Eight different blasts struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, 21 April, leaving at least 310 people dead and 500 injured.
Almost 24 hours after the blasts, the Sri Lankan government held local Muslim group National Thowheed Jamath responsible for the attack.
Interestingly, information about National Thowheed Jamath was provided by the Indian intelligence sources, as reported by the Washington Post.
Pointing to Modi's election rally later the same day, Sri Lanka's Twitter users called it "political opportunism." Soon after condoling the deaths, the prime minister appealed to people to vote for BJP's lotus in order to fight terrorism.
The Sri Lankan government has not named a suspect, nor identified any of them by religion as till April 22noon. However, a section of Indian media was quick to identify some of the terror groups, on April 21itself.
Adam Garrie, Director at Eurasia Future, says it has been confirmed by journalists that the group trains in Chennai in Tamil Nadu the same location where LTTE (Tamil Tigers) had previously trained.
Sri Lankan authorities fall into a trap set by India?
Writing under the title, "Sri Lankan authorities may have fallen into a trap set by a foreign power (read India)." Garrie says: "India has a long history of seeking to manipulate the power balance in Sri Lanka in order to turn the country into something of an Indian protectorate. These attempts have notably been resisted by most contemporary Sri Lankan leaders who seek an independent foreign policy that aims at securing win-win friendship not only with India but crucially, also with China and Pakistan."
"India was one of the first open backers of the LTTE's reign of terrorism that gripped Sri Lanka beginning in 1983. India ultimately paid a price for its dithering in the early stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. As a result of India's 1987 decision to publicly "switch sides", LTTE assassinated Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. In spite of this, it has been widely known in Sri Lanka and elsewhere that in spite of the official rhetoric in New Delhi, India's RAW intelligence agency resumed covert support of LTTE later in the 1990s, Garrie said adding:
"Since the end of the war against LTTE in 2009, India has sought to monopolize foreign influence in a post-war Sri Lanka that has developed ever more economic ties with China and plays a key role in the Belt and Road initiative. This has clearly been a source of consternation for an Indian state that has a track record of meddling in the affairs of both Sri Lanka and the much smaller Maldives."
As Sri Lanka defeated LTTE ten years ago, the atmosphere of peace that had prevailed may well have created a false sense of security that was ripe for exploitation. Even before Colombo named an obscure Islamist group as the culprits of the attacks, Indian politicians up to and including Narendra Modi began banging the drums of jingoistic Islamophobia as is part for the course when it comes to the radical Hindutva BJP, Garrie argues and adds:
Therefore, when one connects the dots, one sees that India stands to uniquely benefit from Sri Lanka's turmoil not only in terms of internal electoral politics but in terms of weakening a Sri Lankan government that in spite of its allegedly pro-India Prime Minister maintains healthy and growing ties to China and Belt and Road. Thus, the attack could well serve as a "punishment" for Sri Lanka's "crime" of moving closer towards Belt and Road.
A Chinese flag flies over in India's backyard
Hong Kong-based South China Morning News, reporting about the taking over of Hambantota port, wrote in January 2018: "A Chinese flag flies over Sri Lanka as China extends its reach into India's backyard. Chinese investment in two of Sri Lanka's biggest port projects raises military concerns for New Delhi."
Wang Dehua, director of the Institute for Southern and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies, was quoted by SCMN as saying, In addition to helping Sri Lanka develop, China's investment in the two ports in the strategically important nation would help safeguard its own energy security when shipping oil along Indian Ocean routes.