ASIAN AFFAIRS ON SRI-LANKA

Sugeeswara Senadhira - Associate Director RCSS

PEACE PROCESS IN SRI-LANKA

The Sri Lankan state was not founded on a collective idea accepted by the principal ethnic minority - the Tamils. At the time of independence of the new state, the majority Sinhala community as well as the minority Tamils were represented by the elite of the two communities. Their leaders were attracted by the idea of a strong central authority. Thus the social and political issues pertaining to the vast majority of both communities were completely ignored and that became the foremost weakness of the state. This feeling of the Tamil people manifested itself first through peaceful and non-violent protests and constitutional and legal challenges to the state and its institutions. The peaceful protests based on minority aspirations were treated as threats to the security of the state by the successive Sinhala-dominated regimes. The strong and high-handed Sinhalese reaction to these often took the form of ethnic violence against the Tamils (1).

As a result, in the latter part of 1970s, the Tamil struggle assumed the form of an armed separatist movement. The state was from then on faced with a complex security problem, which assumed gigantic proportions within a short period, since the firm establishment of the concept of a separate state for the Tamils challenged the idea of the sovereignty of the Sri Lankan state. The challenge posed by Tamil militants, together with the covert support of India - first the Southern state of Tamil Nadu and later the Central Government of India - exposed the weakness of the institutional structure of the Sri Lankan state.

The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka stems from Tamil minority perceptions of discrimination dating back to the colonial era and augmented since independence. In the latter period in particular, discrimination was institutionalized through the Official Language policy (1956) and University admission Standardisation Act of 1972, which struck at the heart of minority aspirations regarding education and employment, and state colonization of predominantly Tamil populated areas, seen by them as areas of their historic habitation and according to some formulations as ‘homelands’.

The accumulated sense of grievance and discrimination was exacerbated by the inability and/or unwillingness of successive governments to address this and especially by their determined pursuit of majoritarianism. As attempts to seek political compromise through the established channels of elite democratic politics proved futile, extra-parliamentary militancy was nurtured and grew to the point of armed insurgency against the state. Political demands in turn traversed the spectrum from federalism to secession as championed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Since 1983 there was a number of militant groups that took up arms against the Sri Lankan state. Indian intervention in the form of a peacekeeping force and the Indo- Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 paved the way for the Thirteenth Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution and provided for a measure of autonomy through provincial councils. All the militant groups entered mainstream establishment politics except for the LTTE who held out for secession at best and more far reaching autonomy for the north and east of Sri Lanka, at least. Since 1990, bar intervals in which talks between them and the Sri Lankan state have taken place, the LTTE and the Sri Lankan state have been at war with each other. The LTTE fought the Indian Peacekeeping Force as well (1987 - 1990).

The ethnic conflict is reported to have cost some 65,000 lives so far, over a million people both internally displaced and made refugees abroad. It is a conflict which has been marked by widespread terrorism and atrocity including high-level political assassinations, suicide bombings, the continued recruitment of child soldiers and other human rights abuses.

Devolution and power sharing are now on the agenda because the Tamil minority took up arms against the Sri Lankan government, after various attempts at political accommodation had failed. The LTTE which seeks to establish totalitarian control and hegemony over the Tamils in the north and east of this country, is an outgrowth of the Tamil problem and the political success of this essentially fascist organization has been its ability to acquire the rhetoric of Tamil nationalism in the absence of government attempts to address Tamil grievances (2)

The People’s Alliance (PA) Government headed by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga acknowledged that the Tamils had grievances at the outset of her first term in office in 1994. However, the reasons leading to the abrupt end to peace talks in 1995 and subsequent reliance solely on military option changed the approach of her government towards the ethnic problem. With the LTTE leader Mr. Prabhakaran’s unilateral decision to resume hostilities in April 1995, the government too allowed itself to fall back upon the primary reliance on military force for conflict resolution.

The PA Government released an unprecedented devolution package as the nucleus of a political solution to the ethnic conflict in August 1995. It was the first time any Sri Lankan government had ever come up with a set of proposals that entailed movement away from the unitary state. The proposed new constitution incorporating devolution proposals was presented to parliament on 3 August 2000 by the president and then effectively withdrawn when the necessary two third majority of the legislators for its passage was not forthcoming.

The government launched an operation code named Jayasikuru or Victory Assured, in May 1997 to open a land route to Jaffna. But it was aborted in October 1998 after the LTTE overran the military camp at Killinochchi killing over a thousand Sri Lankan troops. In November 1999, the LTTE scored another military victory by capturing in the Wanni area of the northern province, chunks of territory, which the security forces were reported to have taken two years to recapture. Then the LTTE scored a spectacular military success in late April 2000. They overran the Elephant Pass military complex at the entrance to the Jaffna peninsula and positioned themselves to take the town of Jaffna and the air and naval bases at Palaly and Kankesanthurai, respectively. They were also in a position to capture or destroy the core of the Sri Lankan army - some 30,000 troops who were marooned as a consequence of the Elephant Pass debacle.

Into May, expectations were rife that the LTTE would take control of the peninsula - a sine qua non, it was believed, for their engaging in any talks. The Sri Lankan government sought military assistance from India and the very forces that were opposed to Indian intervention in 1987, appealed to India for help. The Indian response was to offer ‘humanitarian assistance’ if requested. Weaponry was hurriedly acquired from Pakistan, Iran and the Czech Republic and diplomatic relations were re-established with Israel to obtain Kfir fighter aircrafts and military material. Consequently, there has been a lull in the fighting and whilst the LTTE has not advanced it has not been pushed back either.

New Government and Peace Prospects

The United National Front (UNF) Government headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, which came into power in December 2001 proposed a ceasefire to be followed by a negotiated peaceful solution to the ethnic problem. Responding positively, the LTTE announced a unilateral ceasefire on December 24, 2001. Subsequently a ceasefire agreement was signed by the two sides, with Norwegian mediation on February 23, 2002. The agreement has entered its seventh month despite many minor –and at lease one major – violations reported by the Monitoring Committee comprising of Scandinavians. However, the proposed talks between the two sides, originally scheduled for May 2002 were postponed to August and it was thought that they would be delayed further. However, the Norwegian mediators remained confident that the talks could begin in Thailand not later than October. Finally a successful first round of serious discussion took place in September 2002 (3) during which the LTTE renounced its claim for an independent state.

In the meantime the UNF government succeeded in obtaining support from almost all the actors in the issue as well as from all the relevant foreign powers including the regional power India. Wickremesinghe, during his official visit to the United States in the last week of July 2002 succeeded in obtaining a personal endorsement from President George Bush for his initiative to bring the LTTE to the negotiating table. “The President acknowledged the courage and leadership qualities displayed by the Prime Minister in his pursuit of peace and his efforts at economic reconstruction. The President offered American support for these endeavours and proposed to send several US teams to Sri Lanka to assess how best Sri Lanka and the United States could work together in these areas” (4).

There are several factors that led to the current peace initiative. The repeated failure since 1983 of either side to win an outright military victory quickly or cheaply has focused attention on a political solution, its substantive provisions and modalities. Constitutional reform has been identified as a key component of this and is accordingly framed by the need to restructure the state and define the nation to meet the twin demands of democratic conflict resolution and governance (5).

The LTTE has now officially backtracked from its separatist demand. Already in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it has signed with the government on February 23, 2002, the militant group had acknowledged the right of the government to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. The Clause 3 of the MoU states, “The Navy and the Air Force will continue to perform their legitimate tasks of safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country from external aggression without in any way engaging in offensive operations against the LTTE or causing any obstruction to legitimate or bona fide fishing in specified areas” (6).

External Mediation

An external intermediary is initiated into a conflict either voluntarily or by an appeal by one or both adversary parties. Motives of a mediator or facilitator vary in each case. They can be either humanitarian, moral, politico-strategic interests or combination of two or more motives. Under normal circumstances, a third party facilitator plays a role in changing the attitude, behaviour and perceptions of the two parties involved in the conflict so that it can be resolved by a negotiated political settlement. The Norwegian mediators played that role and succeeded in getting the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which includes an indefinite ceasefire agreement which came into effect on February 23, 2002, replacing the two unilateral ceasefire declarations that existed since December 24, 2001.

However, in the long process of negotiations since the December 2001 general elections in which the United National Front (UNF) emerged victorious and the new Prime Minister Wickremesinghe invited Norway to resume the peace initiative, Norway’s role has gradually changed from a facilitator to that of a mediator. Hence, Norway’s role now includes clarifying ambiguous issues, offering suggestions to the two sides, participating in the negotiations and formulating proposals for the consideration of the two parties. The upgraded role of the Norwegians is something to take assurance in, especially to guard against a sudden breakdown of the ceasefire. The failure of the previous round of peace talks in 1995 was due in part to the unavailability of a trusted third party to bridge the gap in trust that had arisen over five decades of ethnic conflict, broken political promises and broken ceasefire agreements.

Although India intervened in the ethnic problem and later played a dual role of a patron-cum-mediator before becoming an active participant, in recent years, the Indian perspective has changed making New Delhi’s role limited to that of a keen observer. In the early 1980s the Indian intervention was due to intrusion of foreign mercenaries in its vicinity, which aroused its security concerns. Furthermore Sri Lanka’s gestures to the West were also impinged on India’s security sensitivities in the South Asian region (7).

However, in the current Norwegian mediation and the induction of a Team of Ceasefire Observers from Nordic countries, India refrained from making any covert or overt objection. Sri Lanka too, learning from past bitter experiences, made it a point to keep India briefed on developments at every stage.

Interestingly, there is a convergence of approaches between the LTTE and the Government on peace. They seem to have a shared understanding of peace: de-escalation of war. This conceptualization could be described as ‘negative peace’ or merely the absence of war. It is basically a conflict management, a pragmatic approach that falls far short of ‘positive peace’, meaning the eradication of conditions that produced, and may re-produce, the conflict. Positive peace involves redressing structural causes of the conflict, reforming the state and political structures, community reconciliation and peace building, democratization, returning to normal politics, human rights, re-integration of communities and many more reconstructive measures.

Facing a disastrous economic collapse with negative growth rate due to mishandling of the economy and the ethnic problem by the former regime, the United National Front (UNF) government finds itself unable to finance the high intensity war. For the LTTE, in the context of global war against terrorism, political engagement with the government for some time to come is a basic political compulsion. For lasting peace in Sri Lanka through ethnic conflict resolution, a limited peace process has positive consequences. The most positive aspect of the present situation is that both the government and the LTTE have opened up a political front and both sides want to stay in it at least for some time. Then, there is the international community, with its limited resources, to make the two sides accountable in their behaviour. If the present ceasefire extends for some time to come, with de-escalation of the war, it may generate new dynamics for conflict transformation. Normalisation of civilian life, the return of the refugees and the displaced, reconstruction and the reintegration of the communities, people-to-people contacts – all these are possibilities that can transform the logic of the present conflict, making conflict resolution preferable to conflict management of the pragmatic kind (8).

Post 9/11 Impact

There are two levels at which the post-September 11 world is likely to have influenced the LTTE’s strategic thinking: diasporaic politics and the role of non-stare actors in global politics. The LTTE’s continuing commitment to a military strategy alone to serve what they call the political aspirations of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka would have reinforced the argument that the LTTE was essentially a terroristic entity that has been operating not only in Sri Lanka, but also in a large number of western cities. The harsh anti-terrorist moves by the Western governments, if directed against the LTTE too, would have criminalized vast networks of Tamil diasporic politics, spread throughout the globe and controlled by the LTTE. Hence, the LTTE leadership was probably compelled to protect the interests of the Tamil diaspora abroad, by opening up a political front in Sri Lanka.

The second point of closing up the space for non-state actors in global politics was clearly demonstrated by the US military offensive and eventual destruction of Al-Quaeda as well as Taliban movements. The Anglo-American handling of the post-September 11 world very clearly demonstrated that the period in which non-state political movements with counter-state military agendas could operate freely and globally had effectively come to an end.

The destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan brought into power and sustained by the pro-US Pakistani military-political elite, was in a way a decisive turning point in the post-Cold War global political order. What it indicated is that there is a US commitment to reconstituting and managing the global nation-state system as defined in the worldview of the US right wing. In this particular scheme of things, ‘terrorists’ are primarily those non-state actors engaged in threatening or breaking up existing states locked into the US-led global system of nation states. It is quite possible that the LTTE leadership understood these changing dynamics of global politics and responded with a remarkable sense of political sharpness (9).

Security of Sri Lankan State

Regional influences and power interplay have taken a dominant and effective role on defence and security of a nation state. This took a pronounced effect after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Sri Lanka, too internal strife and domestic problems were drawn to the vortex of regional influences. India’s involvement in the ethnic imbroglio, which is the national security problem of Sri Lanka is a clear example. The regional dimension of Sri Lanka’s national security is now the prominent feature and the determinants of her security policies. The national security framework, defence expenditure, military outlay and all the consequential effects of such developments carry with them the regional imprint of influence.

Many lacunas the in Sri Lankan state’s capacity to provide peace and security became evident from time to time. The many convulsions that Sri Lanka has experienced in the last two decades, the communal clashes, the insurgencies and the ethnic problem have been of sufficient frequency as to raise the question of the capacity of the state’s institutions to maintain peace and security. This has been construed as a failure of Sri Lanka’s constitutional arrangements in 1948, the 1972 republican constitution and the 1978 constitution and its amendments including the 13th amendment enacted after signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987.

The Sri Lankan state’s realist approach to security came under criticism from both Tamil and Sinhala militant groups. They contested the state concept of security in the name of social justice to the minority Tamils by the former and to the under privileged classes by the latter. Hence, constitutional arrangements to devolve substantial powers are essential to ensure a secure environment for all the citizens of Sri Lanka. Both the government and the LTTE recognized the MoU signed on February 23, 2002 as the first step in the process of resolving the ethnic problem, which is described by many as one of the most complex and intractable of the world’s many conflicts.

Though earlier attempts to solve the ethnic problem and negotiations in Thimpu (1985), Bangalore (1986), New Delhi and Colombo (1987), Jaffna and Colombo (1989-90 and 1995) ended in failure, there is optimism in the current peace initiative due to several internal and external factors. Post September 11 global anti-terrorism drive and the banning of LTTE in the US, Canada, UK and Australia in addition to India and Sri Lanka has brought on pressures on the LTTE to enter into peaceful negotiations and to seriously consider an available alternative to the demand for a separate Tamil state. The change in international scenario has compelled the Tamil diaspora to exert pressures on the LTTE to accept the ceasefire and enter into negotiations. As the LTTE largely depends on the funds from the large Tamil community settled in North America, Europe and Australia for its sustenance after depleting of the support from Tamil Nadu, the militant organization is not in a position to ignore the dictates of the Diaspora.

Apart from the international developments listed above, the internal peace constituency has also witnessed a new growth in recent years. In a recent survey conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives to gauge the impact of local and international political developments on public attitudes towards the peace process, it was revealed that 80.7 percent of Sri Lankans feel that peace could be brought about only through peace talks. This public faith in a negotiated settlement has been on an upward trend since May 2001 when it was at 59 percent. During the same period the public backing for a military solution to the ethnic problem declined from 20 percent to 9.9 percent.

Conditions could not be more conducive for the working out of a political solution to the conflict. Outlining the Government strategy, Economic Reform, Science and Technology Minister Milinda Moragoda said that if the interim agreement has generated genuine and transparent cooperative conduct on both sides, and the existence of a climate of confidence is established, there would seem to be no reason to delay implementation of a negotiated devolution package, an. The beginning of a new era of peace and accelerated economic development would benefit all citizens.

But even after an agreed devolution of powers, and the resumption of normal social and economic exchanges among all parts of the country, there will remain the immense task of preparing the minds of future generations to absorb the lessons of a tragic past, so as to prevent repetition of the death and destruction that marked the last two decades of the twentieth century (10).

Policy makers of Sri Lanka now seek to ensure security in a globalised economic security arrangement rather than a limited regional arrangement. They feel that the country should maximize the natural advantages it enjoys. Minister of Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy, Investment Promotion and Constitutional Affairs G. L. Peiris who is the Government Spokesman said that one of the natural advantages of Sri Lanka is its geographical location. “We are in relation to the sub-continent of India in a situation somewhat analogous to the former colony of Hong Kong vis--vis mainland China. That is why we found it relatively easy to enter into a Free Trade Agreement with India. The Prime Minister has been able to stimulate interest in Singapore with regard to such an agreement being entered into between the two countries. It is our intention this year to make high level visits to the US to work towards a conclusion of a similar agreement between Sri Lanka and the US. Sri Lanka must not be seen merely as a market of 18.5 million people. On the contrary Sri Lanka must be seen as a point of entry to the entirety of the markets of the sub-continent”(11).

Following the visit of Wickremesinghe to Delhi in June 2002, which was his second visit to India since becoming Prime Minister, two significant agreements were signed between the two countries. In the first agreement Sri Lanka agreed to lease out oil storage tanks at the Trincomalee port to Oil Cooperation of India. Under the second agreement, an exclusive free trade zone for Indian investors will be created at Trincomalee. These two measures will ensure an Indian involvement in economic development and security in the strategically important eastern town of Trincomalee. Referring to the agreements, security analysts said that the establishment of the Export Processing Zone which supplements the leasing of oil tanks to India would result in a tightening of security in the eastern province with a major Indian presence (12).

At the conclusion of a his visit to Colombo in July 2002, Indian External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, the two countries stated that global terrorism is a threat to international peace and security, and cannot be justified on any grounds whether political, ethnic, religious, social or economic. Mr Sinha reaffirmed India’s full support to the measures taken by the Sri Lankan Government to take the peace process forward (13).

In order to sustain the peace momentum, Wickremesinghe should draw sufficient attention to political management of the peace process. Already fissures in the domestic political scene have begun to impact on the peace process. Attempts at forging an opposition alliance between the Kumaratunga’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party, radical Marxist group Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Sinhala hardline Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) have been underway, indicating that opposition politics, in the absence of any other credible option in any other issue, are once again back to negative and destructive nationalist resistance. Hence, a properly managed peace process would stand a better chance of success with a capacity to withstand the pressures, contradictions and dilemmas that the conditions of no-war are certain to generate.

Colombo - September 2002

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Notes:

1.- Jayasekera, P.V.J., Sri Lanka’s Security Problem, Colombo, 1995

2.- Abeysekera, Charles, et al, Unitarism, Devolution and majoritarian Elitism: A Response top the Interim Report of the Sinhala Commission, Social Scientists’ Association, Colombo 1998

3.- The Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) agreed September 18,2002, to have more rounds of peace talks, continuing a process to end the country's 19-year-old civil war.

"The most important outcome of the talks is that we decided to go on with the process," G.L. Peiris, Sri Lanka's top negotiator told a press conference after the first round of peace talks between the two sides during Sept. 16 and Sept. 18 in eastern Thainaval base of Sattahip, 250 km southeast of Bangkok.

"Both sides are determined to bring the peace process forward and the key message of the talks is that this is a promising start for both sides to take practical steps to find a final solution," said Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen, broker of the peace talks.

As both sides agreed, three more rounds of talks will take place between Oct. 31 and Jan. 9 next year in venues yet to be decided.

The talks, the first ones in seven years, signals a landmark beginning in a process to end one of the contemporary world's longest and bloodiest internal conflicts which has claimed 64,500 lives and displaced 1.8 million people in that tiny South Asian state of 19 million since 1983.

The event followed a Norway-brokered cease-fire deal in February, which paved the way of the historic talks.

"The parties affirmed their determination to continue upholding the cease-fire agreement and expanding the range of confidence-building measures over the period ahead," said a statement issued by Norwegian brokers.

Based on the truce deal, the two sides agreed this time to set up a joint committee consisting of senior representatives from each side to tackle emergent issues in the war-torn areas in Sri Lanka's north and east, or officially-called "High Security Zones",it said.

A joint task-force will be also formed to carry out humanitarian relief work in those areas, focusing on clearing some1.5 million landmines there and facilitating the return of civilians displaced during the war.

To achieve the goals, both sides urged more financial assistance from the international community, but they are yet to figure out how much money will be needed.

"We also had preliminary talks on the setup of the interim administration in the north and east," said Peiris, noting that the government will try to fulfill "the LTTE's aspirations" under the precondition of "national unity and territorial integrity."

The LTTE, self-claimed defender of Sri Lanka's minority Tamils,has been fighting against government troops since 1983 for an independent Tamil state separated from the Sinhalese-dominated island nation.

However, the LTTE's top negotiator and ideologue Anton Balsingham said the organization is not playing with the concept of "a separate state," but "wants to realize the dreams of Tamil self-determination."

He insisted that the LTTE should lead the proposed interim administration in north and east of that country, but interests ofthe Sinhalese and Muslim communities there will also be "well represented."

Balsingham said LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, who is in a unknown place of the Tamil-controlled areas, is "pleased with the remarkable and constructive success of the talks which will definitely continue."

As for the disarmament of the 6,000-strong LTTE with famous suicide attack squads, Balsingham said it is still premature to talk about it since the issue of the LTTE's political status must be solved first.

Responding to worries that the talks will backfire among some of Sri Lanka's non-Tamil population who oppose any concessions to the once-violent LTTE, Peiris said "no one dares to defy the overwhelming public will for peace."

The negotiators from both sides are expected to meet again by the end of next month, likely in the same venue provided by Thailand. (People's Daily - English Edition 18/9/02)

4.- Statement issued after the visit of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to US on July 26, 2002

5.- Saravanamuttu, Paikiasothy, Sri Lanka in 1999, Asian Survey, Volume XL No 1, Jan/Feb 2000

6.- In December 1997, George Fernandes, then out of the Indian government, was the convenor of the International convention for Solidarity with the Eelam Tamil of Sri Lanka (I.C.S.E.T.S.L.) which was scheduled to be held at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) auditorium in New Delhi. Two days before the meeting was to take place, the Samata Party leader was informed by the Delhi police that permission to hold the conference would not be given. The Delhi police had also warned the FICCI authorities that it should not allow the 'misuse' of its premises for 'anti-national activity'. But Fernandes held a press conference, on 12th December 1997 and announced that the convention would take place, saying that if the ban was enforced, the Government of India would be going against the constitutional right to freedom of expression. "We have an opinion as to what happens in Sri Lanka and it cannot be tailored to the requirements of a family. Government have different opinions if it does not suit it or its proxy owners", he stated. Union Home Minister Inderjit Gupta requested George Fernandes to "re-consider" the decision to hold and participate in the convention. He pointed out in his letter that the LTTE leadership based abroad were trying to "re-activate" their support base in Tamil Nadu in the aftermath of the U.S. decision to declare the LTTE a "terrorist organisation". With this objective in view and at the "behest" of the LTTE leadership, the conference was being organised. The Home Minister said "reports" were received in this regard also indicated that "funds" for the purpose were being channelled from the US and Australia-based LTTE leaders, through Mr. Nedumaran. Mr. Fernandes, at the time of releasing copies of the letter to correspondents, had Mr. Nedumaran by his side. Mr. Fernandes, who strongly reacted to the contents of the letter, said it was being made out that he was either "an overground operator for underground LTTE of being a nit-wit". He said he had been to almost every convention as a "human rights activist" since 1983 in India and abroad. Furthermore the First Secretary of the Sri Lankan High Commission had expressed interest in attending the conference because of the nature of issues being discussed and a member of parliament from Sri Lanka, Mr. J. Pararajasingham, had already confirmed his participation. Finally the convention was held as scheduled, but in a different venue - at Mr. Fernandes' residence. Speaking at a press conference held on the eve of the convention, Mr. Fernandes criticized the ruling class of India for their indifference to the plight of the Eelam Tamil. "It is shameful that the Indian Government does not have a word to say against the fate of the Tamil who are at the receiving end of state sponsored terror by the Sinhala Army in Sri Lanka... There are very powerful groups in this country who would not care at all about the Tamil and they treat them as second class citizens. Fifty five million Tamils in Tamil Nadu are watching the indifference of the central government towards their brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka".

George Fernandes is currently the Defence Minister of India in the Vajapayee government.

7.- Sahadevan P, “Internationalization of Ethnic Conflict in South Asia” in “Regional Security in South Asia” Ed Jetly, Nancy, New Delhi 1999

8.- Pravada (editorial) Vol7 No8, 2002

9.- Uyangoda, Jayadeva “Sri Lanka’s Peace Process: Surprising Possibilities”, Pravada Vol 7 No 8, 2002

10.- Daily News, February 27, 2002

11.- Daily News, February 27, 2002

12.- The Island, July 8, 2002

13.- Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Statement, July 12, 2002

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