is a welcome news.
India now has to find a way to maintain its clout in Sri Lanka. India will rush more and more aid to the devastated areas of Northen and Eastern Sri Lanka. Hopefully India will force Sri Lanka to grant more rights to Tamil population in the Sinhalese dominated Sri Lanka. This might be in form that India can support pro-Indian leaders , or leaders who are sensitive to the security issues of India.

The next challenge in front of Mahindra Rajapakse is to fuilfill his promises to the Tamil people. India should now ensure that this is done.

PS: I am not a strategics analyst by profession or hobby : ) , these thoughts have been gathered from various blogs and forums , and I hereby present my views on the above mentioned issue.
As they say " Just my 2 cents ".

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