India has so far, kept powerful fiaspora groups at an arms length, preferring to deal with the main Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance, for engagement with the community.
In an interview with The New Indian Express, spokesperson of the London-based Global Tamil Forum, Suren Surendiran said that although members of the GTF have met with BJP Leadership in Tamil Nadu and in Delhi, reality compared to GTF’s aspirational relationship with the Indian Government has been minimal.
“As a strategy, GTF believes that India should and must play an active role in resolving the Tamil national question in Sri Lanka not just as the regional super power but as the closest neighbour who also has a large Tamil constituency. Historically, India has played an active role in attempting to resolve the Tamil national question. The new Government of Sri Lanka has unlisted GTF and other member organisations that were listed as proscribed organisations by the Rajapaksa Regime. The new President of Sri Lanka has met the President and members of the GTF. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka has met members of GTF at several meetings last year. The new government of Sri Lanka acknowledges the Diaspora as an important stakeholder. GTF has constructively engaged with the various stakeholders in Sri Lanka including the new government. GTF believes that formal engagement and acknowledgement by the Indian Government is essential and an urgent need to strengthen the moderate voices within the Diaspora. This, we believe in turn will strengthen the collective moderate stands within and outside Sri Lanka,” he said.
Surendiran notes that the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora is relatively a minority community around the world compared to the large silent majority that seeks a just, reasonable and durable political resolution to problems faced by their brethren in Sri Lanka.
He said GTF stands with that large majority and the overwhelmingly democratically elected representatives of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)