A Machiavellian support: India and the vested interest in the Tamil cause

The Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka

India and the Tamils in Sri Lanka are intimately connected. From a pure geographical proximity, the distance between the sub-continent and the island is tiny. The patch of sand extends till almost touching the northern coasts of Sri Lanka; this strip is known also as the Adam’s Bridge or the Ram Setu, the bridge built by the god Rama to take back his wife. The mythological narrative of an almighty Indian entity and take what he claims, can be considered disturbingly real.

India needs to keep track of what is happening in its own backyard, because of the direct repercussions in domestic politics. Its eye must have been fixed on the Tamil dilemma in Sri Lanka.

To one extent the ethnic continuity with its own population in Tamil Nadu establish a link of blood tie with to the far shore of the Palk Stait.

Ram Setu: the god Rama builds a bridge to take back his spouse, Sita.

The flip side of the coin is that too pronounced an expression of Tamil identity could have centrifugal forces within India; it could reinforce the nationalism in Tamil Nadu, and could in general feed separatism all over the country.

 For these reasons, the relation between India and Sri Lanka is characterized by a complicated balancing of competing forces.

New Delhi feels of being connected to the Tamils in Sri Lanka, attached to their actions, yet it doesn’t want them to fulfill their aspirations. If you claim that a group belongs to your party, but your party doesn’t negotiate and recognize with that group its requests, you impose an asymmetrical relationship with that group: with you as the master.

 This is precisely the position of New Delhi regarding the Tamils: to master, to use and to control them. Like a demi-god, who decides when it’s time to intervene and when it’s time to retreat.

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