Brownie Points over SL’s Misery


Yesterday ‘Finance Today’ in its lead story, published under the heading, “India delays new US$ 500M fuel credit line” said that the main reason was because outgoing CEB Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando had told COPE that there was pressure on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the Indian Premier to hand over the proposed Mannar and Pooneryn wind and solar projects to India’s Adani Green Energy Ltd.

Both Ferdinando and Rajapaksa denied these statements, with Ferdinando blaming his statement on fatigue and tendering his resignation subsequently.

‘Indian Express’, in this connection, yesterday said, “While the Indian Government has not responded to the charges, senior Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Sunday: ‘BJP’s cronyism has now crossed the Palk Strait and moved into Sri Lanka.’” Indian Premier Narendra Modi is also the BJP leader.

The ‘Express’ quoting an Adani Group spokesperson however said, “The fact is that the issue has already been addressed by and within the Sri Lankan Government,” but not before saying in the preceding sentences, “Our intent in investing in Sri Lanka is to address the needs of a valued neighbour.  As a responsible corporate, we see this as a necessary part of the partnership that our two nations have always shared… We are clearly disappointed by the detraction that seems to have come about.”

Nonetheless, Gandhi is the least qualified person to pontificate about this incident. If he’s talking of BJP cronyism casting its shadow over Sri Lanka, it was because of the Indian National Congress’ (INC) bullying, first started by his grandmother Indira and soon after repeated by his father Rajiv, that got Sri Lanka into ’this economic mess’ in the first place, from which vortex Adani is trying to bailout Sri Lanka and avoid its people from starving.

To enlighten Rahul on geopolitics, in May 1982, when Indira was in power, the Chennai Police arrested LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and PLOTE leader Uma Maheswaran involved in a fratricidal shootout at the Pondy Bazaar.

Both Prabhakaran and Maheswaran were wanted by Sri Lanka (SL) for murder, destruction of public property and armed robbery. Prabhakran was also wanted in connection with the murder of the SLFP Mayor of Jaffna Alfred Duraiappah in 1975, when SLFP Leader Sirima Bandaranaike was in power, the same time that Indira was also in power. Sirima and Indira were good friends.

Meanwhile, by May 1982 an Extradition Treaty between India and Sri Lanka was in place. Armed with these credentials, President J.R. Jayewardene sent his IGP Rudra Rajasingham to Chennai to have Maheswaran and Prabhakaran extradited to face charges in Colombo. But Indira refused to have the duo extradited. Not long after, the Sinhala-Tamil July 1983 riots took place.

In related developments, five years later on 4 June 1987, when the Sri Lankan military had cornered Prabhakaran in Jaffna in a blitzkrieg launched on 26 May 1987, Rajiv, who was in power in India then, sent his Air Force  to fly over Sri Lankan airspace, uninvited, with the threat of invasion if the military didn’t stop its operation, forcing Jayewardene to withdraw his troops.

Nonetheless, if Indira honoured India’s extradition agreement with Sri Lanka and extradited Prabhakaran and Maheswaran to Sri Lanka in May 1982 and if Rajiv hadn’t threatened to invade Sri Lanka by sending his Air Force in violation of Sri Lankan airspace on 4 June 1987, the current Sri Lankan tragedy may well have been a success story by now.

Rahul should realist that the INC, or for that matter India’s threat, is not the BJP, but China, with which India fought a bitter border war in 1962 when his great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru was in power and where India was prevented from being overrun because both the UK and the USA threatened to retaliate if China didn’t stop its invasion of India.

China, aided by corruption, has got more than a foothold over Sri Lanka, threatening India’s southern border. As if being surrounded to the North by hostile China and Pakistan are not bad enough. “None were for party, but all were for the State,” should be Rahul’s rallying cry, without trying to win brownie points over Sri Lanka’s misery to China’s gain.