Sunday, May 19, 2013
Last Updated: 18 May 21:00 PM IST
20 March 2013
NEW DELHI, 20 MARCH: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was today briefed by India’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), Mr Dilip Sinha, on the US-backed resolution on Sri Lanka over alleged human rights abuses, according to sources in the government.
The PM reviewed India’s response to the upcoming vote tomorrow at the UNHRC in Geneva. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Defence Minister A K Antony were also present at the meeting that lasted about two hours, sources said.
The vote tomorrow has put India and its government in a tizzy. With the DMK threat hanging over its head, the decision as to how India votes has moved from a foreign policy decision to a domestic political issue. While the Ministry of External Affairs kept its cards close to the chest and refused to spell out which side India intends to take tomorrow, it would be fair to assume that any stand is likely to result in a spate of criticism.
While sources in South Block, for a long time now, have admitted that the Sri Lankan government has moved ‘slow deliberately’ on implementing the 13th amendment and on the question of political devolution to the Tamils, there is also a feeling that India’s foreign policy mandarins failed in their task.
India, despite regular high-level interactions with Sri Lanka, has failed to press the Rajapakse government on the need for a ‘political’ solution to the Tamil problem. Even the alleged human rights violations by the Sri Lankan army towards the end of its conflict with the LTTE have not been investigated in a satisfactory manner. Sri Lanka’s stout refusal to let any international organisation, including the UN, investigate the rights violations allegations and its insistence that only an internal inquiry is kosher, has left many on the global stage unhappy.
Irrespective of which side India votes for tomorrow, this is unlikely to be the end of the hue and cry over the Tamil issue in Sri Lanka ~ both in India’s domestic politics and in the international arena.
Meanwhile, seeking to clear the air over its decision to pull out of the UPA, the DMK today said it took the step only after it became evident that there was no way the amendments suggested by it could be incorporated in the US resolution in the UNHRC against Sri Lanka.