India Intelligence Report

   LTTE Wants EU Monitors Removed



  • After terrorism-linked ban, LTTE does not trust EU truce monitors, Lanka Government does not want change

  • LTTE accuses Sri Lanka Government on atrocities

  • LTTE asks India to help

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has categorically told Norwegian peace facilitators in Sri Lanka that it will not accept truce monitors from the European Union (EU) because of the terrorism-related ban on LTTE in Europe. Head of LTTE Political Wing SP Tamilselvan told visiting Norwegian Ambassador in Sri Lanka Hans Brattskar that the LTTE no longer considers monitors from Sweden, Denmark and Finland neutral.

Brattskar has requested more time to find suitable replacements as 37 out of a total of 57 members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) are from these three countries. Tamilselvan said that the LTTE had already given the peace brokers enough time through a warning that a terrorism-related ban would disturb the neutrality of personnel from EU countries and that that the LTTE cannot wait for extended periods of time. He also lamented that the EU believed in the propaganda of the Sri Lankan Government (SLG) to ban the LTTE.

According to the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) of 2002, both the parties to the conflict would have to agree to the change in the membership of the SLMM and it is not clear if the SLG will agree to the change demand. The SLG has already said that there is no need to change the monitors because it concurs with the EU decision to ban the LTTE.

Tamilselvan accused the SLG of “atrocities” and said that the LTTE will be "forced to intensify our defensive actions against the undeclared war being conducted by the Sri Lankan Army.” He also wanted India to recognize the Tamil struggle for rights and extended its moral support to that struggle. He also accused Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera of creating confusion among policy makers during his visit to India.

But India does recognize the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka but is hostage to previous heavy handed decisions that it had introduced which led to the induction of the Indian army as peacekeepers and the ultimate assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. India believes that the LTTE is the culprit but the trial did not produce any conclusive evidence that it is. Shy from the experience of its peacekeepers in Sri Lanka sent without clear charter and exit plan, India is not about to engage in another effort to restore peace.

The Indian Government of that time thought that the Sri Lankan Tamils will welcome Indian troops invited by Sri Lankan President Jayewardene. However, inept policy making at that time did not take the LTTE or Jayewardene’s chauvinist Prime Minister Premadasa into confidence. This led to an unholy secret alliance between Premadasa and the LTTE where arms, intelligence, and information were supplied by Premadasa to the LTTE compromising the mission and the lives of several thousand soldiers and tens of thousands of LTTE cadre and civilians.

If India wants to be seen as a global power, it must break out of the corner it has painted itself into and take leadership to facilitate conversation between the SLG and LTTE. There is very little consensus among SLG politicians about how to proceed with the Tamil issue and India has called for developing a consensus. Further, the SLG has also not been matching its words with its deeds. It did not send a political negotiator to Oslo to discuss the SLMM role, refused to provide safe passage to LTTE negotiators to  to the Geneva talks, has not stopped assistance to militia and LTTE rebels leading to civilian death , and has lobbied international Governments heavily to ban the LTTE. It has repeatedly asked India to intervene to influence LTTE to return to negotiations.

Recent political developments in Tamil Nadu state that shares border, politics, ideology, and ethnicity with the Sri Lankan Tamils have complicated matters a lot. The return of a hardliner as the Chief Minister of the state with another hardliner in the opposition has increased chances of calls for increased Indian intervention in the issue. However, the widow of the assassinated Prime Minister is the leader of the political party wielding enormous power over a weak coalition Federal Government often under siege from its own allies. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh often lectured by communists to stick to the Common Minimum Program charter of the coalition has very little wiggle space to initiate creative foreign policy based on Indian national interests. Already being assaulted on his foreign policy initiatives on United States and Iran he may not have much political space to take on another assault. In short, India’s Sri Lanka policy is like a deer caught in headlights of a truck and risks being overrun by inaction.

Irrespective of the small space that is available, the federal Government had sent a small team to Tamil Nadu to meet key interlocutors to evolve a policy.