The visit by Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong to Jaffna on December 16, the United States ongoing travel restrictions on Sri Lankan military personnel, and India’s eager to implement the 13th Amendment are all events that took place later part of last year.
India’s attempts to entrap the Sri Lankan government, which is mired in economic crisis, have created a situation in which China is looking for a bargaining chip. Its manifestations were the visit of the Chinese ambassador, which sought to maintain good relations with the Tamils. Assistance to Tamil fishermen affected by Indian and Sinhala fishermen, improve fisheries development projects, assistance to the Jaffna Library, which was burnt by Sri Lankan Sinhala politicians in 1980s. Chinese regime is agreed to convert the Jaffna library into an e-library, and they also paid homage to the famous Nallur Kandaswamy temple in the north.
China has not shown any interest in political, economic, cultural or social activities in the northern and eastern regions in the past, but now it indicates that China has not abandoned Tamils.
Sri Lankan opposition leader Sajith Premadasa then donated dialysis machines worth Rs. 20 million to hospitals in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. This Chinese assistance, provided through the Leader of the opposition party without considering the Provincial Ministry of Health, shows China’s desire to pursue a policy of embracing all parties in Sri Lanka.
At the same time, doubts have arisen in southern Sri Lanka as to whether China is indirectly planning to exert economic pressure on the Sri Lankan government. Although the Sri Lankan government has decided to pay $ 6.7 million penalty for importing organic fertilizers, Seawin Biotech group Ltd. has asked the Chinese government to impose an embargo on Sri Lanka. It also recommended that restrictions be imposed on tea imported from Sri Lanka.
In the meantime, the United States has lost its hope of making a move through India to use Tamils’ issue to exert pressure on Sri Lanka and is seeking to do so directly through its allies. Its manifestations are the resolutions brought to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Not only that, but it is now seeking to use Tamil politicians within it.
The fact that the Sinhalese are thwarting US development projects in Sri Lanka with the backing of regional powers, and that the Sri Lankan government is seeking the financial help from regional powers, rather than the International Monetary Fund, to solve their economic crisis shows that all moves taken by west on Sri Lanka are failing.
It is in this context that the US is intensifying its actions against Sri Lanka. The U.S. State Department, which imposed a travel ban on two army officers a few weeks ago, has now imposed a ban on one more general.
More than that, it is also expressing its interest in the development activities being carried out in the North and East by the Tamil Diaspora Organizations. It should come as no surprise that the US will involve itself in the development activities of the Tamils in the future.
As for India, it is struggling to regain its lost grip. India is keen on the principle that Tamil parties should collectively call on India to implement the 13th Amendment, and well-known political sources said that the Colombo based Indian Ambassador has been working day and night to unite Tamil and Muslim parties on 13th Amendment issue.
We have always insisted that we should have a clear foreign policy to handle or use these geopolitical moves. But it is true that in the present situation such a policy does not exist with the Tamil political parties in the homeland or with the diaspora organizations. But we can create it.
Today some of us are against India, some oppose China, some criticise the West. We had a clear foreign policy before 2009, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam did not oppose to any country; no words were used against anyone. Following the ceasefire agreement in 2002, Chinese embassy officials in Sri Lanka traveled to the Vanni, and the LTTE maintained good relations with the regional powers.
Not only that, the LTTE team went to many countries and carried out dialogue to maintain good relationship with all countries. South Africa was such an important country, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was instrumental in forging strong friendships between South Africa and the Tamils.
He took part in the liberation struggle of South Africa and worked closely with the late Nelson Mandela, a South African freedom fighter and head of state. He fought for the oppressed people and also worked for our liberation. It is noteworthy that his role was instrumental in mobilizing African nations in support of the early resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
He died on the 26th of December 2021. The Tamils has lost a good friend, a platform to take the demands of our issues to the global.
We think that we do not have a clear foreign policy. But when there was a Shadow government in the North and East, we had a clear foreign policy. Tamil Eelam government did not work against any country or people, but the reason for the current devastation is that today we forget our history and run on our own benefits.
We have a duty to rectify it as soon as possible, because the activities of the international community in relation to the Sri Lankan issue are changing rapidly.