Home Contact Us  

Sri Lanka - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#2940, 11 August 2009
Will the LTTE Rise Again?
N Manoharan
Senior Fellow, CLAWS, New Delhi
e-mail: mailtomanohar@gmail.com

At the outset, the rise of the LTTE to their original might of running a proto-state comprising about 15,000 sq kms looks highly unrealistic. Its top leadership including its supremo Prabhakaran has been wiped out; most of its cadres are dead, some surrendered and the remaining scattered.
At the same time, rag-tag existence of the Tigers cannot be ruled out. According to the LTTE, about 1500 armed cadres are still hiding in Sri Lankan jungles to rekindle their armed struggle. They may make use of large quantities of arms buried in the jungles of northeast. They are also awaiting the resettlement of the displaced to mix-up with civilians. The LTTE is supposed to have set up a headquarters in an undisclosed location. It also claims to have put in place “sector-based working groups” and an “executive committee” to take the struggle forward “vigorously”. The remnant LTTE keeps alive the objective of attaining a separate homeland for Tamils i.e. Eelam. However, it is unclear what it means by “take the struggle forward vigorously.” Does this imply the use of armed means? Not long ago the LTTE declared that it had “silenced the guns” and would pursue its goals through non-violent means. Even in the recent statement, the Tigers, while reminding Tamils of their “historic duty” to rise up and fight for their “legitimate” rights, said, “like all liberation struggles, the LTTE had decided to ‘modify’ the form and strategies of the struggle according to the times and the exigencies of the situation.” The LTTE, however, has not clarified the form of struggle. 
Kumaran Pathmanathan, alias ‘KP’ has recently been appointed as the chief of the militant group. ‘KP’ was earlier the head of all-important and crucial International Relations wing of the LTTE. Pathmanathan’s contribution in building the LTTE’s might was immense in terms of arms procurement, lobbying and fund raising. Pathmanathan is supposed to lead the Sri Lankan Tamil community “into the next steps of our freedom struggle according to the vision of our esteemed Leader [Prabhakaran].” However, in the absence of a strong leadership on the island, it is doubtful whether the LTTE will be able to advance its goal through a reclusive leader who has just been arrested and deported.

It is true that Tamils are sick and tired of continuous conflict for over three decades. In this mindset it is doubtful whether they come forward to support another innings of militancy. Recognising this fact, the LTTE observed that “The Eelam Tamil people are in the midst of a critical and sorrowful period in the history of the struggle for freedom of our nation, Tamil Eelam. No one can deny the fact that we have experienced massive and irreparable losses, losses we would not accept even in our worst dreams.” At the same time, the Tigers warned that “If the Sinhala nation and those countries which support it consider that the Tamil peoples’ freedom struggle has been defeated through the capture of the historical homeland areas of the Tamil people and the  massacre of thousands of Tamil civilians, we shall consider that an illusion.” They want to “demonstrate to the world through our actions, that the fire of freedom awakened by our great leader V Pirabakaran continues to burn in the hearts of all Tamils, and only a free Tamil nation has the power to extinguish it.”

A million-strong Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora spread across all over the world is a crucial factor for any revival of the LTTE. However, the diaspora is divided on core issues like the end goal of Eelam and the means to achieve it. The majority of diaspora does not prefer a separate state but dignity of Tamils. And a chunk of them also oppose revival of armed means. Reconciling these differences is not going to be an easy task given the fact that Tamils in Sri Lanka are also not united on the future course of action in realizing a political settlement to the ethnic issue.

The government of Sri Lanka has to take all these factors into consideration in its approach to the ethnic question. Apart from treating the displaced well, the government has to speed up the resettlement process and also make sure that livelihood of the resettled is taken care of. The lasting political settlement to the ethnic issue should meet the sentiments of Tamils apart from healing their prolonged suffering due to war and destruction. Dignified rehabilitation of all surrendered LTTE cadres will convert them to non-fighters once and for all.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
India-Maldives Relations: A Tale of Two Concerns

Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh: Designs and Network in India

India-Sri Lanka: Time to Settle the Fishermen Issue

Sri Lanka: A New Base for ISI against India?

Ebola: Concerns for India

Left-wing Extremism 2013: The Threat Continues

Maldives 2013: End of Political Stalemate

CHOGM, India and Sri Lanka: New Delhi’s Missed Opportunities

Sri Lanka: TNA in the Northern Province

Presidential Elections in Maldives: A Pre-Poll Analysis

Indian Mujahideen: After Yasin Bhatkal's Arrest

India and the Peace Process in Sri Lanka: So Close, Yet So Far

Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: The Arithmetic of ‘Plus’ and ‘Minus’

Sri Lanka and the 13th Amendment: Reconciling Differing Viewpoints

Naxal Violence: What should be Done to Counter?

Sri Lanka: Third UNHRC Resolution and India’s Dilemma

Hyderabad Terror Attacks: Road-blocks in the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC)

Maldives: GMR, Nexbis and the Tale of Two Ousters

Maldives: Indian Investments vis-a-vis Chinese Footprints

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s India Visit: Taking the Ties Forward

Sri Lanka: 25 Years After the IPKF

IPCS Debate: The UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

Devolution in Sri Lanka: The Latest Take

‘Taming the Tigers’: Reintegration of Surrendered LTTE Cadres

Fishing in Troubled Waters: Indian Fishermen and India-Sri Lanka Relations

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February  March
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.