Balasingham: LTTE seeks ‘new, creative’ relationship with India
[TamilNet, Sunday, 07 December 2003, 10:09 GMT]
Asserting the importance of the role of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in bringing about peace and stability to Sri Lanka, the movement’s theoretician, Mr Anton Balasingham, Saturday urged the Indian government to rethink and re-orientate its approach towards the organisation. Speaking at the Remembrance Day event in London, Mr Balasingham said the LTTE welcomed the international community’s efforts towards promoting peace in Sri Lanka, but would not accept the terms of a political solution being dictated to the Tamil people.
"We want a healthy relationship with India," Mr Balasingham, speaking in his first public address since taking an extended period of rest due to health reasons.
"We will not act in anyway prejudicial to India’s geo-political, strategic and economic interests. We want to establish friendly relations with the Government of India. As such we are seeking a radical change in India’s attitude," the LTTE’s political advisor told an audience of twelve thousand Tamil expatriates.
"There cannot be a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka without the involvement of the LTTE as we are the authentic representatives of the Tamil people," he said.
"If India wishes to play a significant role in the current peace process then she should not treat the LTTE as a hostile force. Both sides have made mistakes in the past. Let us put the past behind us and look forward. We urge India to adopt a new, creative approach and initiate friendly relations with our organisation," Mr Balasingham said.
Mr Balasingham condemned calls by Sinhala chauvinistic political parties, particularly the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Perumana (JVP), for Indian military intervention in the island’s ethnic conflict, saying these organisations merely wanted to provoke a new conflict between the LTTE and India to the detriment of both.
"The same parties that have been vehemently hostile to India in the past are now calling for (Delhi’s) military intervention in the ethnic conflict. They want to create a conflict between the LTTE and India and co-opt India into persecuting the Tamils," he said.
Explicating comments by the LTTE leader, Mr Vellupillai Pirapharan, in his Heroes’ Day address on November 27 Mr Balasingham criticised Sri Lankan Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe for creating space for excessive international intervention in the Tamil conflict. Characterising Mr Wickremesinghe’s political programme of creating an’ international safety net’ as a grand containment strategy, Mr Balasingham said that it was a calculated effort to bring undue international pressure to impose a solution on the Tamils.
"We welcome the support of the international community in promoting a negotiated political settlement and in alleviating the suffering of our people, but we cannot accept the imposition of limits on the Tamil people’s political aspirations by them," he said.
Mr Balasingham regretted that donor countries that had promised rehabilitation aid for the war-devastated northeast, had also insisted on defining the parameters of a political solution the Tamil people should accept in exchange.
"Our people alone must decide on their political status and destiny, not international actors," Mr Balasingham said.