Sri Lanka's conflict seems to be the last resort of every political scoundrel on the other side of the Palk Strait. There is hardly any Indian politician who does not want to have a finger in Sri Lanka's pie.
AIADMK leader Jeyaram Jayalalitha, who found her plump self shivering in a bullet proof jacket not so long ago because of LTTE threats, has all of a sudden become one of the most ardent supporters of the LTTE's macabre cause. She has overtaken even the ageing DMK leader M. Karunanidhi in campaigning for saving the Tigers! Of late, she has been offering to carve out Eelam if Tamil Nadu votes overwhelmingly for her party at the Indian parliamentary polls. If Indira Gandhi could create Bangladesh, she has argued, there is no reason why she should fail in establishing Eelam in Sri Lanka.
Indira Gandhi may have succeeded in severing the non-contiguous Eastern Pakistan but she pathetically failed in her ‘Project Sri Lanka’, didn't she? So did her son Rajiv! Will Jayalalitha succeed where the legendary Gandhis have failed? She is only daydreaming, to say the least!
Jayalalitha's support for the Eelam project in Sri Lanka seems to be a feint. She cannot be unaware that the LTTE is as dead as a dodo after a thirty-year military campaign. It cannot be resurrected. Her real target seems to be Tamil Nadu, which has recently witnessed a resurgence of secessionism with a touch of militancy as evident from the pro-LTTE protests inside court houses and mob attacks on the Rajiv statue in Chennai and the Nehru statue and the Indian High Commission in London.
The separatist forces in Tamil Nadu have graduated from desecrating national icons and shouting seditious slogans to direct attacks on the Indian military! The interception by protesters of a military convoy in Coimbatore on May 02 cannot be a one-off. The LTTE has infiltrated Tamil Nadu heavily with a section of the intelligence agencies of that state collaborating with the outfit as could be seen from its arms smuggling operations through Tamil Nadu until the army captured the A-32 road and sealed off the North-Western seaboard. It is believed that there are many LTTE arms caches in Tamil Nadu with sleeper cells. The Q-branch, it may be recalled, refused to co-operate with the IPKF battling the LTTE. Such is the terrorist infiltration of the Tamil Nadu political and military establishments. The Coimbatore incident portends trouble for India.
Jayalalitha's vitriolic utterances cannot be dismissed as mere vote-catching rhetoric. Reflected in them is a passionate desire to create a base for the world Eelam movement in Tamil Nadu after the decimation of the LTTE in Sri Lanka. She might succeed in her endeavour unless India adopts pre-emptive action to keep the Tamil Nadu secessionists at bay.
The BJP, perhaps realising that the situation is getting out of hand, has shot down the idea of another Indian intervention in Sri Lanka in case of a change of government at the centre. In response to Jayalalitha's promise to form Eelam by deploying the Indian army if a favourable government were to assume power at the centre, BJP senior leader M. Venkaiah Naidu has said what the BJP strives for is a democratic solution to Sri Lanka's problem and not any military intervention. He has said his party does not favour inducting the Indian army 'after the bad experience it had in Sri Lanka earlier'.
Jayalalitha has had egg on her rotund face!
The question of India deploying troops again in Sri Lanka does not arise at all. When the IPKF was sent to Sri Lanka, the LTTE was not a threat to India. In fact, the Indian leaders had Prabhakaran and other guerrillas eating out of the palms of their hands. Therefore, India naturally defended the LTTE and used coercion to force devolution down Sri Lanka's throat in favour of Prabhakaran et al.
But, today the LTTE that turned against India has been defeated and India has very diplomatically involved itself in Sri Lanka's rehabilitation and conflict resolution processes. Its shift from gunboat diplomacy to subtle diplomacy in tackling Sri Lanka has paid dividends. India does not have to repeat its military and political blunders.
After all, Sri Lanka has done India a very big favour by aborting the LTTE's Vijayanagar Empire project, which would have had a cankerous growth at the expense of India's territorial integrity, unless President Mahinda Rajapaksa had picked up the gauntlet Prabhakaran threw down at Mavil Aru in 2006 and waged a successful war.
On the other hand, as much as President JRJ cunningly got India to fight the LTTE which it created, India has succeeded in getting the Sri Lankan military to decimate the LTTE that Sri Lanka helped fight the IPKF, which lost over 1,400 men and officers at the hands of the LTTE with several thousands of others maimed. India has avenged the killing of its soldiers and Rajiv Gandhi without deploying a single jawan in Sri Lanka! India seems to know more than one way to skin a cat!
However, Sri Lanka has also stood to gain from India's non-interference in that it has effectively neutralised a grave threat to its national security and territorial integrity. So, in the final analysis both Sri Lanka and India are in a win-win situation.
India should defeat the separatist forces in Tamil Nadu for its own sake.