India has made it manifest that it is not happy in the way the Sri Lankan government of President Mahindra Rajapaksa is treating the Tamil minority, following the defeat of one of the most virulent strain of terror-laced insurgency.

The insurgency ended four years ago with the death of the deadliest terrorist of his times - Thiruvenkadam Velupillai Prabhakaran - at the hands of the Sri Lankan security forces.

To castigate Sri Lanka, India is using the platform of UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and the lead provided by a US sponsored resolution condemning it for committing anti-Tamil atrocities during and following the anti-insurgency operations.

Brazenly interfering in its internal affairs, the Indian leadership at the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights Group in Geneva, said that it hoped “for an early progress towards reconciliation (between majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils), the reduction of high security zones and the return of private land by the military.”

India, nevertheless, has a long history of playing a double game of supporting the LTTE terrorists and then coming around to lend a helping hand to the counterinsurgency efforts by the Sri Lankan government to find strategic leverage to check the country’s pro- China leanings.

Another factor that played out significantly in this charade is the strident Tamil nationalism in India’s southern states. It raked up separatism among the Tamils in Sri Lanka, who inhabit the northern and eastern parts of the island nation.

Prabhakaran, the moving spirit behind Tamil separatism, remained the darling of India’s establishment, as well as the Tamil regional parties in the Indian south. In a close parallel to the manner of raising Mukti Bahini for operations in East Pakistan, India provided him with the space among the Tamil-dominated south along with ample material support to organise LTTE as a feared force, which turned the north and east of the country into no-go areas for the Lankan security forces.

As the menace of separatism grew, New Delhi offered Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte an accord that allow the landing of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) under General Harkirat Singh to quell the insurgency. The accord signed in Colombo by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Prime Minister Junius Richard Jayewardene in July 1987 led to large-scale protests and the event acquired an iconic touch with the snapshot of a Sri Lankan naval rating, Rohana de Silva, attacking the Indian VIP with his rifle, while his companions in the honour guard stood at present arms.

New Delhi’s ambitions to find a military toehold in Sri Lanka failed to materialise as the LTTE turned out to be a hard nut to crack, stretching the Indian expeditionary force to the limits of its endurance. The mission was called off in 1990 and when the last ship carrying the IPKF sailed from Trincomalee, the Indians had 1,555 men killed, 2,987 injured and had spent Rs 10 billion in the jungles of northern Sri Lanka on a pain-ridden wild goose chase. As a postscript, it should be pertinent to recollect that in May 1991, Rajiv, the mentor of Indian military misadventure in Sri Lanka, who was then on the verge of reclaiming his prime ministerial office was assassinated in a suicide attack by a LTTE suicide bomber in Tamil Nadu.

No appraisal of Indo-Sri Lanka equation can be complete without bringing into reckoning the separatist ambitions of Tamil politicians of the Indian south, who harbour the ambition of returning to the grandeur of a Tamil nation state.

Since the late 1800s, the history of Tamil Nadu is driven by an ambition among the Tamil people for self-rule over a state comprising Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra, Karnataka, and the proposed states of Eelam in northeastern Sri Lanka and Malaya Nadu in plantation areas of central Sri Lanka.

The strident political clout of the Tamil regional parties in the overall coalition based political scenario in India has given added weightage to the Tamil Nadu factor, which carries with it a history of campaigning for separatism and an impulse to interfere in the internal matters of Sri Lanka concerning the Tamil minority.

Many analysts believe that the Indian accommodation of the Tamil card in the realm of local and regional politics has widened the fissures of separatism within India; many prophesying that Tamil Nadu could well turn out to be “Kashmir of the south”.

Anyway, India played an active role in supporting and directing the operations of LTTE cadres, who have finally been tamed through a determined and bloody military campaign by the Sri Lankan Army. The Indian advisories to Sri Lanka, from the podium of international human rights watch organisations to conduct independent and credible investigation into allegations of civilian deaths during the period of counterinsurgency campaigning is totally uncalled for.

Likewise its pontification to Sri Lanka to ensure welfare of the Tamils, which comprise 12 percent of the island’s population on the basis that they share close cultural and familial links with 62 million strong Tamils community in south India, is manifestly stepping on the toes of its small neighbour and a brazen violation of its national sovereignty.

On its part, however, India has yet to come clean with its sponsorship of the LTTE terrorists and the grave human rights violations they perpetrated on innocent Sri Lankans. New Delhi also needs to acknowledge the role played by its intelligence agencies and the “Kazagham” parties that have embraced the separatist elements from Sri Lanka with open arms, providing them with logistics, weapons and safe sanctuaries to bleed their native land.

On such occasions India also needs to look inwards and pledge to conduct transparent investigations into the human rights abuses in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK). For one, numerous mass graves that dot the IHK landscape need to be forensically investigated to determine the identities of luckless individuals that were summarily disposed of by India’s armed forces, operating with impunity under the overarching umbrella of draconian laws.

The writer is a freelance columnist.