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For Lanka, India matters

Analysts believe that now Colombo will further pressure New Delhi to play an active role in the peace bid, writes Meenakshi Iyer.

india Updated: May 01, 2006 16:33 IST

Two decades of bloodshed, truce violations, mass displacements and peace parleys going on and off the platter has left little hope for Sri Lanka -- a nation battling for peace.

To quote the numbers, over 64,000 have died during the conflict, 800,000 displaced and another 200,000 have fled to southern India.

A splurge in the violence and the recent attack on Lankan army headquarters has raised fears that the island could be sliding back to war.

Lanka has had enough of wars and the need of the hour is peace. Considering the developments, only international pressure can force the warring groups to settle down amicably.

As for international pressure, countries like US, EU, Norway and India condemned the attack. Lauding the reactions, the Sri Lankan media has described the world action as a 'crucial factor'.

"...the world is fully behind Sri Lanka in her effort to forge ahead to a fair and honourable peace, despite the ominous shadow cast by the LTTE," says the Daily News.

"Particularly encouraging are the statement of unreserved condemnation isued by the Tokyo co-chairs, the SLMM, Norwegian, US and Indian governments," the paper says.

As regards India, it has voiced deep concern over the recent escalation in violence in the eastern part of Sri Lanka and hoped that the talks between the Govt and LTTE commence soon.

But nothing beyond that and quite unlike what it did in Nepal.

In the aftermath of the recent attack, political strategists here believe that now Colombo will further pressurise New Delhi to play a pro-active role in the peace talks.

The Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels have been time and again calling for an active Indian intervention in the peace bid. But India has consistently turned it down.

After the Rajiv-Jayawardene pact in 1987, India had sent its peacekeepers to disarm the Tamil Tigers. But widespread opposition to their presence forced India to pull out the peace keeping force in 1990.

After a year, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed by an LTTE woman suicide bomber.

Since then, India has stayed off and given an apparent message to Lanka that they are not willing to burn their fingers again.

Moreover, with elections round the corner in Tamil Nadu, it is highly unlikely to expect India to make some tough moves. Though, it may further put pressure on the LTTE post polls.

First Published: Apr 29, 2006 19:03 IST