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|India dumps Lanka to appease DMK|
|Monday, 26 March 2012 22:26|
INDIA'S vote to UN resolution for censuring the Sri Lankan government at UN indicates that its foreign policy has become the casualty of coalition politics.
By supporting the resolution, India has ensured that its coalition partners are more important that its neighbours. The decision is likely to have an impact on age old Colombo-New Delhi relations.
No doubt, India initially showed reluctance to vote on a nation-specific resolution but changed its stand after political parties in Tamil Nadu exerted pressure on the government to go with the resolution. The DMK, in particular, threatened to pull out its ministers from the Cabinet on the issue.
The resolution asked Colombo to present expeditiously a comprehensive action plan detailing the steps to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and to address alleged violations of international law.
The decision has received a mixed response in India. While the majority of people favoured the resolution others condemned it. The pro-resolution people feel India has taken the correct position despite geo-political and strategic considerations which weighed heavily on it. The entire Tamil population of India expressed its opinion, with representatives cutting across party lines in Parliament demanding that India vote against Sri Lanka.
The anti-resolution lobby blamed both the UPA and the DMK for narrow-minded politics and lack of imagination. They aver the decision would leave India without any friends in its neighbourhood. It is another matter that Sri Lanka has been playing the “China card” ever since it won the war, despite the strong support it got from India.
Incidentally, for some time India’s foreign policy handling has been so inept that it lost whatever influence it had in Nepal, Maldives and Burma to China. And now we have this very unavoidable situation in Sri Lanka. How would all those supporting the resolution against Sri Lanka react if a similar resolution was brought against India on “rights violations” in Kashmir? Indeed, by voting in favour of the resolution, New Delhi has lost considerable leverage over Colombo and the goodwill it generated over the years has been dented.
Surprisingly, some people have expressed shock that the Lankan Government had defeated LTTE by indulging in inhuman acts but they overlook the fact that the latter were no less harsh in letting lose mindless violence against the former. The fact remains that three decades of violence in Lanka has left thousands of civilians including top politicians dead and maimed. To put an end to unabated violence, India rushed a huge contingent of peace troops to help the Lankan forces to challenge LTTE cadres. In retaliation the LTTE hatched a conspiracy to murder Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Unfortunately, those convicted for Rajiv Gandhi murder conspiracy are yet to be hanged due to the pulls and pressures of coalition politics.
In Colombo too, India's vote has aroused consternation. An editorial in The Island said that the diplomatic badger hunt in Geneva is over. "The cornered badger bravely fought the mastiffs of neo-imperialism, savage in the fray, and went down fighting. It certainly was a defeat as good as victory," it said. "It went on to say that India has been "a loser in Geneva, though it helped the US win".
In a veiled attack on India, Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, who was present during the voting, said the most distressing feature was the reality that voting at the Council was now determined not by the merits of a particular issue but by strategic alliances and domestic political issues in other countries, an apparent reference to the politics in Tamil Nadu.
There is no denying the fact that LTTE was responsible for conscripting children, killing Indian soldiers on a peacekeeping mission and for having murdered Rajiv Gandhi. But at the same time we can't ignore that Tamil civilians had to undergo physical torture, cruelty and mental agony at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army. Indeed, human rights were violated.
Keeping in view our proximity to Tamils in Sri Lanka, India should go beyond supporting this resolution and try hard that they get justice guaranteed under the Lankan Constitution. Moreover, India should continue to voice its concerns till the ethnic issue is amicably settled.
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