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Wednesday, October 23, 2019


It takes two to tango


Be nimble and Lanka may not be such a problem
MAYANK SINGH | Issue Dated: October 8, 2006
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It takes two to tango Now that the ‘pretty woman lay off’ snub has passed, India can afford to look again at what it should do with Sri Lanka. When Nirupama Rao, the Indian envoy in Colombo, was surprisingly snubbed thus by a Sri Lankan minister for ‘interfering’ in Lankan affairs, the uneasy Indo-Sri Lanka relationship came into focus again. Lanka affects the Tamil question directly. It indirectly adds to the influx of terror and poverty into India with illegal migration via the sea. There’s nothing India can do about the migrants. But it can and must do something about the neighbourly equation. The last time India tried to dabble in Lankan affairs, it was a disaster.

But now, it’s maybe time to lay some ghosts aside. Admittedly, the LTTE is not an organisation to trust. It retains a bloodthirsty streak that has managed to irritate even the tireless Norwegian negotiators. But no one can fight for ever. Even the Irish Republican Army (IRA) changed tack in the end. And when the LTTE begins to feel the fatigue, it will have to factor in India. For the moment, India is taking the politically correct position of trying to find consensus among the various parties in Sri Lanka. However, at some point, India might need to step into the waters. More so, because others are getting interested in Sri Lanka as well.

Recently, the LTTE attacked a Pakistani diplomat in Colombo. It was strange, but it indicated how much Pakistan had begun to matter in Lanka. Apparently, the LTTE targeted the Pakistani diplomat because it wanted to make a point about the new-found warmth between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It’s a free world, so every nation will keep its interests first. In Lanka, so should India.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017