Didn’t I write just yesterday that it is extremely dangerous to be selective while opening the lid on historical memory? Look at what a plucky attempt to defend Rajiv Gandhi’s disastrous Sri Lanka policy has led to.
The spirited defence of India’s Sri Lanka policy by one of India’s ablest diplomats Ambassador Hardeep Puri drew immediate attention in Colombo.
Colombo has disdainfully flung back a challenge at him: “Come on, tell it all if you are gutsy.” Can Puri take up the challenge? I don’t think he should.
Colombo probably knows far more than him about his assignment in Colombo. It happens all the time that our neighboring countries know more about us than we do ourselves. They make it a point to know.
If Puri indeed chooses to cross swords with the formidable Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa — yes, the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa — I have no doubt that the angels will come to the ramparts of the heavens to watch the duel.
GR is a good poker player. He has put the Indian establishment on notice that it is prudent to back off. In Colombo, they are convinced that the Indian establishment commissioned Puri to pen his article.
And all this when WikiLeaks is adding its two bits — to the effect that Rajiv Gandhi wanted to have separate deals with the then Sri Lankan president J R Jayewardene as well as the chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam V Prabhakaran — and might have got away with it except for Prabhakaran’s point blank refusal.
Let sleeping dogs lie, as they say. Our Sri Lanka policy is completely discredited. Don’t try to defend the indefensible. Our policy lacked political morality, consistency, and the goodwill that a tiny and weak neighbour who never did us harm deserved.
Rajiv Gandhi’s Sri Lanka accord was a great mistake for which he tragically paid with his life and the country lost a national leader.
If Colombo doesn’t listen to our advice today, it is because they have no respect left for our policymakers. But being great practitioners of diplomacy, they keep on dealing with us as their one and only neighbour and a big regional power at that — except when we poke them, as Puri needlessly did.
– April 11, 2013