Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh who accompanied Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, when she met the Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians last Wednesday repeatedly thanked R Sampanthan, MA Sumanthiran and Suresh Premachandran of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for having extended an invitation to the Indian PM to visit the island appreciating the ‘usefulness’ of the invitation that had coincided with the controversial Indian delegation’s attendance to the CHOGM, informed sources within the TNA told TamilNet on Monday.
The invitation extended to the Indian PM by the Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Mr CV Wigneswaran, was interpreted by a section of Tamil media as a move in ‘connivance’ with the diplomatic sections in New Delhi that wanted to counter the unified call from Tamil Nadu State that was demanding full Indian boycott of the Sri Lanka CHOGM.
Following the controversy, Mr Wigneswaran went on record explaining that the invitation was meant to be interpreted as a request to Indian PM to visit North on ‘any future occasion of his visit to the island’ and that there was no specific reference to the CHOGM in his invitation.
The exact content of the invitation has not been revealed to the constituting parties of the TNA or to any politicians except the Wigneswaran-trio, the TNA sources further said.
“Faced with a lack of Sri Lankan Tamil consensus, Indian diplomacy had last month prevailed on the recently elected chief minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, to write to the [Indian] Prime Minister inviting him to Jaffna coinciding with the CHOGM,” The Telegraph India reported on November 14.
“Anticipating such a Jaffna visit, the Indian high commission in Colombo was fully geared for what would have been a historic trip to the Tamil heartland by the Prime Minister,” the report said adding that “[i]nternal opinion in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) was that Manmohan Singh should fly first to Jaffna and address a huge public meeting of Tamils there.”
“Some MEA officials were of the view that it would have replicated a public meeting in Calcutta by Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev in 1955 during a visit by the Soviet leaders that showed the way for future ties with Moscow,” the Telegraph India said elaborating further: “They argued, with diminishing feedback from the political leadership, that with Jaffna Tamil sentiment solidly behind him, the Prime Minister would then have arrived at the CHOGM as a champion of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause, which was how New Delhi was viewed before the Indian Peacekeeping Force was sent to the island by Rajiv Gandhi.”
However, as Tamil Nadu’s protest prevailed at least to the level of blocking Indian PM’s attendance to the CHOGM, the ‘Jaffna show’ was stolen by the visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had to issue an ultimatum giving a limited ‘time and space’ to the Sri Lankan State till the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2014, political observers in the island said.
The Telegraph: Diplomacy salvages Lanka fiasco Sujatha meets Tamil leaders