India’s argument, of course, was a simple one: Prabhakaran had masterminded the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and could not be allowed to escape. Over the decades in Sri Lanka, the LTTE had killed scores of moderate Tamil politicians, those who had dared to disagree. Now Prabhakaran had to suffer the consequences.
India’s dramatic behind-the-scenes intervention in 2009 in Sri Lanka meant that it had stared down the mighty US, even though it had been forced to hold its own nose from the stench that emanated from the Tamil killings.
In fact, the trio that ran India’s Sri Lanka policy at the time – then National Security Advisor and now Governor of West Bengal M K Narayanan, then Foreign Secretary and now National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon, as well as then Defence Secretary (now retired) Vijay Singh – kept in close touch with Rajapaksa and his all-powerful brothers, Basil and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Today, too, one is the Cabinet minister for economic development and the other the defence secretary in Sri Lanka.