Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sri Lanka expands diplomatic ties in Latin America

Aug 16, 2012 (LBO) - Sri Lanka will start diplomatic relations with 13 Latin American countries, cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said.
Diplomatic relations will be established with Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Honduras, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Haiti and St Lucia.
Out of the 33 countries in the Latin American block that are members of the UN, Sri Lanka has diplomatic relations with 20 of them.
"Promotion of diplomatic relations in a wide scale in this region will be another step forward in Sri Lanka's foreign policy," a cabinet paper said.

Top US Defence official for South Asia meets SL Ambassador to UN

US- Sri Lanka Defense Relations on a strong footing
 Vikram Singh, the new U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia paid a courtesy call on  Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States on Monday (13). They had an earnest discussion at the Embassy reflecting on the longstanding defense ties the two countries had for the last six decades.

Ambassador Wickramasuriya and Deputy Assistant Secretary Singh concurred that relations between two countries have deepened and grown across a broad range of areas including in the sphere of defense cooperation over the years.  It was agreed that the time is opportune to build U.S. - Sri Lanka defense relations on a stronger footing.
Ambassador briefed Singh on Sri Lanka’s post-conflict security concerns and recent economic and political developments.  He underscored Sri Lanka’s achievements in post-conflict scenario elaborating on programs nearing their completion including demining, resettlement of IDPs, rehabilitation and re-integration of ex combatants and the child soldiers. Singh was also briefed on the progress of the reconciliation process including on the national action plans introduced for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and to implement the Recommendation of the LLRC.

Singh opined that the two countries can work together as partners sharing common security aims. Enhanced cooperation in countering terrorism and piracy, disaster response and humanitarian assistance, coordinated efforts towards securing free trade and commerce and sea lines of communications would be mutually beificial to the two countries, he averred.
Singh serves as the principal advisor to the senior leadership in the U.S. Department of Defense for all policy matters pertaining to development and implementation of defense strategies and plans for the South and South Asian Regions. Prior to his present appointment in April 2012, he served as a senior policy advisor for Asian and Pacific security affairs in the Department.
 Ambassador Wickramasuriya congratulated Singh on his new assignment and wished him success.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Who is funding Karunanidhi’s Tamil Eelaam “dream”?

Posted on August 14th, 2012

Shenali Waduge

Tamil Nadu politicians appear to be taking turns to garner public support for something called “eelaam” and the louder they wail they are assured of remunerations which explain why only politicians are interested in forming an eelaam – be it rightfully in Tamil Nadu or its initial launchpad of Sri Lanka. Essentially, Eelaam has nothing to do with Tamils and everything to do with politicians ready to do anything and everything for money.
 The elimination of the LTTE’s top tier including its erstwhile leader thus was naturally a blow forcing reinforcements from the LTTE diaspora that has to now shoulder the international campaign to keep the momentum going. Momentums do not come free which brings us to the all important question of how these momentums are being funded? The naïve amongst us is likely to think that the human smuggling, the narcotics trade, the illegal weapons sales that the LTTE foreign network is involved in will suffice to fund or rather “buy” allegiance of foreign and local politicians/decision makers. That is the surface camouflage. The men pulling the strings are not those we make out to be. Who are they becomes the next most important question and from what distance are they remote controlling affairs is no less important but will help us understand why LTTE prevailed for 30 years.
 With the LTTE now no more it is naïve of us to think that our nightmare with LTTE terror is over. In all likelihood India’s crimes against Sri Lanka will catch up on it and the Tamil Eelaam Supporters Organization is just the start.
 There are simple logic that is never explained. If Tamils by which implies Tamil people is the concern of Tamil politicians whether they are in Tamil Nadu or Sri Lanka, why would they take LTTE’s side when LTTE was known to kill all its oppressors. These are statements not without proof – there are over 200 Tamil leaders, politicians, public officials, academics etc who have been slain by the LTTE, it killed all the Tamil militant groups and their leaders that India trained. It has killed all respected moderate Tamil politicians leaving only former-LTTErs and a few others who will do anything for money, power and politically dominate their own people. LTTE has kidnapped Tamil children and made them into killers – the UNICEF/UN has compiled enough of reports. Thus, when Tamil Nadu politicians were screaming over resettlement of Tamils post-LTTE defeat it aroused out curiosity as to what was behind the new calls necessitating our preparedness as a nation. For India’s plans include nothing about the welfare of Sri Lankans and that includes Sri Lankan Tamils – it is something Sri Lankan Tamils may well do to remember.
 What no one can deny too is that ALL Tamil Nadu politicians have a knack of supporting “eelaam” only when they are out of power and those like the DMK put a spin to gain leverage over the Central Govt.
 The 1st TESO (Tamil Eelaam Solidarity Organization) conference was held in Madurai 1986 – when Prabakaran killed another militant leader Sabaratnam of TELO.
 The 2012 TESO calls falls short of demand for self-determination in its 14 resolutions in view of its implications on Kashmir and likelihood of upsetting its coalition partner the Congress. The only precaution Congress took was to simply demand that there was no reference to Eelaam – but buckled to Tamil Nadu pressure by “shifting” 27 Sri Lankan military personnel undergoing training in an airbase in Chennai to the state of Karnataka. Now if Tamil Nadu can force action of the Indian Defense Ministry – we are puzzled as to how powerful India’s central government is! Where are the Hindians or is it Italians running the show!
 DMK head may like to come over to Sri Lanka to see just how well Tamils are living in Sri Lanka. This naturally explains why Dr. Subramaniam Swamy’s version of how Tamils are happy without the LTTE makes far more sense than someone ranting in Tamil Nadu. Simply put we are just not bothered anymore with the empty rhetoric from Tamil Nadu for Sri Lanka’s security forces have real life examples to counter these. Every 89year old must have his day afterall he has been dreaming for a long time and it escapes us to imagine how DMK can achieve what Chelvanayagam nor Prabakaran could achieve!  
 What is interesting is that DMK chief refrained from mentioning the Indo-Lanka peace accord in 1987 nor the 13th amendment to devolve powers. Furthermore, with Vaiko and Nedumaran – all pro-Eelaam lobbyists missing from the Conference one wonders exactly what type of Eelam these groups are striving for? Then the Naam Tamilar party (We are Tamils) were staging a protest against the TESO Conference – which simply shows us that Tamils are more divided and reiterates the need to put their house in order first before claiming aspirations.  
 It is India’s prerogative to maintain the Eelaam “aspiration” in the context that it serves India’s purpose of falling short of its realization but vociferous enough to allow India to pressure Sri Lanka using the “Tamil” card whereby the need for India’s “monitoring” will mean nothing but flooding Indian labor and establishing economic stakes which will steadily engulf Sri Lanka without Sri Lankans even being aware of it. This is the grandiose plans which will allow India to keep an eye on any external forces seeking to dislodge India whilst positioned in Sri Lanka and with time purge Sri Lanka altogether – it is in envisioning this reality that has little or no care for the wishes of the Sri Lankan citizens that implores Sri Lankan Tamils to finally rethink and disassociate themselves from the Tamil Nadu greater plan. They must finally accept that apart from administrative hiccups that all ethnic groups encounter the minorities are leading far better lives than the majority of the majority Sinhalese and the Tamils that aren’t were never part of the deal and never had it any better even during the hayday of the LTTE and that is a fact that ALL Tamils must accept.
 Unless Sri Lanka as a nation is able to come together – we cannot fight forces that pretend to be friends because such friends are far more dangerous than the visible enemy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Indo-Lanka : The Accusations – Emergence of LTTE

Posted on August 13th, 2012

Shenali Waduge

India says:
  • LTTE emerged because of discriminations to Sri Lankan Tamils by Sri Lanka
 Sri Lanka says:
  • India secretly planned to destabilize Sri Lanka and extend its sphere of influence in Sri Lanka and watching LTTE terrorize Sri Lanka for 30 years – though India would never allow LTTE to create an Eelaam.
  • LTTE and other militant groups first obtained training inside India, given arms and financial support from India – with July 1983 giving an “ethnic” dimension to gain international sympathy and facilitate influx of refugees to developing nations.
  • India allowed LTTE to use India’s Tamil Nadu as a hub  
 Indian training for LTTE in India (given in Jain Commission report)
  • 495 LTTE cadres (including 90 female) trained in 6 camps in Anna, Thanjavur West, Thanjavur East, Kumbarapatti in Salem, Madurai, Ramnad in Tamil Nadu. Training given on arms, swimming, boat driving, physical training.
  • 233 TELO cadres trained in 5 camps in Ramnad and Salem
  • EROS training in 2 camps in Ramnad and Pasumpon Muthuramalingam districts.
  • 74 EPRLF trained in 7 training camps in Thanjavur, South Arcot, Trichy, Ramnad.
  • 2236 PLOT cadres (including 94 females) trained in 18 camps in Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Tirunelvei, Thanjavur East.
  • Tamil Eelam Army – 2 camps (31 cadres), TELA-Kanthan group -3 camps (117 cadres), TELA-Rajan – 1 camp (10 cadres), TENA – 1 camp (25 cadres), RELO – 1 camp (13 cadres), NLFT -1 camp (2 cadres), ECRP – 1 camp (4 cadres), TMPP – 1 camp (6 cadres)
  • Indian intelligence aware that LTTE cadres including Prabakaran came over to Tamil Nadu leaving the leadership to Kittu in Jaffna, Mathiasri in Vavuniya and Santhosham in Trincomalee. Prabakaran returned in January 1987 – (EX 158 (B), Annexure M-2)
 Creation of an “Eelaam”
  • Sri Lanka is aware that India was only using Eelaam as a strategic tool to exert influence over Sri Lanka (though other nations linked to LTTE had different intentions)
  • This has been confirmed by India sternly informing DMK head not to go ahead with the TESO conference.
  • India squashed the “We Tamil Movement” that emerged in India demanding a separate Tamil Nadu state – the Sri Lankan Eelaam was an offshoot of this attempt.
  • If Sri Lanka has never posed a security threat to India why should it want to destabilize Sri Lanka?
 Elimination of LTTE:
  • Sri Lankans feel that India should be grateful to Sri Lanka for eliminating LTTE which would have become a threat to India
  • Sri Lanka majority feel that India was unnecessarily showing its bullying nature in the manner it forced Sri Lanka’s leaders to report on the war situation making Sri Lanka’s leaders travel to India to appraise Indian leaders.
 Why Sri Lankan majority does not accept India’s sincerity on eliminating Terrorism:
  • India demanded Sri Lanka cease the Vadamarachchi operation in 1987 when Sri Lanka’s armed forces had cornered Prabakaran threatening to attack Sri Lanka if it does not do so.
  • India did nothing when India’s former Prime Minister was assassinated in India by LTTE. Moreover Rajiv Gandhi’s widow is even seeking clemency for the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi!
  • Sri Lankans opine that much of the terrorism in Sri Lanka was steered by Indian intelligence operatives some of whom worked without the explicit instructions of the Indian Government.
 Indo-Lanka Accord 1987 / 13th Amendment & Provincial Council system:
  • Sri Lankan majority believes that the Indo-Lanka Accord and subsequent amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution introducing the Provincial Council system was only to allow India to take advantage of devolution for its own geopolitical advantage – emphasis on one day annexing Sri Lanka’s North to India
  • Sri Lankans are puzzled why India continuously insists on 13th amendment when it is aware that the provincial councils have given little benefit to the people.
  • Majority of Sri Lankans WANT the Government to repeal the 13th amendment, do away with the Provincial Council system which has not served the public. It is only after proper systems are in place that any consideration towards delegating powers should be adopted.
 IPKF Atrocities:
  • Sri Lankan majority feel India should apologize in particular to the Sri Lankan Tamil people who suffered from IPKF atrocities – rape, indiscriminate civilian killing, destruction of civilian property
  • Orders are said to have been given to kill Prabakaran by India
 Indian concern towards Sri Lankan Tamils
 India says:
  • It is concerned about the welfare of the Sri Lankan Tamils : Indian PM on 19 March 2012 – our objective, namely, the achievement of the future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.”
  • It has sent billions towards the development of roads, railways, civil infrastructure, promises to build 50,000 homes, investments in fields of steel, rubber, cement, power and energy, oil exploration, production, telecom, real estate, tourism, computer software, IT training and other professional services
 Sri Lanka says:
  • Sri Lankan majority wish to ask India to name all rights that Sri Lankan Tamils are denied legally and constitutionally and to declare what discriminations Sri Lankan Tamils exclusively suffer from which other ethnic groups do not.
  • Sri Lankan majority asks India if it claims to be concerned about Tamils why it stood silently while LTTE killed thousands of Tamil civilians and all the moderate Tamil leaders numbering over 250 Tamil politicians, academics, public service and religious leaders.
  • Sri Lankan majority asks India if it is so concerned about Tamils why it clamped down on the We Tamil Movement for a separate Tamil Eelaam state in Tamil Nadu – since the homeland of the Tamil people is undeniably and undoubtedly in Tamil Nadu.
 Economic Agreements:
  • Majority of Sri Lankan people feel that India is flooding Sri Lanka’s market with cheap Indian goods whereas there is an imbalance in Sri Lanka’s trade to India.
  • Majority of Sri Lankan people opine that India is economically attempting to acquire key stakes in Sri Lanka and forging deals likely to result in an influx of Indians into Sri Lanka since large numbers of Indians are already overstaying illegally.
  • Majority of Sri Lankan people are cautious of the fact that Indian labor into Sri Lanka will affect the livelihoods of its own people
  • Sri Lankan majority is skeptical of India’s investment drives especially when it shows interest in Sri Lanka’s natural resources (ex: phosphate) for fear that Sri Lanka is compromising its agricultural sustainance.
  • Sri Lankan majority is questioning its own leaders on giving in to India’s bullying and allowing India to walk off with key stakes in Sri Lanka when India has never proven a friend.
  • Sri Lankan majority questions the logic of economic agreements with India on the grounds of its size.
 India should first look after its own:
 Ideally India should be looking after its own. 650 million people (53.7% of population) living in poverty in India, of which 340 million people (28.6% of the population) were living in severe poverty. 77% of Indians live on less than 20 a day (about $0.50 per day). 8 Indian states have more poor than 26 poorest African nations (more than 410m people) 42% of India’s children are malnourished. 1.72 million children die annually before celebrating their 1st birthday. More than 122 million households have no toilets. 33% of Indians lack access to latrines; over 50% of the population (638 million) defecates in the open. 11% of the Indian rural families dispose of stools safely whereas 80% of the population leave their stools in the open or throw them in the garbage. Over 700,000 of our people are involved in the cleaning of toilets using their bare hands. Only 25% of the total population has drinking water on their premises. From 2008-2010 over 100,000 acts of violence were committed against (Dalits), such as murder, rape, or (forcing women) to parade naked, particularly women asserting their rights. 8200 ultra rich India’s combined wealth is USD945billion which is equivalent to 70% of India’s total economy.
  • There are over 165 separatist movements in India – India should find “political solutions” to these without interfering in sovereign Sri Lanka. There are said to be about 3000 castes and more than 25,000 sub-castes in India.
Is India a friend?
  • Sri Lankans see no reason why India should have resorted to arming terrorists for allowing Pakistan civilian ships to refuel in Colombo during the Indo-Pak war.
  • Majority Sri Lankans are now confirmed in the opinion that India was never a friend when India voted against Sri Lanka at the US-backed Resolution at the UN Human Rights Council. Moreover, Sri Lankans are angered by the fact that India declared it would vote against Sri Lanka ahead of going to Geneva to send a word to other countries to vote against Sri Lanka. Indian Prime Minister on 19 March 2012 : I may assure the House that we(India) are inclined to vote in favour of a Resolution, that, we hope, will advance our objective, namely, the achievement of the future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.”
  • India has been encouraging illegal Indian migration to Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lankans accuse India of falsely creating tense situations regarding fishermen to exert political pressure.
  • Sri Lankans accuse India of using the Tamil National Alliance and steering their every action.
  • TNA’s calls for reduction of military presence clearly depicts India’s desire while its maintains over 700,000 soldiers in Jammu/Kashmir with one Indian soldier for every 7 Kashmiris and 400,000 Indian jawans in Punjab.
  • Majority of Sri Lankans also accuse India of inciting ordinary Tamils in a bid to demand that Sri Lanka moves its military out from the North and relocate its bases throughout the coastal areas round Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lanka is curious why India through TNA continues to demand police and land powers when it should be more interested in further welfare measures for the Tamil people.
  • Sri Lankan majority continues to believe that former-LTTE cadres have secretly being smuggled out of Sri Lanka by vested forces to India and undergoing training for continue terrorism in Sri Lanka.