Indian Ocean is always a boiling point where several key players and stake holders compete to control a small piece at least to defend and exert certain amount of influence in the region.
India as it holds a large area of coastal which is about 5000 Km long and is a peninsula surrounded by three seas. Indian Ocean which is southern border to the nation lies beyond four major southern states.
There are two major Island nations in that region Sri Lanka and Maldives who are partnering with India in the organization called SAARC. Among the two India has long lasting relationship with Maldives which is more adoptive to Indian interests. But the other one Sri Lanka has its own path of international relations and quietly wields influence with the western powers and with in the region China and Pakistan, who are challenging Indian domination in the region.
In the post 1980 period Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem turned bitter and India has to intervene on behalf of suffering masses. Indhira Gandhi then prime minister of India visualizing long term security risks which India has to face decided to carve out a region from Sri Lanka in favor of India as she did with in the case of East Pakistan.
However, after the take over of the regime by her son the policy prescriptions had a u-turn and Indian interests wanted a direct hold on the neighbors. As in the case of Sri Lanka, Rajiv Gandhi believed a small devolution of powers will satisfy the Tamil Population experiencing genocide in the hands of majority Sinhalese.
Everything there after till the death (yet to be confirmed) of LTTE leader Prabhakaran remained same and an argument always underwent there with the guerilla organization responsible for killing of Rajiv Gandhi.
It is not the disappearance of Prabhakaran relieves the great risk of Indian security since the organization termed as ‘Terrorist’. Indian think tanks just echoed their counterparts of Sri Lanka and other western regimes, but the vacuum created in absence of such massive force not alone would affect Tamil population but also the Southern part of India. Tamil Eelam which could have become friendly towards India if the policy kept in favor of liberation wishes of Tamils had been consistent. Moreover, a buffer zone in case of tension in the region, in favor of India in case of attempt to attack over the country.
By taking into account of Sri Lanka’s past attitude in critical situations of India that was always negative; for example, when India was fighting in East Pakistan it helped Pakistan air force by providing landing and other emergency infrastructures, since India should be careful in designing foreign policy and its implementation. Secondly, Sri Lanka is in favor of Beijing in preventing India to become a permanent member of UN Security Council.
Since the end of LTTE the questions of Tamil Eelam can not undermined because still the people who should be consulted before determining their future. India responsibility is more to find a solution amicable way that is acceptable to all the stake holders.
Even if the Tamil Diaspora from the streets of Europe cries for a homeland eventually the west has to go along with the demand. The shadows of recent former Yugoslavia bifurcated into several ethnic nations remains fresh in the minds Tamil refugees. When India asked for any objections over formation of such separate nations, it is better to accept a separate nation rather than to reply negative in sake of long term security concerns.
Prevailing mind set of Sri Lanka to side with China rather than India in future will be a danger at door steps. Though India has to strengthen the coastal defence system in large scale, it is imperative to curtail defence initiatives by its opponents. Alternatively it can create a friendly state at its foot steps with strategic assistance and more.
At policy level, Tamil Eelam minus LTTE might be acceptable to India in such case Sri Lankan regime doest not act conducive to Tamil people’s aspirations. Otherwise acting in for Sri Lanka’s interests will not alone jeopardize the confidence of Tamils and also increase the vulnerability in security.
It is an open secret that China is helping strategically Sri Lanka in its war against the LTTE. The reciprocal is said to be conceding a part of Tamil territory for lease to the ‘dragon’ which may obviously to be used against India. However, an official statement in the parliament of Sri Lanka by their minister thanking India for its help in destroying LTTE show similar arrangements could be bargained by India. But there will be huge opposition in such bargaining by India since ethically it should stand behind genuine causes of Tamils. Sri Lankan Tamils issue is an emotional concern of Tamil Nadu and any injustice caused to them would be turn into bitter relationship with New Delhi and its northern leaders. Politically speaking it has contributed extensively in the era of coalition politics in government making at the centre. Lot of defence establishments located in the state and its contribution in freedom struggle was invaluable.
Tamil Nadu is the strategic state concerning with India in terms of politics, defence and economic subjects. The southern most border of the country lies with in the state boundary. The nations southern command located in the state’s capital of Chennai.
The Indian government should keep in mind all the complications that would generate out of its policy prescriptions related to Sri Lankan Tamil’s issue. There should be a permanent solution that is democratically acceptable to all. India should play a positive vital role to prove its democratic credentials unbiased and in favor of suffering ethnic Tamils of Sri Lanka.