Home » bi-lateralism » [Press] India and the Colombo CHOGM: A Tricky Choice

[Press] India and the Colombo CHOGM: A Tricky Choice


NB: This article was originally published in the New Delhi-based Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs magazine, in its November 2013 edition.

Over the past few weeks, analysts, policymakers and civil society activists in India (and especially in Tamil Nadu) have been debating whether the Indian Prime Minister should attend the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo. It has emerged that after much deliberation, Dr Manmohan Singh will not attend the Colombo CHOGM. This is a decision that has its definitive place in the annals of Indian diplomacy. Its significance is multiplied by the fact that it comes in the backdrop of Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma’s strong endorsement of the Colombo CHOGM. Whereas Ambassador Sharma operates in his capacity as Commonwealth chief, The Congress government’s decision can be explained by domestic political concerns, in the context an impending national election. However, it is somewhat inadequate to ascribe this decision only to domestic electoral politics. Despite its tremendous salience, the Tamil Nadu variable is not the only determining factor behind Dr Singh’s decision. More importantly perhaps, this decision carries much weight in terms of regional geopolitics.

The Manmohan Singh government was by far one of the strongest endorsers of Sri Lanka’s Eelam War IV against the now defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In the absence of Indian endorsement, Colombo’s May 2009 military victory would not have been possible. Delhi had pertinent reasons to extend strategic, intelligence and logistical support to the Sri Lankan government, which notably involved the legacy of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination and the regional implications of the LTTE secessionist threat. Delhi perceived a counter terrorist offensive as a necessary evil, on one condition – that Colombo would pursue a programme for inclusive political reform in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka once the LTTE threat was contained. Over the years, a repeated emphasis on political reform has continued to be the lynchpin of Delhi’s policy towards Sri Lanka’s ethno-national question. This, to cite but one example, was the rationale behind the BJP government’s refusal to extend military support to the Kumaratunga administration in the aftermath of one of the most devastating military defeats suffered by Sri Lankan forces at the hands of the LTTE in the year 2000. It was a means of encouraging Colombo to pursue a programme for political reform, as the Kumaratunga administration had by then drifted into a robust military offensive, making its repeated commitment to devolution sound rather ambivalent. If segments in the Sri Lankan military and government are to interpret that reaction (as well as Dr Singh’s stance on attending the 2013 Colombo CHOGM) as a case of Delhi’s Sri Lanka policy being captured by Tamil Nadu dictates, they are somewhat mistaken. Instead, it is much more insightful to read such decisions as intended at highlighting priorities in Delhi’s regional agenda at given points of time.

Read more here.



Submerged in the final draft of my second single-author monograph (on decolonial perpectives on reproductive politics) this is ‘the’ one and only thing I’ll share for #pride this year. So beautiful and hats off to the people at @lionpartyfilms for producing this lovely lovely lovely cutest of the cute video. Javid Akthar Ji’s beautiful words will fill your ears watching this. My take is that in our part of the world (meaning, South Asia) we are currently going through a neoliberal queer moment, which naturally paves the way for the development of critical trans and queer feminist perspectives, as a means of challenging neoliberal queer politics and advocacy. However, we do have a long and tedious way ahead. There’s lots of work to be done, esp. in challenging #cisnormative & #heteronormative stereotypes, toxically high levels of internalised phobias, transmisogyny, #savarna casteist & classist readings of queerness, and much more. However, we have well and truly entered a path - of challenging these toxicities one a day, one step at a time, breaking neocolonial hangovers and finding our multiple and multi-faceted queernesses, and that path only has one lane, invariably headed forwards. So we are good. Much love and happy pride to my #queerfam worldwide, esp. to queer women working hard and fighting multiple challenges at many intersections. Reposting from @browngirlmag #queerfeminist #transfeminist #afrofeminist #indigenousfeminist #lka #bharat #lesbian #love #queer #desi #desiqueer #ekladkikodekhatohaisalaga #ekladkikodekha #javidakhtar
The day after. It was very hard to sit down to write anything this morning. But I managed to pen this down - the entire tragedy has been caused by national security négligences, weak governance and bad management of foreign policy. Link to the article: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-day-after/ #lka #srilankaattacks #eastersundayattackslk #foreignpolicy #nationalsecurity #governance #srilanka #terrorism #ProudSriLankan
Love, love, lots and lots of love to my people. It’s time to hold each other close, and embrace our ethnic, religious, linguistic and all other diversities. We are strongest in our diversity. These attacks are nothing but a concerted effort to destabilise #SriLanka, and adversely affect our hard-earned peace, and make us another failed state in the global South, so that big powers can have a field day in using our beautiful island for their strategic advantages. We need to resist, stand tall, and stand proudly together in our Sri Lankan identity. We must NOT let any external interests sabotage our democratic tradition, our national security, our path towards peace and coexistence. My heart weeps for each and every one of the precious lives lost. #resist #lka #srilanka #democracy #NoCoupsInSriLanka #ProudPeople 🇱🇰✊🏾🌹
You are invited! #decoloniality #decolonialpolitics #lka #ireland #globalsouth #unlearning #knowledgeproduction #decoloniseCurricula #genderjustice #socialjustice #queerpolitics #intersectionalfeminism #transpolitics #internationalrelations #baileathacliath
Our collaborative event ‘Decolonial Dialogues’ took place this morning at Te-Whanganui-a-Tara. This was a combined event, with two panels proposals being squeezed into a single panel. Myself and my dear colleague Thiagaraja Waradas submitted a panel proposal entitled ‘Decolonial School: Bringing the ‘Decolonial’ to mainstream LGBT+ activism’. Two other colleagues, Ainan and Daisey, had submitted another proposal entitled ‘Decolonising Higher Education, Institutional Cultures and Programmes to Advocate for SOGIESC Indigenous Students’. Initially, when we received the news of these two absolutely vital panels being merged, we had our concerns re space and logistics. In the event, not many of us could come, due to immigration and funding-related constraints. The man who was to coordinate the session on our end and collaborate with our colleagues from Turtle Island, Thiagaraja Waradas, had his much-deserved ILGA scholarship snatched from him the morning of the day before his planned trip to Aotearoa. This really botched a lot of our plans and advocacy initiatives, and it is with a heavy heart that I am leaving the shores of this beautiful land – with a feeling of not having achieved the full extent of what we had originally planned. However, on the positive side of things, we have achieved quite a bit, close friendships between our colleagues from Turtle Island being one. In this panel, we followed a template of a circle and group activities, making it as informal as possible, and enabling people to delve into complex issues in relation to decolonial approaches and praxes, through basic questions and ensuing dialogues. Despite acute time constraints, we did succeed in bringing together a multitude of perspectives on decolonial work from Indigenous advocacy in white-settler contexts, to decolonial insights on SOGIESC advocacy in the global South/s. A big thank you to our colleagues from many countries who attended this panel, and helped us make it a success. A big thank you also to Kassie and Teina for ensuring that we were able to have the Tino rangatiratanga National Flag during this event. The end of the event included a visit by Daisy, myself, Teina and Kassie to
Our event ‘Decolonising SOGIESC advocacy in South and Southeast Asia: An Activist Conversation’ took place this morning in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara. Months of painstaking work went into the organising of this event, involving one of the senior-most community leaders of the region, Bubli Malik Sahiba, and it was a beautiful collaboration between #Venasa and #Wajood. Venasa is a grassroots trans rights advocacy group founded by the excellent Thenu Ranketh, a leader and role model to us all. Wajood is a leading trans rights body based in Islamabad, which has broken new ground in claiming space in governmental and judicial circles. The workings of neoliberal NGO-industrial LGBT+ rights work is such that Thenu could not join us, and yet another major resource person, Nada Chiayajit, also could not join us. To our greatest regret, our dearly beloved colleague and decolonial queer trailblazer Thiagaraja Waradas @waradas could not join us, as a result of an extremely questionable act of censure and erasure by ILGA World on the day before his planned trip to Aotearoa. However, and despite all those challenges, we managed to host this event. We had clearly outlined the necessity of a one-and-half-hour session, to do the minimum justice possible to the absolutely vital issues being discussed. However, we were only given a mere 45 minutes, which was barely sufficient for our excellent panellists to make their opening statements. This in itself is a reminder of the importance of looking beyond the NGO-industrial complex when working for SOGIESC advocacy, within our respective countries as well as internationally. It was our greatest pleasure to display the Tino rangatiratanga flag, and pay respects to the rightful owners of the land we are standing on. My heartfelt thanks go to my sister Kassie who opened the session with traditional Māori greetings and welcomed us to Aotearoa. #DecolonialAdvocacy #DecoloniseSOGIESC #SOGIESC #GINSOGI #ILGANZ2019 #TeWhanganuiaTara #GenderJustice #Lka #SriLanka #Pakistan #Venasa #VTN #Wajood #TransPolitics #SouthAsia #ClaimingSpace #DecolonialPolitics #DecoloniseILGA

Cannot load blog information at this time.