Feature Article

Indian intelligence think-tank studying China to meet in Chennai

[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 November 2010, 08:31 GMT]
“China’s relations with neighbouring countries having territorial disputes including India have somewhat come under strain. It has become important for the latter to factor the reasons behind China’s apparent assertiveness in their formulations of policies towards Beijing,” says the concept paper of a national seminar “Rise of China: Implications for Asian Neighbours,” convened on 17 December at Hotel Savera by three academic-intelligence outfits of India based in Chennai. One of them was founded a year ago to ‘sensitise the people of South India to the complex political, economic and security problems facing India and its South Asian neighbours’. Many of the participants of the seminar, addressed as renowned Sinologists, were actively involved in blunting the national question of Eezham Tamils.

Indian Centre for South Asian Studies (ICSAS), Chennai Centre for China Studies (CCCS) and Centre for Asia Studies (CAS), all based in Chennai and started within the last three years are the conveners of the national seminar.

ICSAS started a year ago is headed by, Mr. Sukumar Nambiar.

Mr. B.S. Raghavan, retired IAS and a former chief secretary to West Bengal and Tripura, Mr. R. Swaminathan, a retired IPS of 1950s and a former central government secretary (Intelligence Bureau) and V. Suryanarain, retired professor of Madras University and currently a member of the National Security Advisory Board, are office bearers of CCCS, set up in 2007. Mr. D.S. Rajan is the director of this centre.

The CAS started in 2008 is being run by, Dr. S. Narayan, a retired IAS and a former economic advisor to the prime minister, retired commodore R. S. Vasan of the Indian Navy and Prof. V. Suryanarain.

Apart from them, the participants of the seminar include Col. R. Hariharan, a former intelligence officer of the IPKF and currently an associate of the CCCS, Mr. B. Raman, a retired additional secretary of the Cabinet Secretariat (RAW), Dr. S. Chandrasekaran, director of the South Asia Analyses Group, New Delhi and a former Deputy Director of the RAW, Ambassadors Shashank, a former foreign secretary, Mr. Ranjit Gupta and Mr. C.V. Ranganathan, and professors, Binod Misra, Mohanan Pillai, Yagama Reddy and Brahma Chellaney.

The sessions will discuss “China and it Neighbours” and “How should India Respond”

The proceedings of the seminar along with its recommendations will be published for the benefit of policy makers as well as researchers and experts in India and other Asian nations, according to a brochure of the seminar.

The think-tank of India’s strategic foreign policy is largely dominated by one or two social groups of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

But the think-tank members, who have gone on record for decades in their involvement with the island called Sri Lanka, never conceded that Eezham Tamils are a nation in the island and their long and chronic tragedy has to be approached in ways appropriate to national questions.

The biased approach of this group was largely responsible for the rift between Eezham Tamils and the Indian Establishment; it masked right perspectives reaching the masses and elite in North India; it contributed to the genocide of Eezham Tamils in the island and ultimately it paved way for the China syndrome knocking the doors of South India. Now they want to discuss what to do about it and perhaps how to pawn some more Tamil interests for their mistakes, commented a senior media person in Chennai.

However there were exceptions like Prof. Brahma Chellaney from the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, Prof. Yagama Reddy from Venkateswara University, Thirupathi and Prof V. Suryanarayan of post-Mu’l’livaaykkal times. They were vocal about the blunders of the Indian Establishment. But there were no clear voices on appropriate solutions even though they all know well about the historical impotency of Sri Lankan state in finding any solutions within a single state.

Addressing Eezham Tamil diaspora and representatives from the Sri Lankan High Commission in London a few days ago, Dr. Chandrasekaran, a former Deputy Director of the RAW who was long dealing with Tamil militant organizations said that India never accepted secession in the island. He further said that it may take some time for Colombo to come out with solutions and Tamils should be patient till then, according to a London-based Tamil website of collaboration agenda, which was one of the two organizers of the meeting.

According to Dr. Chandrasekaran, the Tamil question in the island is not an important issue to fast developing Tamil Nadu since the concentration of Tamil Nadu is on development.

He also said that integration of the Tamil territories of the North and East is not possible at present times and Tamils in the island are also not very particular about it.

The following are some of the observations of Chandrasekaran cited by the media:

“The Indian position is 13+++, and it never promised Tamil Eelam. When arms in the hands of the Tamil movements became dangerous India helped the army of Sri Lanka. India can’t say anything on Sri Lanka keeping its army in the north and east. It is a matter of Sri Lanka’s security, similar to India keeping army in Kashmir. Rajapaksa knows well that India’s security concerns will not allow Tamil Eelam. India will not like UN involvement in the island as UN in Nepal interfered with Indian affairs. India will oppose war crimes accusations against Rajapaksa, as India faces similar accusations in Kashmir. The diaspora should stop politics of confrontation and should come out of ‘both the LTTEs’. India insists that Sri Lanka should come out with solution pre-empting the diaspora from coming out with another struggle, for which the diaspora is capable of.”

Political observers are of the opinion that Chandrasekaran’s visit to London was to sound the diaspora before the visit of the Indian Foreign Minister, S.M. Krishna to Jaffna to open an Indian High Commission office there. Mr. Krishna is expected to tell something on solution.

About China, Mahinda Rajapaksa will not cross the limit set by India is the belief of Chandrasekaran. The faith may be originating from the fact that India stood by Mahinda Rajapaksa in setting the ‘limit’ at Mu’l’livaaykkaal.

Meanwhile, the Indian military chief recently hinted at the unpredictability of China in the northeast frontier borders of India. The situation in Arunachal Pradesh is tense. New Delhi is unable to run its institutions there. In the name of fighting the Maoists India is waging a war in the model of Sri Lanka in the land of the tribals, involving peoples of several states. Thanks to the policy planners it is thoroughly confused on what to do about China in the island of Sri Lanka. Colombo is systematically building military bases across the Palk Strait not merely to squeez the Tamils.

Political observers caution that under such circumstances Indian policy planners will only follow their age-old folly of sacrificing the interests of Tamils to keep Colombo in good humour. The present bunch of policy planners is not capable of going anywhere beyond it, but some of them will be used only to con and delude Eezham Tamils, the observers said.

Unless Eezham Tamils come out with an innovative foreign policy and innovative actions nothing positive could happen to them. A combination of at least two powers is needed to make the Indian Establishment to shed its impotent arrogance and make it to listen to reason, the observers further said.

Another observation they made was on changed times. Unlike the 1980s India has no influence on the younger generation of the Eezham Tamil diaspora. Unless India is genuine and result producing, it can neither win nor con this generation, the observers said.


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