Paul Johnson puts the Sri Lankan ethnic problem in its proper perspective. We are happy that The Times has finally realized the treacherous role played by India in the escalating violence in Sri Lanka.
The United Sri Lanka Assn. has been monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka since the ethnic crisis of July, 1983. We always believed that the ethnic problems are an internal Sri Lankan problem that had to be resolved by the government and people of Sri Lanka. We were therefore totally opposed to any Indian role in the resolution of this crisis.
India has a tradition of aggression against its neighbors. As so aptly stated by Johnson, it invaded and occupies most of Kashmir, tried to settle its border disputes with China by force, and sent in its army to partition Pakistan and create the state of Bangladesh.
It is now apparently trying to partition Sri Lanka by supporting the separatist Tamil terrorists who are demanding an autonomous state in the north and east of Sri Lanka.
India has been crying foul anytime the Sri Lankan government took steps to assert government authority in areas controlled by the terrorists. It made its intentions clear by taking the extreme measure of violating Sri Lankan sovereignty by flying in Indian Air Force transport jets accompanied by Mirage jet fighters in order to drop supplies to the Tamil terrorists. In spite of all this it has the gall to portray itself as an impartial mediator in the ethnic crisis.
In light of the above, it is tragic that U.S. State Department policy to date, regarding the Sri Lankan problem, is to arrive at a negotiated political solution under the auspices of Indian mediation.
As recent history has shown us, the U.S. State Department has been known to misjudge the political realities of regions of the world undergoing strife. It has been at the wrong side at the wrong time, in more than one occasion. In Sri Lanka's case there should be no confusion. It's a democracy, an ally of the United States. It's high time the State Department realized this, and work with the Sri Lankan government to defeat separatist Tamil terrorism. We fear that until Tamil terrorism is eliminated there will be no political solution, and unless there is a political solution it will be a matter of time before Sri Lanka will be one or more communist states.
United Sri Lanka Assn.