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Indian Defence Minister's Repudiation Of A Joint Regional Defence Treaty, Irresponsible And Misconstrued!

P.Sunil

In a somewhat incomprehensible statement released by Indian defence Minister Pranab Mukerjee as latest reports indicate, India says it has no plans to sign a Defence Agreement with Sri Lanka thought by many world powers on a consensus as conducive towards Regional Sercurity. Is this then the Indian Government's latest response deemable as negative on the proposed Regional Defence Agreement which may be imperative towards securing South Asia from Terrorists such as the LTTE and one which is orchestrated so that the constituents of Tamil Nadu could be appeased proir to the next election ? Has the concept of supporting the war against global terrorism thereby been shoved on to the back burner where India has resorted to a double standard which assents Tamils Nadus's Pro LTTE leanings on the pretext that they are indicating sympathies with the Sri Lankan Tamil minority while negating a likely Defence Treaty which would in all probabilities serve the Region very well and synonymously deter the LTTE?

It seems as though India has followed the age old tradition of political gain before principle and justice as the State of Tamil Nadu comprising predominantly of Dravidians or Tamils of South Indian origin seems to be the greater priority than Regional Defence particularly in Indian Ocean territory shared by both India and Sri Lanka and threatened by the terrorist activities of the LTTE which could have dire ramifications if not addressed post haste!

It seems also irresponsible on the part of Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee speaking to the media in Chennai on Thursday after a meeting with Dravida Munnetra Kalagam (DMK) leader M. Karunanidhi, to say that New Delhi would not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries including Sri Lanka as an obvious circumvention of the real issue relating to Regional Defence and an apparent bypassing of responsibilities which would rationally entail being a deterrent to the LTTE terrorists whose mendaciousness and evil intents should be a matter of concern rather than one to be bypassed with biased rhetoric which could easily be construed as terrorist supportive. It also seems amusing that this could be a response by India where the term interference seems to have been confused with invitation!! One which has come from the very top of the Sri Lankan hierarchy!

In saying that "It is the stated policy of the central Government not to interfere in the affairs of other countries and the government still stands by it" implies exactly this (confused misinterpretation) when there is in fact a joint Naval Surveillance Agreeement between India and Sri Lanka which cannot be detracted from the overall responsibilities involved in being shrugged off by the Indian Defence Minister! It further seems to constitute a statement which could generate embarrassment to the Indian Government by way of bifurcation of the importance needed towards quelling LTTE attrocities in the region which has escalated alarmingly and India's role perhaps even obligatory towards Sri Lanka's need as a priority rather than appeasing the voters of Tamil Nadu some of whom even are said to harbour terrorists!

There is a degree of dismay and incredulity that these same Tamil Nadu constituents were in umbrage and totally incensed with the LTTE after the Rajiv Gandhi assassination where condemnations against the LTTE and outpourings of anger spilled out across India as the culprits responsible for the heinous murder of a much loved Indian leader were revealed as the LTTE but today these same individuals seem to be providing platforms for the ruthless murderers of the LTTE and suggests all but apathy and a memory lapse. The freedom loving middle of the road Tamils in Sri Lanka appear to have been used as pawns towards supporting the theory of the Indian Defence Minister who could easily end up being accused of playing a pro LTTE role towards appeasing the voters of Tamil Nadu while promoting the neglect of Regional Needs!
While conceding that the MDMK and the PMK may well be government constituents, their being strongly opposed to any defence agreement with Sri Lanka seems to point in a direction beyond the norm of concern for the well being of Sri Lankan Tamils. The crux of the matter and the stark reality is that there are blatant transparencies about the real intent which is LTTE sympathy towards their cause and a fact attested to by a certain individual by name of Vaiko who was incarcerated in 2003 by the Indian Authorities who stated unequivocally that " even before the MDMK voices its views, many come to the conclusion that the organisation would speak only in support of the LTTE. .

It is indeed preposterous for theThe MDMK and PMK to have cautioned the Indian Government in saying that "a Defence Pact with Sri Lanka may be used by Colombo "to unleash violence against Tamils". This is a sad accusation against a Government which has granted much protection and considerations to the Sri Lankan Tamil Minority far removed from the LTTE whose idealogues too have enjoyed many privileges extended to them by a Government in all cordiality and without reservation. These are the very same terrorists who are now conducting an all out campaign of clandestine violence against the Sri lankan Defence Establishment and for the Indian Government's present dialogue expressed through their Defence Minister indicates a virtual turning of a blind eye to their activities.
It is a load of rubbish hardly representing any credibility that the verbiage of a resolution adopted at a meeting late last month, organised jointly by the PMK, MDMK and the Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) suggests that "any military help to Sri Lanka would harm the Tamils living in the Island Republic, besides hurting the interests of the Tamils living all over the world" which should be re-phrased to read" Any logistical and tactical Indian support given to the Sovereign Nation of Sri Lanka towards its defences from terrorists would be a response in recognition that Sri Lanka is a close ally and supportive of the Nation of India while it is also an assertion tha India is conscious of the imperative role it needs to take towards the Regional Security of South Asia! As far as hurting the interests of Tamils living all over the world let the more discerning draw their own conclusions relative to the realities at large! Let their conclusions also rest on the latest move by the Sri Lankan Government to ferry in over 60,000 Tamil refugees once displaced in Tamil Nadu if any yardstick is needed towards the Intentions of the Sri Lankan Government towards its Tamil Minority!

To even suggest that "India would fall prey to the machinations of President Mahinda Rajapakse, allegedly attempting to project an image that New Delhi backed all his anti-Tamil acts" according to this resolution seems to be pure speculative innuendo on the part of the PMK and the MDMK whose depositions seem to flow lucidly from the sublime to the ridiculous merely to appease the gullibilities of the masses in Tamil Nadu and a fomenting of unnecesary and unfounded concerns, where the greater implication should dwell on the need to contain the brand of terrorism currently being generated by the LTTE whose mendacities and vicious crimes against humanity also constitute a threat to Sri lanka's minority Tamils!



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