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Friday, Dec 03, 2021
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Sri Lanka

The Palk Strait Peril

Each of India's limited options are fraught with danger

The Palk Strait Peril
The Palk Strait Peril
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

India's offer to help in the possible evacuation of Lankan soldiers from Jaffna has not been well-received in Colombo. "This isn't the offer we expected from India. Instead of helping us, it's undermining the morale of our soldiers," says a foreign office spokesperson in Colombo. The Sri Lankan reaction only makes apparent the mines that litter any course India may take.

The ltte too has made it clear that it'll allow soldiers to move out with just their personal belongings. "We accept that rescuing soldiers is humanitarian help. But movement of tanks, artillery guns and rocket launchers can by no stretch of imagination be construed as humanitarian aid," says a ltte source. Then, apart from the danger of leaving behind an arsenal which can be used against it in the future, India cannot afford a long-drawn military operation in a foreign country while borders in Kashmir, Rajasthan and Gujarat remain vulnerable. Any Indian intervention must, at the same time, try to work towards ensuring the political rights of Sri Lankan Tamils. But, given the lack of any consensus among Sinhala parties on that issue, that's no easy task. And to compound matters, there also seems to be no political consensus on the point in India.

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