Feature Article

Correlating ‘optics’ of TNA is the need of the hour

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 December 2019, 23:19 GMT]
The global and regional powers engaged in their geopolitical access negotiations with the sitting regimes in Colombo would continue to advise the leaders of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to regard the Tamil national question as an internal affair of the ‘Sri Lankan’ state. The personalities at the helm of the TNA affairs have also succumbed to this advice, particularly after 2009. The Tamil civil society and the grassroots must address this ‘optical nerve problem’ of the TNA. The disease cannot be allowed to continue even after the Rajapaksa brothers coming to power in the South, commented Tamil activists for alternative politics in Jaffna. The Rajapaksa siblings have vowed to consolidate the unitary state, which is already illegitimate as far as the nation of Eezham Tamils is concerned, they said.

In the meantime, former Indian Foreign Service diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar has made a new comment stating that New Delhi committed a “diplomatic faux pas” by rushing Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar to Colombo “to broach the Tamil issue upfront on Day 1 with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa”.

However, the Sinhala leaders’ diplomacy has always managed “to string the north Indian ruling elite along,” observes Bhadrakumar.

The former Indian diplomat was drawing parallels between the late SL President J.R. Jayawardene and Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“There is an eerie similarity in the self-confidence exuded by Jayewardene and Rajapaksa in their search for an equal relationship with India.

“[Gotabaya] Rajapaksa will expect India to observe the red line. He even dispensed with any gesture welcoming India as an interlocutor on the Tamil issue. To borrow the words of the Modi government, Rajapaksa regards the Tamil issue as Sri Lanka’s ‘internal matter’,” Bhadrakumar observes.

“[Gotabaya] Rajapaksa has nipped in the bud any US-Indian game plan to pressure Sri Lanka on the human-rights front to force it to get on board the Indo-Pacific bandwagon,” he said in the analysis after Rajapaksa-visit to New Delhi. The piece, published by Hong-Kong based Asia Times, was titled “Sri Lanka continues its delicate dance with India”.

TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran when addressing a meeting organised by the Bar Association in Jaffna on 11 February 2017 revealed in his own words that the TNA was intentionally avoiding to urge India to exert pressure on the SL State to resolve the national question. He called it “TNA optics”.

Not urging India or other States to exert pressure on the regime in Colombo to deliver a political solution to resolve the national question was the so-called optics of TNA’s diplomacy, Mr Sumanthiran said at that time.

The TNA should clarify whether its “optics” remains the same even after Rajapaksas coming to power in South. The independent Tamil civil society activists and the grassroots have to course-correct the primary optical deficiency of the TNA, the Tamil activists in Jaffna commented.

External Links:
Asia Times: Sri Lanka continues its delicate dance with India



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