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India Strategically Loses Sri Lanka Due to Ambivalent Policies
|by Dr. Subhash Kapila|
Sri Lanka inflicted a crushing military defeat on the LTTE insurgency which plagued the island nation for nearly twenty five years. LTTE Chief Prabhakaran and the entire hierarchy of the LTTE now stood decimated. In this hour of Sri Lanka's magnificent victory, India as a regional power with significant strategic stakes in Sri Lanka should have stood out as a significant contributory power to this victory. In a strange twist of strategic irony, it were Pakistani supplied tanks, reportedly Pakistani piloted fighter aircraft and Pakistani supplied ammunition which paved the final victorious assault by Sri Lankan Armed Forces on the LTTE strongholds. In a further strategic irony, Sri Lanka stood politically emboldened by China's political support to ignore UN and Indian advice for a last minute ceasefire. India thus stood lost out strategically in Sri Lanka mainly due to her ambivalent foreign policy where Tamil Nadu's domestic politics were allowed by the Congress Government to dominate India's strategic interests pertaining to Sri Lanka.
Seemingly, in sheer exasperation, the Sri Lanka Government turned to Pakistan and China to fill the strategic void which India's flawed foreign policy had caused.
Sri Lanka Strategically Important for India (January 11, 2006)
While India today may contribute millions of dollars to Sri Lanka for reconstruction of the war ravaged areas and show its sympathies for the Sri Lankan Tamils, the impact would be limited to that community only. In the critical stages of Sri Lanka's war against the LTTE, India should have forcefully demonstrated that it would not allow the devaluation of Sri Lanka in its strategic calculus . What India demonstrated was that India was prone to sacrifice its national security interests on the grounds of domestic political expediency.
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