Ignoring N Q Dias strategy, the UNP Government removal of military camps helped LTTE terrorism arise – same mistake should not be repeated
N Q Dias was referred to as Sri Lanka’s Clausewitz. He was the most powerful public servant serving as Permanent Secretary for Defense plus Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister in the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government of 1960-65. Having read Panikkar Doctrine he was apprehensive of India’s designs on Sri Lanka. His anticipation of the rise of a Tamil separatist war was prophetic. His grand strategy to counter this was brilliant. Successive UNP Governments either failed to understand the prophecy or preferred to remove and reverse the decisions taken thereby helping militancy to rise. Removal of the military camps in the North following the JRJ Government victory helped LTTE terrorism and Sri Lanka to suffer for 30 years while the present Government doing the same, seriously raises alarm bells and cautions the public to not sit silent and watch another terror period unfold.
The memoirs of Neville Jayaweera, former GA Jaffna is enlightening for many reasons. The memoirs give excellent account of how N Q Dias had virtually taken a leaf from Germany’s famous Schilieffen Plan of 1905 (encircle Paris in event of war) to also advocate the need to encircle Northern & Eastern Provinces with a chain of military camps. The camps demarcated were in Arippu, Maricchikatti, Pallai, Thalvapadu in Mannar, Poonery, Karainagar, Palaly, Point Pedro, Elephant Pass in the Jaffna District, Mullaitivu in Vavuniya District and Trincomalee in the East. The establishment of military bases was in contemplation of the rise of Tamil separatism.
Knowing that in giving the real reasons, the government would come under severe objections by Tamil Leaders, N Q Dias proposed to use the argument of establishing bases to counter illegal Indian immigration and illegal Indian smuggling as reasons, which no one could counter.
A Task force called Task Force Anti Illicit Immigration was set up under command of Gen Sepala Attygalle to set up the camps. Moreover, N Q Dias aspired to build a fleet of small, fast boats and even contacted the US Ambassador Cecil Lyon to see if the US Government would gift some old PT boats to Sri Lanka without torpedo tubes as part of their foreign aid package.
http://www.island.lk/2008/10/05/features2.html (Neville Jayaweera’s Memoirs)
The importance of N Q Dias’s strategy comes in being able to foresee the turn of events as far back as 1960s before the Vaddukoddai Resolution and Tamil youth taking up arms. He foresaw the Indian hegemony, he believed India had ‘sinister designs on Sri Lanka, if not to take the island over completely, at least to keep it permanently disabled and dependent on India”.
India did in fact clandestinely train Tamil youth in India in the 1970s armed and financed them to destabalize Sri Lanka. India kept these Tamil militants under the tutelage of Indian intelligence. J N Dixit in his memoirs, says that arming Sri Lankan Tamil youths was one of the two major policy blunders of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (Assignment Colombo) April 1988 Wikileaks cable quotes J N Dixit that India had agreed to pay LTTE Rs.50lakhs per month to make up for the tax loss for the LTTE after the Indo-Lanka Accord. RAW chief Gauri Shankar Bajpai had admitted that Colonel Kittu (Sathasivam Krishnakumar), the LTTE commander, was India’s mole in the militant outfit. So too was LTTE’s deputy Mahaththaya. India’s former Union Law Minister and advocate Ram Jethmalani has said that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was created by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for the protection of Indian interests. “They were trained by our own agency RAW. When the Chinese and the Pakistanis were establishing their power in Sri Lanka, Indira wanted some force inside Sri Lanka to safeguard our Indian interests,” Jain Commission report quotes Nedumaran : Para-6 :- “It was at that juncture, the Late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi entrusted the full responsibility of Military training of the Tamil Militant youths, to the Research and Analysis wing (popularly known as RAW). Book by Lt. Gen. Depinder Singh Overall Force Commander (OFC) of the IPKF gives details of the material help the LTTE received in Tamil Nadu even while its men were killing the IPKF’s jawans.
There is enough evidence that reveals an Indian hand in Tamil militancy and the demands made by them for a separate Tamil Only area. This was what N Q Dias foresaw.
India even forced Sri Lanka to sign the Indo-Lanka Accord in 1987 and tweak Sri Lanka’s constitution by implementing the 13th amendment and creating the white elephant of provincial councils making a quasi-federal set up out of which the political proxy of the LTTE are now demanding a change in the Sri Lankan constitution to build the foundation to creating a confederal set up which is part and parcel of the ITAK constitution.
http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=112823 – Bungling the Eelam War
Kamalika Pieris article Bungling the Eelam War says the main reason the war dragged for so long is because all former Presidents other than Mahinda Rajapakse did not give clear orders to the armed forces to eliminate the LTTE and instead preferred to negotiate deals with LTTE at any cost. She highlights that recruitment and training were stopped and requests for multiple rocket launchers and Bushmaster cannons by the army and navy were refused and the govt instead bought a hovercraft for Rs.250m which was never used. Questioning the military and undermining terrorism resulted in leaders asking idiotic questions like why the military would need such a large stock of ammunition when there were only 2000 LTTE fighters. Reading Maj. Kamal Gunaratne’s book Road to Nandikadal one is angered by the careless decisions of past leaders (Govt, Officials and Military) that ended up unnecessarily sacrificing the lives of many a soldier.
Kamalika Pieris cites the examples of promoting officers on seniority not competence, lack of security clearance on sensitive battle information which reached media even before the operation commenced, sending soldiers on UN Peace Keeping Missions even while Sri Lanka’s war hadn’t concluded, Defence Review Committee set up in 2002 to reduce the size of security forces without representation of the military (while LTTE was thriving) transferring officers for doing their duty to the nation, responding to LTTE attacks with knee-jerk reactions thus suffering weapon losses including soldier lives are just some of the debacles committed by both government and yes-men type officials who had no backbone to tell the politicians the dangers of their decisions & actions.
Taken together with the article titled “Evidence of India’s involvement in regime change in Sri Lanka” https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/01/21/sril-j21.html the same author K Ratnayake goes on to another “More evidence of US involvement in Sri Lanka regime change’ https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/16/slus-f16.html
In the backdrop of the predictions made by N Q Dias and following the defeat of the LTTE, the list of demands being made in particular related to the closure of military camps, the charges of ‘rape’ against the soldiers, demilitarization claims coming from all the quarters that assisted LTTE over the years solidifies the need for the present Government to not be in haste to do the same mistake that the previous UNP Governments have made. However, since January 2015 a number of strategically located camps have been closed by giving in to undue pressures. A new precedent is being created by funding groups of unruly ‘people’ to surround camps and demand their removal and the Govt has unfortunately caved in to these theatrics. What kind of government closes down military camps just because some people scream outside the compound demanding its removal! JRJ regime closed down military camps and was unable to handle LTTE at its initial stages thus leaving Sri Lanka to suffer 30 years of terrorism, the present UNP government should not repeat the same mistake.
The govt may have come into power making assurances to LTTE proxies who decide whom the Tamil people vote for, however the country’s national interest and security must come first.
Leaders in power and officials working for them are not expected to function as doormats for every whining that comes from LTTE proxies, LTTE fronts, regime change apparatus, UN and in particular the UNHRC that is going beyond their mandate by interfering into the internal affairs of a sovereign nation as seen by the plethora of demands its head is now making. Allowing the UN apparatus to penetrate into the internal affairs of a nation is creating precedents that will be detrimental to the internal affairs of other nations as well. Our govt and officials are foolhardy to ignore these realities simply to be delighted about getting a pat on their backs for their appeasing approach & actions in simply saying yes to all that they demand.
What good are accolades for selling the country to the devils! While the Sinhalese are asked to watch in silence the reconciliation perahera that is demolishing the Sinhala national identity of the country, paving way for the separation of Sri Lanka.
Repeated mistake of ignoring advice is likely to repeat history and if history is repeated we are likely to see another bloody phase which will reverse all that Sri Lanka gained after May 2009.
Mr. N Q Dias is the father of another patriot & attorney Mr. Gomin Dayasri.
Shenali D Waduge