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AN INTERVIEW WITH DR.

SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY
Dr. Subramanian Swamy, an Indian Academician, politician, activist, economist, and a great
supporter of Sri Lanka, was in the country to attend the 3rd Defence seminar in Colombo. He
was the President of the Janata Party.
His party was merged on August 11, 2013 with the BJP. Dr. Swamy has previously served as
member of the Planning Commission of India and Cabinet Minister. He has written
extensively on Indian foreign affairs, dealing largely with China, Pakistan and Israel. He is
also a published author.
In an interview with The Sunday Leader he said Sri Lanka should not pay much attention to
Tamil Nadu politicians, and Sri Lankans should learn to ignore them as the majority of
people there do not share the same views.
Q. What should Indias policy be on Sri Lanka regarding human rights?
A. Firstly, whenever a war takes place and there is military conflict, there are collateral
damages and innocent civilians die. In World War II the British bombed the city of Dresden
in Germany and there was no military presence of the Nazi soldiers. Yet they bombed and
flattened it, killing most of the civilian population as a result.
The same happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the US dropped the nuclear bomb.
Therefore to hold Sri Lanka responsible for the civilian deaths and accuse them of human
rights violations in a war is not fair.Secondly, the total casualty numbers given by credible
sources and not the LTTE was some 7500, which included LTTE cadres killed, Sri Lankan
military personnel and the civilian population.
Therefore in this kind of war this is a relatively small number. Sri Lanka has already
appointed a committee to investigate the allegations and the LLRC recommendations were
forwarded. So there cannot be an external investigation unless you have a definite and
specific evidence of genocide, for which no one responsible has made a case. I dont however



go by all kinds of actors who have entered this field. The same kind of allegations made
against Sri Lanka have also been made by the same agencies against Indias Kashmir and
Manipur, and this is something very dangerous for India to get into just to keep their ally, the
DMK, happy.
Q. You visited the United States to review the draft resolution and you objected to
several of the allegations in that report. Could you explain what took place?
A. I had come to Sri Lanka on the February 28 this year to meet the President before going to
the US. The head of operations of the United States Robert Blake had invited me to inspect
the resolution, and so I went to inspect the draft of the resolution in the sense that I wanted to
give him some ideas. I expressed my unhappiness at the draft at the time, and he told me that
I was welcome to visit Washington at any time, so I went. There I said this resolution is
sterile.
It cannot be enforced unless the United Nations Security Council backs the actions, and they
cannot back it if any country applies a veto, and I was 100% certain that China and Russia
were going to apply the veto. So what is the point of this resolution; all you are doing is
driving Sri Lanka to seek the help of China and Russia, which is obviously against US
interests. So Ive always been of the opinion that this whole exercise is unnecessary and only
has newspaper value. There is no way that they can force Sri Lanka to do or not to do
anything and therefore the best thing to do is ignore it.
Q. There is a lot of pressure on the Indian government to boycott the Commonwealth
summit. Will a boycott of the summit be acceptable?
A. I would not say a lot of pressure, but the pressure of one of the allies of the UPA
government. I think it gets secret sympathy from Mrs. Sonia Gandhi who has always been
sort of indulgent towards the LTTE. When the Supreme Court said the principle operators of
the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi should be hanged, she wrote a letter to the president that
they should not be. She then made arrangements for the daughter of one of the accused,



Nalini, to be educated in London, and now she lives in Australia. Then she also sent her
brother to meet Nalini in jail, after which Nalini went to court saying she had been in jail far
too long and should be allowed bail.
However it was my petition challenging that which prevented her leaving jail. But why Sonia
Gandhi would do that is a big question which I hope to answer some day. The ones who are
making a fuss are just a handful of cinema people who have benefitted by LTTE drug money
and there is no other issue. However I dont believe there is much support now. However the
question of whether the Indian Prime Minister will attend the CHOGM in Colombo I cant
say as they are timid people.
Q. What can the Sri Lankan government do to make Tamil Nadu happy, and through
that the Indian government?
A. In my opinion, the Sri Lankan government should invite the Indian businessman to invest
in this country. They are dying to come here, so perhaps through the Indian Chamber of
Commerce, or through some measure, Indian business houses could be allowed to invest in
Sri Lanka. I myself have told this to your president.
Q. Some feel Sri Lanka is over dependent on India. Should Sri Lanka change its policy
with India with the future in mind?
A. If they were over dependant on India then the Sri Lankans would not have destroyed the
LTTE, so I think this is a myth. When Sri Lanka asked India to fund the Hambantota port,
India rejected this due to objections from Karunanidhi. Thereafter Sri Lanka approached
China and got it built. So I dont think that your country is overly dependent on India, but one
must admit the fact that we share the same DNA.
There are certain Sinhala names that originated from India. However I think there are certain
natural tendencies due to the close proximity, and in fact I think we should be concerned
about each other much more.



Q. What is your take on the concerns raised on the issues faced by the Tamils in Sri
Lanka?
A. First of all, the Tamils that I have spoken to, and in reading some of the comments they
had made to an Indian Magazine (Tughlaq Magazine), they are first of all very relieved that
their children can go to school, and the women know that their husbands who go to work will
return home in the evening.
That uncertainty of life has gone, so they are happy, and no Sri Lankan Tamil wants Eelam or
any other form of war anymore. The only thing left is that there is some aspiration that they
need to have a local provincial government, but these things have to be done gradually as you
need to be sure that it will not be misused. For instance, the people in Batticaloa are not in
favour of giving police powers. The only province that will benefit from police powers is
Jaffna, but the Batticaloa Tamils have told me they dont want it, and they have given me the
reasons. Even in the Central province, although there are large numbers of Tamils, they too
are not interested.
I think there issues that need to be sorted out and this electoral process should begin, and you
must insist that the Tamil leadership talk to the Sinhala leadership, the state leadership. They
should not go demanding and have India put pressure on Sri Lanka, which India will not do
as they want good relations with Sri Lanka.
Q. What sort of approach should the Sri Lankan government take with the Tamil
National Alliance?
A. There are people outside the TNA who have legacies such as Chandra Hassan, or
Selvanayagam. The TNA is not the sole representative of the Tamils.
Q. You have singlehandedly done more for Sri Lanka than our whole foreign ministry
put together, in relation to South India. So what advice would you give our foreign
ministry in dealing with South India?



A. Well, just ignore Tamil Nadu; its only a matter of time. I go to Tamil Nadu and speak
against the LTTE. Today I am in Sri Lanka, and it will be published in Tamil Nadu that I am
with the Sri Lankan Army, but it is just a handful that are creating all this fuss. The vast
majority of Tamils want good relations with Sri Lanka. Its only the present government
which relies on the clandestine support of the DMK and Sonia Gandhi. In May 2014 there
will be a new government and when that happens everything will be fine.
Q. There is a lot of concern by many regarding the involvement of the Chinese in Sri
Lanka. What is your view? Is China a cause for concern to India?
A. I think the Chinese are a very sensible people and when I was in government I had no
problem in dealing with them. They are straightforward and mean what they say. You need to
have good relations between India, Sri Lanka and China. We are all Buddhist, Hindu people
and we all can live in harmony. So I dont think that the involvement of China with Sri Lanka
should have any impact on India.
Q. The TNA earlier raised concerns about the construction of the Northern expressway
being handed to the Chinese, claiming that it was a threat to Indian security. What is
your take on that?
A. No, not at all. Who are they to talk on behalf of India? Has India expressed such concerns?
No, so who asked the TNA to talk on behalf of India? This is an internal decision of the Sri
Lankan government. China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council,
which has commonality to this region, so there is no problem. The TNA is just using India as
a cover. This is your sovereign power and it is your decision to hand over any project to any
country you wish.