India in South Asia

Danger, desire, friendship and fraternity

India's political and military intervention in Sri Lanka in the 1980s resulted in its longest-running and most expensive war, lasting 32 months, from October 1987 to March 1990 with the loss of 1,155 soldiers and at an estimated cost of Rs. 5 crores (Rs. 50 million) a day (Gunaratna 1993: 315). As we saw in Chapter 3, India and Sri Lanka had a difficult relationship in the immediate post-independence period. Nehru's attempts to build a relationship grounded in friendship were undermined because, as he saw it, the Sri Lankan leadership and its people were not ‘conditioned’ by the same anti-colonial solidarity that cemented India's relationships with its other neighbours. Nonetheless, ...

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