India always behaves like a sadist deriving, as she does, immense pleasure from the suffering of her neighbours, like those cheap Indian soap opera characters who are full hatred, envy, jealousy and hubris. She has a massive ego to nurse, and this she does at the expense of others. She treats her small neighbours like untouchables.
Indian National Security Advisor M. K. Narayan has said Sri Lanka should not seek arms from Pakistan or China. `We are a big power in the region,` he has told the Indian media, as we reported yesterday, `whatever may be their requirements, they should come to us.` This exactly is the way India prevented Sri Lanka from acquiring radar equipment from China to counter the LTTE air threat.
It is this kind of arrogance, callousness and coercion that characterised the Nazi regime of Hitler, who always decided what was good for other countries and sought to impose his will on them. We seem to have a new brand of Nazism across the Palk Straits!
Narayan, who wants Sri Lanka to turn to India for military supplies, has the audacity to say in the same breath that India won`t provide weapons with offensive capabilities! India might as well provide no weapons to Sri Lanka at all. For, no war could be fought without weapons with offensive capabilities. Is he of the opinion that terrorism could be countered with broomsticks and brickbats?
One may remember how India famously offered ships to ferry the Sri Lankan troops trapped in Jaffna encircled by the LTTE in 2000, when the Kumaratunga government sent SOS for big guns. But for the MBRLs rushed from Pakistan in the nick of time, terrorism would have triumphed in this country a long time ago and given a boost to the latent separatist tendencies of Tamil Nadu.
The political compulsions of the Centre need to be appreciated. The Congress-led government is dependent on its Tamil Nadu allies for survival. But, as a former ambassador rightly says in his article on the opposite page, Sri Lanka shouldn`t be made to pay for others` sins. The Central government, driven by its short term political gains, is risking the territorial integrity of the `regional power.` The LTTE has become a threat not only to Sri Lanka`s national security but also to that of India, as manifest in the frantic efforts the Indian defence establishment is making to protect the nuclear facilities in the southern parts of India against possible LTTE air strikes. Interestingly, India has approached Israel for advanced radar equipment for that purpose, though it prevented Sri Lanka from acquiring sophisticated radar and insisted that the radar of the Indian make was sufficient to protect Katunayake from enemy air raids! How vehemently India defended her radar equipment installed here, when defence analysts pointed out that it was not effective enough to meet the LTTE threat!
India certainly doesn`t want the LTTE to succeed in its separatist war for her own sake. At the same time, she doesn`t want it to be crushed either. She wants to keep the threat at a manageable level so that Sri Lanka will continue to suffer till kingdom come and there will be a mendicant nation in dire straits across the Palk Straits, ever mindful of the fact that `India is a regional power.` The real danger of this strategy is that the LTTE has already become a source of inspiration to many separatist outfits in India and it is well known that they have exchange programmes.
The US made the mistake of trying to keep the Al Quaeda terrorism at manageable levels so as to use it as part of her foreign policy. Now, the US has had to expend billions of dollars and deploy tens of thousands of troops to eliminate the threat. India, too, had a bitter experience in its war with the LTTE in the late 1980s, but she doesn`t seem to learn from her mistakes. Terrorism like laboratory created germs get out of hand and comes home to roost sooner or later.
Now, it is a case of Hobson`s choice for Sri Lanka. It cannot afford to approach Pakistan and China and antagonise India in the process for fear of India softening her stand on the LTTE further, the signs of which are already visible. The Indian Prime Minister is meeting LTTE proxies and the LTTE is using the Indian soil to smuggle in arms and explosives. India is only paying lip service to the need to thwart such operations. Should Sri Lanka bypass her in arms purchases, India is likely to turn a blind eye to the LTTE arms smuggling operations completely. India is quite capable of such dirty tactics as could be seen from how it created the monster to make the Jayewardene government fall in line. India holds the balance of power in the conflict here and enjoys making a show of that.
India is said to be Sri Lanka`s friend. With such friends, Sri Lanka needs no enemies. `God save me from my friends,` it is said, `I can protect myself from enemies!`