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Opinion:

Indian government gets tough against terrorism

Chairman of the BJP Committee on Strategic Action and BJP's National Executive Committee Member Subramanian Swamy's forthright statement at last week's Sri Lanka Defence Seminar 2014 was an eye-opener to all.

BJP's National Executive Committee Member Dr Subramanian Swamy with Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Minister G L. Pieris.

Speaking on the final day of the fourth Defence Seminar organised by the Sri Lanka Army, Dr. Swamy said that what took place in Sri Lanka was not an ethnic struggle but a linguistic struggle.

Hardly has anybody deeply examined the root causes for LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka, which many in the West have described as an ethnic problem. As Dr. Swamy correctly pointed out, it had been a struggle due to language barriers and not due to ethnicity.

As we have pointed out regularly, the Tamils in the North and the East had not encountered any specific problems due to ethnicity. The people in the two provinces had their own problems due to the geographical locations but those were not only confined to Tamils but also to the Sinhalese and Muslims living in the two provinces.

Tough stance

Moreover, the linguistic struggle of the people in the North and the East was not only a problem for Tamils in the area but also the Muslims living in the two provinces. Hence, there is no truth in Western theories that Sri Lanka has an ethnic problem because Tamils in the North and the East do not have 'exclusive problems'.

It is heartening to see the new BJP-led Government in India taking a tough stance against terrorism and strengthening its relations with Sri Lanka.

Dr. Swamy has said his Government has made it clear that it was committed to improve ties between the two neighbours.

He is widely regarded as an advocate for close ties with the Sri Lankan Government and has been a frequent visitor to the island.

Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United States, Prasad Kariyawasam

"Sadly because the Tamil Nadu political parties were in the coalition led by the Congress, the support that India could have extended to Sri Lanka was lost.

The Sri Lankan Government had to go for peace talks because of international pressure," Dr. Swamy was quoted as saying.

As a constituent of the ruling BJP in India, Dr. Swamy's party has made several proposals on foreign policy to the Indian Government, the first is that the Indian foreign policy should be based on national interests and not on narrow local interests, a relationship that is best served with all its neighbours.

Norway

According to Dr. Swamy, the second proposal was that while India respected the UN Charter, the investigation on war crimes against Sri Lanka was unbalanced and intrusive and this was not acceptable to India.

He had said that those who proposed strict action against Sri Lanka have been eliminated at the Indian elections.

It was Norway which blew the North-East problem out of proportion when it acted as a facilitator for the so-called peace process during 2001-2003 UNP Government led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Norway projected a dismal picture of a huge ethnic conflict, where as what really existed in Sri Lank was nothing but deadly LTTE terrorism which had been initially fostered by linguistic problems and other problems which were common to people of all races living in the North and the East.

But interested international elements singled out these problems as those of problems exclusively by the minority Tamils and branded it as an ethnic conflict so that the West could capitalise on that and meddle in Sri Lanka's internal matters.

Pretending that they are either facilitating the so-called peace process or lending Sri Lanka a helping hand to find a solution to the so-called ethnic problem, all what the Western godfathers of human rights have done was taking Sri Lanka for a ride to achieve their sinister goals.

Consent

When Sri Lanka has rejected the controversial UNHRC panel of investigators in toto and said the members of the panel would not be entertained in the country, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Pillay have repeated appealed to Sri Lanka to accommodate them.

That means that they are acutely aware that the panel has no authority do so without Sri Lanka's consent.

The UN chief's spokesman said last week that Ki-moon had called on Sri Lanka to "cooperate with the inquiry". Interestingly, the UN Secretary General had reiterated "the importance for the Government and the people of Sri Lanka to constructively engage with the entire UN system as it would help the country make constant progress development, lasting peace and protection of Human Rights".

As a long-standing member state, Sri Lanka would undoubtedly remain in the UN system.

But that does not mean that Sri Lanka should undermine its sovereignty and allow a UN panel which does not have a mandate to investigate against the wishes of the country concerned.

While respecting the UN Charter and continue to engage in the UN system, Sri Lanka have an inalienable right to voice when its sovereignty is under threat.

Business

Certain countries in the West such as the UK show extraordinary concern about the LTTE and its sympathisers. That is mainly due to the Tamil Diaspora vote that certain Western politicians show unbelievable loyalty towards the LTTE ideology.

But it's a small section of the Tamil Diaspora that is still sympathetic towards the LTTE and continue to live in the dream separate state projected by Velupillai Prabhakaran.

As Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dr. Chris Nonis had said, a very small group of the Diaspora, using terrorism as a business is continuing to portray a bleak picture about Sri Lanka.

This small rump of the diaspora is in the habit of lobbying the legislators, think-tanks and opinion makers in the UK and they still have access to terrorists' funding too. Such funding has now been legitimised into businesses. The group continues on a campaign.

Sri Lanka should show extra vigilance on non-state actors that can destabilise countries such as ours.

As Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United States Prasad Kariyawasam had told the 2014 Defence Seminar, the country must take every possible measure to ensure that non state actors do not have the capacity to harm the very social fabric of the country.

Sri Lanka had become a victim of actions perpetrated by non state actors.

The non state actor, the LTTE played havoc in the nation.

Challenge

Sri Lanka eradicated the LTTE menace due to the commitment of Security Forces and the country is now searching for peace and reconciliation. But non state actors sometimes can be a drag on the system. The actions of non state actors affect almost all countries in the region. Peace and prosperity do not come in isolation. The neighbourhood provides support for a country to have stability. The actions of non state actors in the region is a common challenge.

Their actions are affecting every aspect of social and economic life.

Sri Lanka is now focusing on the blue economy. A blue economy is important since land resources are dwindling in every country.

People across the globe aspire for peace and sustained prosperity and for that purpose they need stability. Stability, peace and prosperity do not come in isolation. One has to have a neighbourhood that can provide support, Sri Lanka lays special emphasis on maritime security and maritime cooperation.

It is heartening to see Si Lanka overcoming terrorism to register a 7.8 percent economic growth rate this year - the highest in the South Asian region. Sri Lanka has strong prospects of reaching US $ 7,500 per capita income by 2020 while entering a transitional phase to become an advanced economy by 2035.

National pride

As Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundara had pointed out that Sri Lanka must make its 2035 development goals a reality. Sri Lanka as an emerging nation needs to be attentive to developments taking place around the world.

Some foreign powers are targeting Sri Lanka without learning or seeing what we are today and our involvement and the trajectory for the future, to couple with our social and economic growth. Our critics conveniently say that physical development, alone is not adequate.

But they always fail to see reconciliatory moves, set in motion in terrorism-affected areas in the correct perspective.

Challenges are nothing new to a country such as Sri Lanka. Every failure in history is a lesson to learn as to why challenges should not be overlooked or mismanaged. Sri Lanka has a history, has had days of glory and national pride not second to any other country.

Hence, the country's dream of becoming the Wonder of Asia is not a distant dream if all Sri Lankans make a worthy contribution.

The international community should allow Sri Lanka to take its own time for lasting peace and strengthen national reconciliation.

The West should not force anything on us. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka has the ability to bounce back and head towards economic prosperity, paving way for the rich dividends of peace.

We are confident that Sri Lanka could reach all those goals in the near future under the dynamic leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He is the leader who has re-written the country's history and would take Sri Lanka towards the new economic horizons.

All Sri Lankans must unite to support his leadership - the only way to face international conspiracies and take Mother Lanka toward greater glory.

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