In his first comments after losing power in early January, Sri Lanka’s former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has pinned the blame on India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), for the situation in his country as well as in Pakistan. Rajapaksa was speaking to a journalist from the Pakistani daily, Dawn.
When the reporter told him that many Sri Lankans had mentioned how Pakistan helped in quelling the Tamil insurgency, and asked how this was the case, Rajapaksa said, “See the US, Europe, the west, they are not our friends. Pakistan helped us, especially Musharraf. What happened in my country and the insurgency in your country, RAW is behind it.”
Rajapaksa’s charge comes in the wake of a Reuters report in mid January, which said that a RAW official had been asked by the then Rajapaksa government to leave the country before the polls. This was in response to the perception of the old government that RAW had helped cobble up the opposition alliance, which eventually ousted Rajapaksa. The Ministry of External Affairs had rubbished the report, and said no movement of diplomatic personnel had taken place from the Indian embassy in Colombo before their scheduled tenure was over.
MEA did not respond to Rajapaksa’s charge immediately. But a serving intelligence official, speaking to HT, said, “Did we spawn terror in Pakistan? Did we alienate Tamils and Muslims and the Sinhalese opposition? It is easy to blame external actors when you are responsible for the internal mess.” He called it ‘cheap nationalist stunts’.