Will Geneva Vote mean a paradigm shift in India’s neighbourhood policy?
Posted on April 7th, 2014

By Bandu de Silva

 There has been no overall response in Sri Lanka to India’s stand this time over the voting on the US sponsored Draft Resolution (D/R) at UNHRC session in Geneva despite President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s spontaneous response to release the Indian fishermen in custody and a thank you letter since despatched to the Indian Prime Minister.  There have been much discussion on what brought about India’s change of mind at the last moment to abstain from voting after making a powerful explanation of reasons why the Draft was not acceptable to India because of its intrusive nature. The Island newspaper editorially asked why India stopped at that if she was so convinced. Others raised similar question.

In my last article published in the Asian Tribune on March 21 2014, commenting on Sathya Moorthy’s article ““Why India should not vote against Sri Lanka at UNHCR ”, (Ceylon Today, March,13 2014), I argued the reasons why  India could not cast a vote against Sri Lanka at the UNCHR sessions in Geneva if a rational foreign policy was followed but concluded that Sathya Moorthy’s and my expectations might not come through. That was considering the negative record of history of Indo-Sri Lanka bi-lateral relations during the whole period since independence except for the duration of the time of Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka and that of Prime Ministers Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi of India with both of whom the Sri Lankan Prime Minister maintained very cordial personal and official relations.

The way India responded negatively this time  to the US sponsored D/R, my final assertion proved wrong but the reasons I used to argue why India cannot take a negative position towards Sri Lanka if there was rational thinking remain valid. This is now substantiated by the explanation offered by India’s representative at UNCHR in Geneva, Ambassador Dilip Singh, just prior to the vote taking. That explanation, in my view, points to the final triumph of the people behind the scene in Indian policy making in the South Blok. It is not that there had been no rational thinking on the part of India when it came to relations with the close neighbor Sri Lanka, but during the last few years, the South Block’s views on how the neighbourhood policy should be guided had been side-tracked by forces different from those which guided Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to treat Sri Lanka like plantation  colony . What dominated Indian thinking in recent times was not even self-interest but short term electoral -political compulsions like remaining in power. The vote bank in Tamil Nadu and Pudihchery in the south for the Congress party was very much in view.

Centre-Tamil Nadu Conflicts

Recent events in New Delhi-Tamil Nadu relations have brought to light the danger of permitting Tamil Nadu to override India’s long term interests as regards both internal cohesion of the Union as well as its interests as a country aspiring for a greater international role. The former reached a crescendo with Chief Minister, Jeyram Jayalalitha  of Tamil Nadu ordering the release of the convicts who were in jail for the murder of the former Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. The latter has manifested itself in Tamil Nadu’s adversarial policy towards neighbouring Sri Lanka, not just as a simple case of bringing pressure on the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils, but raising issues of bi-lateral dimensions like fishing and sovereignty over Kachchativu which matters had been settled between the two countries through bi-lateral agreements , and taking a very hostile attitude towards Sri Lanka all round like interference on matters of training Sri Lankan Armed forces personnel in India, promoting attacks on pilgrims from the island and stopping sports events. Some of these extraneous incidents have interfered with New Delhi maintaining healthy bi-lateral relations with Sri Lanka.

It was then time for the Centre to think of a course correction in the policy towards Sri Lanka being overtly dominated by electoral politics, not just to mend somewhat soured relations with the close neighbor but in India’s own long term interest of ensuring that the Centre’s decision making powers were not allowed to erode. That had to be stopped before it deteriorated further so as to offer a threatening prospect to India’s Union as it did once during the administration of Premier Jawaharlal Nehru because of the rise of Tamil Nadu’s ethnic spirit. 

Why New Delhi had allowed affairs to deteriorate to the present extent could be understood in a way if one considers that there was no parallel situation of trust building coming from the part of the Sri Lankan government today in contrast to  what it was as during the time of Mrs.Bandaranaike, for India to be pleased with the island government over areas of interest to her.

  Consequently, it was not the present day political realities of relations between the two countries that brought about a change India’s perspective on the Geneva Resolution this time, but as I argued, India’s long term interest of building up her image as a moral force in the world on which her ambitions to play a greater role in international affairs rests. That idea of moral force being very much India’s pre-independence legacy rather than the creation of post independent India, more had to be done be done to reinforce it.

South Block’s Triumph   

The realization today of  the true implications of the US initiative by the Indian government could be summed up not only as pointing to the ultimate triumph of a view point that has always been present in the past too in a strong section of the South Block but which failed to convince the government that in the long run, if India wanted to stand as a state  aspiring to play a key role in international politics, it had to adhere strongly to uphold the cultural and moral image of the country rather than expose its weakness as a country whose policy decisions are swayed by temporary short term advantages. It was also important that in image building, India had to demonstrate that she was capable of good neighborly relations in the region than she has demonstrated so far.

For the new course correction which took place with Geneva this time, the credit, as I conceived, has to go to the Indian bureaucracy for successfully influencing the Indian decision making. One could even see the hand of the present Indian External Minister, Salman Kurshid, in this whole affair as a person who could do some clear and bold thinking as he has demonstrated so far. It is not that he too does not come under the spell of  local geo-politics as his response in Lok Sabha in reply to a question raised by DMK leader Baalu in the Assembly, suggesting prospects of a Chinese involvement in the Kachchativu island. Minister Kurshid’s reply that India was keeping a close watch on Chinese infrastructure building in the neighbourhood countries may sound as if he was speaking against the spirit of emerging new dimensions introduced in Sino-Indian relations when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed seven bi-lateral agreements with China and invited the Chinese to take part in India’s three trillion dollar infrastructural development project. Such responses as attributed to Mr.Kurshid have to be understood in the given context rather than as a policy change .

If my argument is accepted, it is the deep-rooted perceptions as now emerged setting parochialism aside, like those arising from India’s local political stakes, which was often touted these days as the Tamil Nadu factor, because of the big vote bank that Tamil Nadu accounted for in central Indian politics, which has guided India’s decision not to vote with US this time. 

It is then, not so much why India this time did not go along with the US sponsored D/R against Sri Lanka, nor why her delegation chose to abstain on the vote, seemingly, though at the last minute, which  is important for consideration, but the explanation of India’s decision not to vote for it offered by Ambassador Dilip Singh.

Further Explanations by New Delhi

If one may attach importance to the reference to in India’s further explanations offered in New Delhi over her opposition to the Resolution , on the prospects of building on the holding of NPC elections, and establishment of the Provincial Council, over which there was a question mark for a long time, one might even surmise if there was an expectation that, in view of the concern of the Sri Lankan government over the pressure being exerted in Geneva, there could be prospects of further developments on the part of the Sri Lankan government  to make the devolution process more acceptable to the Sri Lankan Tamils as much as for India.

The holding of NPC elections itself came as a surprise to those in Sri Lanka who were strongly advocating the abolition of the 13th Amendment over which the President himself seemed inclined once. As such, what is in the minds of politicians for whom retaining political power is a first priority over others cannot be easily predicted.

A hand to the Congress

The way the Sri Lankan President reacted immediately to India’s abstention and the explanation of the vote, by ordering the release of all Indian fishermen in custody with their boats was not the last thing he did, need not be taken as a full appreciation of India’s stance this time on the vote, but its spontaneity is very characteristic of the Sri Lankan President sends an important message all round. The Sri Lankan Navy reportedly, not only now allowing Indian fishermen to fish freely in the island’s territorial waters around Kachchativu but even offering sweets and soft drinks to Indian fishermen, makes it even more spectacular.

This is all politics. Anything done to diffuse the fisheries issue especially at this time on the eve of election one could even perceive President Rajapaksa wanting to lend a helping  hand to the Congress coalition which is much beleaguered in Tamil Nadu, with even its ally, the DMK, parting ways over Sri Lankan issues. That also takes the sails off both Jayalaitha’s AIDMK and Karunanidhi’s DMK on the Sri Lankan issue and to that extent, help the Congress. That is the type of political gesture which only politicians understand.  

Self-interest not excluded

If I may add a caveat over the Indian decision on The Geneva vote this time, indubitably, once again, India might have had her own self-interest in mind in judging the effect of the D/R, not just on Sri Lanka, but on herself one day, as much as on other UN member states.  This is resulting from what I had pointed out nearly three years ago as that of the UNCHR trying to assert for itself a role that only the UN Security Council has been empowered to wield. That is to empower UNHCR by devious means to assert for it the way for ordering   international investigations into the affairs of a member state of the UN in situations involving human rights and humanitarian law.  As the head of the Indian delegation pointed out this time in his pre-Resolution intervention, the US sponsored D/R was “intrusive” and ignored that “every country [had] the means of addressing human rights violations through robust national mechanisms.” That “intrusive” element has been present also earlier in 2012 and 2013, though for its own reasons, New Delhi had decided to support the US Draft Resolution in those years.  

India’s hand in the Draft

Looking back into the Geneva Draft,  a reference to the implementation of the 13th Amendment was incorporated into the D/R this time, along with other references to making it fully effective, which can be seen as resulting from the Indian interests during the negotiating process, (it has also been so concluded by others) but an explanation is needed as to why India, at that stage, did not press the points it did later in her last minute explanation of the opposition it expressed to “intrusive’ nature of the D/R. Why did not India seek a modification of the operative paragraph at that stage? Did she try and fail but something kept under wrap because of the insistence by all Tamil Nadu politicians (even Congress politicians from TN like Chidambaram and KG Vasan to call for a an international investigation on Sri Lanka, ?

This way of looking at India’s motives might seem to vitiate the arguments used by India in opposing the Resolution but given the reality of the way India responded in the past, it could very well be explained that for the same reasons as before, India may have had the intention of going along with the US Draft but as discussed above, the South Block’s views prevailed finally. The public expression of disappointment by US over India opposing the intrusive nature of the D/R goes to show that India had been supportive of the D/R earlier but a change occurred only at the last minute.     

Fall back on ancient relationship 

I also note that a point I made in my last article and repeated many times previously, that India’s relationship with Sri Lanka is not just a geo-physical one. It was a relationship which both countries could not escape, a far more fundamental one based on millennia’s of close cultural links, which has come to be elevated from being confined to ceremonial occasions, and found some recognition in Ambassador Dilip Singh’s explanation. That is then something outside the other arguments but an appeal for an added reason for India to follow a good neighbor policy.

By way of a digression, I wish if the Indian Ambassador did not confine the relationship as going back to a thousand years, -that brings the memory of Cola imperialism ” but went back to millennia old relationship with the island nation which even transformed its entire cultural pattern and stands to this day as permanent link between the two countries to this day with India being looked at by average Sri Lankan with reverential admiration and respect. That arises above all post-independent treatment extended to Sri Lanka except during the immediate post Nehru period under Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi on the Indian side and Sirima Bandaranaike on Sri Lankan side.

New Delhi’s further explanations

So far, I have described this sudden change of India’s stance as the result of South Block’s influence finally prevailing over earlier political (electoral) priorities. However, New Delhi’s further explanations  which concentrate not on the theoretical aspects (and morality aspects too as I see) raised by its representative in Geneva but on the fact that the India’s stance of abstaining on the vote was for the “betterment of  Tamils,” might give the impression of the South Block bureaucracy too veering round to give a pro-political explanation. For example, Foreign Secretary, Sujatha Singh’s statement confirming that India’s decision to abstain on the vote would be beneficial to Tamils and that it would also help resolve the problems of fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, address the political reality closer home than India’s explanation of the principled standing on the vote offered to the Geneva audience.

At a political level, this explanation has been further articulated by others like the Union Minister of State for Industries and Commerce E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan who defended India’s abstention arguing that it was aimed at neutralising the influence of China, which he said, was looking for a toehold in this part of the world. This is, of course, politically loaded explanations trying to neutralise opposition from other Congress stalwarts like Chidambaram. The China bogey is a very live subject among Indian law makers.

US had no pressure point to exert influence on India

On the other hand, it was a realization by India that her new security relationship and nuclear partnership in the use of advanced nuclear technology for civilian purposes  entered with US were important, they were not exactly beneficial for India alone but was a mutually advantageous equation. Consequently, there was no way that the US could use the security partnership with India, or even cooperation in the high nuclear energy field as a pressure point to persuade India to side with her on the D/R against Sri Lanka, as it did with countries like South Korea which depend on US military support which it gained to support the D/R and Philippines which it was able to neutralise into abstention. Though Japan also depends on US military support, there is a binding link between Japan and Sri Lanka which Japan has not overlooked so far. This old memory which goes back to the time of the Japanese Peace Treaty signed in San Francisco keeps on coming up always. US exerting pressure points on these countries of the Pacific which could have looked at Sri Lanka with greater empathy was overwhelmed by the China bogey which Hilary Clinton dexterously aroused during her South Asian tours.  

Besides, recent events in the diplomatic field like the insulting  cavity search of a senior female Indian diplomat by the border Police in New York, and also being subject to a Court case, and not un-similar humiliating treatment of the former Indian President, Abdul Kalam during a visit to the US, had caused more than mere irritation in India even leading to diplomatic retaliation, could not have helped US to maintain a demanding partnership with India.

Even though I took up the position earlier that these incidents may not have soured India’s overall bilateral relations with the US to affect an issue like the UNHCR vote on Sri Lanka, it would now seem that the cumulative effects of these incidents could have added up to India taking a close look this time rather than be seen as a camp follower of US on the vote issue.  Under a Prime Minister like Indira Gandhi one could have expected much harsher response from India to any insult to India’s honour, whether in the personal insult or other form. We recall, how Sri Lankan Presidential aspirant J R Jayewardene’s remarks to her and her son during the Indian General Election campaign, brought about some disastrous consequences to Sri  Lanka.        

Will there be a paradigm shift in India Foreign Policy?

This is the most important question that the Geneva vote raises this time. That India was unable to vote against the Draft Resolution despite all the sound and fury of arguments brought up by Ambassador Dilip Singh over the intrusive nature of the Resolution and other matters, and  further explanations given in New Delhi, expressing prospects of further improvement towards devolution, i.e., that India’s stance was advantageous to Sri Lankan Tamils, whether or not it will lead to a paradigm shift in India’s way of taking foreign policy decisions is a moot question. We are witnessing a situation of a General Election where the indications are fortunes may not remain as they were so far. A dicey electoral situation which gives Tamil Nadu even greater manoeuverabilty could result in a fall back to pre-Geneva electoral politics as the guide to relations with Sri Lanka.

Despite whatever cause that led India to take a half way stand, the new turn of events at Geneva as far as India was concerned, could be satisfying to India’s neighbours as well as India’s other well-wishers elsewhere. That is if India could sustain the trend and will not fall back on local electoral politics as the guiding principle in foreign policy decision making.

Sathya Moorthy put it succinctly when he said that India could not escape her neighbours. Though not on the same paradigm as India’s security and other relationship with US, which has now become a major consideration for India, cordial and strong bi-lateral relations with immediate neighbours is a factor which demands an equally, if not a more  important  niche in India’s foreign policy structure. That is very important for India’s image building as a country wanting to play a major international role.

Looking at it even historically, it was on a good neighborly relationship with Asian countries that Indian foreign policy started after independence, rather than with good relations with US or the West, until the border clash with China changed India’s perception and India began to look for US strategic relationship to continue the border war with China but which was not forthcoming.  It was only then that the former Soviet union stepped in and changed India’s nascent perception towards US and put china on the list of a permanent adversary. In the case of Sri Lanka, the bi-lateral relations become even more important because on India’s own perception, the island is very much within India’s shore defence scheme.

China factor 

Minister Natchappan’s remark quoted earlier shows how sensitive the China factor is, among Indian law makers. Even earlier, External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid’s remark in Lok Sabha that India was keeping an eye on Chinese infrastructure building in the neighbourhood was prompted by a question by Minister Baalu about a Chinese involvement in the Kachchativu affair. Despite all such manifestations, it would not benefit Indian foreign policy to continue forever, with the adversarial policy towards China, which resulted from the border war, which again, learned observers, both on India side and outside have attributed to Nehru’s mishandling of the border security issue by following imperialist claims and strategies. Both China and India have marched a long way since and are on the threshold of  becoming emerging economic giants in Asia and global powers. Much has happened towards amelioration of relations between the two countries in recent times.

There is then much more to be gained by India by developing an alternative foreign policy paradigm through improved bi-lateral with China. This was outlined by Premier Manmohan Singh in his speech in the Great Hall of Beijing when he invited China to participate in India’s three trillion infrastructure programme. Such improved bi-lateral relations between the two countries is a situation which could be satisfying to not only to India’s South Asian neighbours but also to many others. Only a spoiler like the US which wishes to see the world and countries divided which as one saw during Hillary Clinton’s visits to Asia when she was setting up Asian countries against China, would oppose a a thaw in relationship between the two emerging Asian giants.

Future of Indo-Sri Lankan Relations

It is just as well if the present tempo demonstrated by India’s opposition to the D/R against Sri Lanka which was adopted with a sharp division is maintained and Indian foreign policy decisions continue to follow the reasoned  criteria which were used by India, which as I said point to the stamp of  India’s well honed South Block’s influence. If that were the situation, the neighbourhood  countries in South Asia (SAARC) could find it easy and privileged to rally round India in her aspiration for higher international role and leadership role in the region. For example, Sri Lanka which had positively declared herself in support of India’s bid to a permanent seat in the UN Security in Council, could be seen in the role of a banner holder towards that end. 

The official response from the Sri Lankan government has been swift and well meaning. President Rajapaksa ordering the expediting of the legal process to release the Indian fishermen custody and the Sri Lankan Navy not obstructing since Indian fishermen to fish near Kachchativu and in the Mannar Sea received warm media reception in India. As already  remarked earlier, it has removed the sails off DMK and AIDMK over this issue. That gives the Congress coalition the edge over the Tamil Nadu parties at the forthcoming elections.

The President’s move following India’s decision on the vote this time, therefore, has brought about prospects of reaping political benefits to both sides. This gives a new opening to recommence the somewhat disturbed bi-lateral relations between the two countries and bring it back to the days when Premier Sirima Bandaranaike held the reins of government. Mrs Bandaranaike’s international stature was such that even when she did not see eye to eye with India in certain issues like the border with China and over the civil war in former East Pakistan, her views were not contested by India but respected. 

Response to the Geneva Resolution

The Indian response to US Resolution and Sri Lanka’s response to India so far cannot be discussed fully without a discussion of the US sponsored resolution itself. However, space does not permit a full discussion of it here. Sri Lanka’s response so far to the Geneva Resolution which was adopted with a marked division has been to reject it outright at political level.

Whether the official position will remain the same, i.e., a head-on clash with the OUNCHR will continue at official level, or like before, there would be cooperation with it in the end, is difficult to predict at this stage. If Sri Lanka choses the hard option, it makes it reasonable that she should have India on her side which would make her position strong. Likewise, it is time to invoke the NAM spirit if Sri Lanka intends to contest OUNCHR’s position, (that means the Resolution itself) at other international for a like the UNGA. (See Neville Ladduwahetty’s article in The Island of April  1 2014).

  One problem with regard to continuing Sri Lanka’s positive response to India, as I remarked earlier, is that the new prospects have emerged at a wrong time when India is going for a General Election. Whichever party emerges successful, Sri Lanka should now prepare itself for a close dialogue on issues with the new government over issues that India is interested in. The Sri Lankan government should not hesitate to explain to India the extent to which the devolution can be extended despite the 13th Amendment for reasons the majority in the country consider valid, including security considerations. It is imperative that India too should understand these compulsions and should not hold the 13th Amendment she brokered (read imposed) like the Sword of Damocles over Sri Lanka’s head and should take the overall local political context into consideration.  Even in India, a number of Constitutional provisions still remain dead letters without the necessary legislation being passed and some implemented  only through Prime Ministerial directive.

As Salman Haider writing in the Statesman (April 1, 2014) observed :

“….India has to be persuasive with SLG and find common ground. Adopting the kind of minatory approach embodied in the recent resolution does not serve a useful purpose and there is no advantage in following others in that course. India and Sri Lanka have been partners in the long struggle at the UN to maintain the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace. This should remain the guiding purpose of their policy so that they continue to collaborate in this task and remain partners in the task of maintaining the security of the Indian Ocean littoral, whether from internal or external threat.”

Apart from the new opening which is presented to the two countries with India’s change of mind on the Geneva Resolution, it is also time for both countries to examine if the old cooperation between the two countries on keeping the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace which Salman Haider refers here, could be renewed. Such consideration falls into place with the renewal of the lease of Diego Garcia atolls to build the US maritime base is coming up for revision, an issue over which India and Sri Lanka were both concerned much once. While it is time that Sri Lanka should take an initiative in this respect, the prospects of India joining forces with Sri Lanka for a common stand would also be a real test in which direction Indian foreign policy is ultimately moving.

10 Responses to “Will Geneva Vote mean a paradigm shift in India’s neighbourhood policy?”

  1. Nanda Says:

    “the prospects of India joining forces with Sri Lanka for a common stand ” will be NIL, as long a Tamil Nadu exists.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    “Will Geneva Vote mean a paradigm shift in India’s neighbourhood policy?”

    NO. One swallow does not a summer make!!

    Endia ABSTAINED from voting for 4 reasons.

    1. Pakistan and China FIERCELY DEFENDED SL. Endia would have dig its REGIONAL GRAVE if went against it.

    2. GOSL increased IMPORT TAX on Endian dirt with a MASSIVE economic impact on POOR Endian workers in motor vehicle, etc. and other HIGH VALUE export plants. Overall NO IMPACT on Endian economy but MASSIVE MICRO economic impact on STRUGGLING Endian motor companies.

    3. TN is a gone case. Congress has NOTHING MORE TO LOSE in TN.

    4. GOSL THREATENED to take back Trinco oil tanks.

    Anyway Modi will NOT follow Congress’s foreign policy.

    Endia will ALWAYS be SL’s enemy #1 as long as TN is part of Endia.

  3. dhane Says:

    US sponsored Draft Resolution at UNHRC session in Geneva was passed. Let begging the finding since 1976 up to 2009. Thus include the period of MGR, Rajiv Gandhi & other Nadu politicos financing, training & supporting LTTE. Then should add all those western countries Canada, USA, UK & Germany collected massive funds on behalf of LTTE to purchase weapons & smuggled into S/L. Let investigate what Rajiv IPKF did to Tamils in North instead disarming LTTE. I my opinion India is not prepared for all these investigation. Remember the history if India.
    “The British were able to take control of India mainly because India was not united. The British signed treaties and made military and trading alliances with many of the independent states that made up India. The British were very effective at infiltrating these states and gradually taking control. They often left the local princes in charge of the various parts of India. These local princes were effective at maintaining British rule and gained much from being loyal to the British.” After the Independence Pakistan divided. Tamil Nadu is awaiting for a opportunity to create their own “home land” any part either in south India or North S/L.

  4. Christie Says:

    This is an Indian, Indian colonial parasite and Indian vermin resolution co-sponsored by Mauritius. If Baratha voted against, then I would still say _uck you for the Indian terrorist arm branded Tamil Tigers.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    If you believe that Geneva Vote ushers in a paradigm shift in India’s neighbourhood policy, I have a Suspension Bridge in New York that I want to sell you as well!

    No, it does not!

    This SLY ABSTENTION instead of a VOTE AGAINST UNHRC-3 resolution, after Orchestrating It in cahoots with the US and the UK, merely reflects new political events in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in India, in which the Congress Party has been abandoned by its long-time ally the DMK led by Karunanidhi, and the LOSS OF ALL Allies in Tamil Nadu.

    Kanrunanidhi has done so hoping to get some scraps off the table of the new BJP-led Union Govt of India. But, that is a vain hope, for the AIADMK led-by Jayalilitha has ALREADY secured that slot for her own party, and she will do everything possible to SHUT-OUT the old fellow-demagogue of the DMK.

    As long as Tamil Nadu, the Jewel in India’s Economic and Industrial Crown, exists, Sri Lanka will NOT GET A FAIR HEARING from India. India will ALWAYS favor Tamil Nadu over Sni Lanka, and India’s local politics will ALWAYS be a deadly burden that Sri Lanka must periodically bear.

    For this reason, Sri Lanka must ESCAPE India’s DEADLY EMBRACE in every possible way: REDUCE Indian embassies and political involvement in Sri Lanka, REJECT Indian reconstruction and rehabilitation aid, DISCOURAGE Indian business ventures including buses, cars and three-wheelers, banks, hospitals, schools, reduce import and export of goods from and to India, REQUIRE Visas from Indians visiting Sri Lanka, DEPORT Illegal Immigrants from India, etc.

    In addition, Sri Lanka should IMMEDIATELY REPEAL the India-imposed 13th Amendment in our Constitution, and ENFORCE Sri Lanka’s Laws against TREASON RIGOROUSLY.

    This is the PATH to REAL INDEPENDENCE and National Sovereignty for Sri Lanka; NOT Slavish Pandering to India’s Pretensions to Regional Hegemony.

  6. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    To quote from the article “Recent events in New Delhi-Tamil Nadu relations have brought to light the danger of permitting Tamil Nadu to override India’s long term interests as regards both internal cohesion of the Union as well as its interests as a country aspiring for a greater international role.”

    That only holds true in the post war period. During the 30 year long war it was New Delhi and not Chennai that trained and supported the Tamil Tigers. New Delhi under Indira Gandhi and later on under Rajiv Gandhi had the policy of a proxy war using the Tamil terrorists to divide Sri Lanka in the same manner New Delhi took advantage of the rift between West and East Pakistan to create Bangladesh.

    Considering India’s ambition to create Eelam predates 1983 when her intelligence service RAW was already involved in training Sri Lankan Tamil recruits to be terrorists in Sri Lanka the question is whether New Delhi still harbors the notion that Sri Lanka falls under her sphere of influence. All indicators point that India has not changed from that stand. The ONLY reason India abstained from voting against Sri Lanka in the last human rights resolution was due to Great Britain’s insistence to take it one step further to create a “comprehensive international investigation” which would have also dragged in the IPKF (Indian Peace keeping force). Even then India tried to limit this comprehensive investigation to the period of 2002 to 2009, hoping that would avoid any investigation of her IPKF and the massive human rights violations done by them in Sri Lanka.

    Every nation has a self interest in their foreign policy and India is no exception. India would have gained if Eelam was formed. It would have forever cut the power of Sri Lanka in half and given Trincomalee to Eelam which would have given the Indian ocean to India. This half baked act by India to abstain should not be seen as a “new chapter” in India’s foreign policy with Sri Lanka. Instead it is an ongoing foreign policy where India saved herself from such an intrusive investigation demanded by Cameron, Great Britain’s Prime Minister. Had he not placed this motion on the table India would have voted against Sri Lanka. That is how tenuous the situation in Geneva was.

    This is the time to give the customery thanks to India while taking this advantage to further develop the defense pact with China. That also includes Russia. Both China and Russia are now exerting their power on the world stage while the US and NATO have demonstrated their utter lack of check mating either China or Russia.

    One must keep in mind that China not only is the head of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, but China is now the world’s most electrified nation. China has surpassed the US in electrical output and consumption. This is big. China has also emerged as the world’s largest manufacturing nation with an ambition to create a blue water navy. China has emerged as the world’s largest producer of alternative energy. Her production of alternative energy is now equal to Germany and France combined. China’s fastest growing faith and its larges faith is now Buddhism. Unlike India China has never tried to dominate or conquer Sri Lanka. Unlike India China supported Colombo in the decades long war against Terrorism.

    Finally Sri Lanka must break off from the concept of being under India’s sphere of influence. The only way Sri Lanka can achieve that is through China. I must reiterate that Sri Lanka should also continue to develop a defense pact with Russia especially with Vladimir Putin in power. The benefits of this relationship with Russia and China would be a Sri Lanka that is no longer under the yoke of India. It would also mean Sri Lanka’s strategic location and her own power would rapidly develop. A joint defense pact with both Russia and China would keep Sri Lanka from being overwhelmed by either nation.

  7. Sooriarachi Says:

    As stated in the above article, “……… I had pointed out nearly three years ago as that of the UNCHR trying to assert for itself a role that only the UN Security Council has been empowered to wield. That is to empower UNHCR by devious means to assert for it the way for ordering international investigations into the affairs of a member state of the UN in situations involving human rights and humanitarian law”.
    This is the crux of the matter. Since in the Security council, the permanent members have the power to veto a resolution, the US/UK/EU led western alliance is trying to open a back door in the form of the UNHCR, where there is no veto for any nation and the western nations have a block EU vote of about 15 votes to pass resolutions, empowering themselves to involve in internal affairs or even invade independent nations to install puppet regimes. As professor GL Peiris has clearly explained and as the western powers and their stooges must be very well aware of, this is not what the UNHRC was set up for and Sri Lanka has no option but to reject this recently passed resolution empowering Navi Pillai with powers that would set a dangerous precedent, and would allow the UNHRC to by pass both the Security Council as well as the General Assembly on matters of such serious nature in future.

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sooriarachi,

    You have CORRECTLY pointed out the CRUX of the Matter: The US, UK, EU block of NeoColonialists are developing UNHRC Resolution Process as a BACKDOOR to carrying out their AGENDA to CONTROL and UNDERMINE targeted UN members, in a way that cannot be Vetoed and Prevented by opposing members of the UN Security Council.

    As Prof. G.L. Peiris pointed out, this BACKDOOR is ILLEGAL in that it CONTRAVENES the Constitution of the UN. It is an ILLEGAL weapon directed at the heart of weaker UN Members States under the guise of being a legitimate UN procedure. The member states of the United Nations HAVE NOT GIVEN THEIR CONSENT to such a process. Without their CONSENT, such actions have no validity under the UN Constitution!

    Therefore, it is IMPORTANT for ALL MEMBERS of the UN to join hands with great powers like China and Russia to PREVENT a PRECEDENT being set of the UNHRC being used as a TOOL to undermine, destabilize, punish and dismember targeted United Nations members by Mafia Cartels of UN States such as the US, UK, EU block.

  9. Lorenzo Says:

    Mario is spot on! They DO think like this.

    Look what tamilnet says!! Unbelievably hilarious!!

    “India’s ‘cricket’ with Sri Lanka contrasts its response to apartheid

    [TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 April 2014, 12:13 GMT]

    If international sports is part of statecraft or tradecraft of the Establishments, India playing cricket with genocidal Sri Lanka, after partnering the genocide, having ‘military to military’ relationship and backing the genocidal State in every international forum, is in sharp contrast to how Non-Aligned India of 1960s and 70s responded to Apartheid South Africa by refusing to play cricket with it, commented Tamil activists for alternative politics in the island. India losing the game is not merely ‘sports’. The very participation of India itself marks the moral lose [sic] of a country of one billion peoples and their media that have the legacy of fighting British imperialism, but now unable to check their own Establishment, the activists said.

    If the 1936 Munich Olympics of Hitler and the appeasement policy of the then Britain Empire was one classic example, genocidal Sri Lanka and New Delhi make a contemporary example, the activists said.”

    LOL!!

    Looks like Tamils were the CRICKET BALL that was THROWN, SPAT ON, RUBBED ON THE BACKS and HAMMERED everywhere!!

  10. Ananda-USA Says:

    BW,

    You state that India abstained to avoid repercussions from the IPKF ‘s war crimes in Sri Lana. That is a long term issue for Sri Lanka, whereas my contention is that India abstained because given the loss of its allies in Tamil Nadu ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, there is less pressure on the Congress Party to pander to them by acting against Sri Lanka. The latter is a short term issue that would change as soon as the Lok Sabha elections are over.

    Hence my position that this is not a permanent policy shift by India, and Sri Lanka should make itself IMMUNE to India’s local compulsions by divesting itself of all dependence on, and links with, India.

    The author of the following article, writing for RT, explicitly supports my contention.

    ……………………..
    India refuses to rock Sri Lanka’s boat on human rights issues, but for how long?

    By Rajeev Sharma
    RT
    April7, 2014

    India has managed to negotiate a dangerous curve in its relations with Sri Lanka, a crucial Indian backyard where China and Pakistan have steadily enlarged their strategic footprints in recent years.

    As the closest neighbor, with thousands of years of relations with Sri Lanka, India cannot remain untouched by developments in that country.

    India abstained from voting at the United Nation’s Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) on March 27 on a resolution to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. The resolution essentially sought to put Sri Lanka under a highly intrusive external investigative mechanism, with an open-ended mandate to monitor national processes for protection of human rights in the country.

    The top UN rights body eventually passed the resolution with 23 countries voting in favor, 12 against and 12 abstentions. They approved an international war crimes inquiry into alleged crimes committed by both sides during Sri Lanka’s civil war that ended in May 2009 and cost about 100,000 lives.

    The resolution, co-sponsored by 41 countries, allows the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) to monitor progress and launch a comprehensive investigation into atrocities committed in the months before the end of the civil war. Expectedly, the Sri Lankan government sitting in Colombo has rejected the allegations of gross and widespread human rights violations, not to mention the probe itself.
    Bad or worse

    The UNHCR resolution put India between a rock and a hard place. If India were to vote for it then it would have gladdened the hearts of politicians in Tamil Nadu, but at a huge diplomatic and strategic cost. A “yes” vote would have estranged Colombo from New Delhi and would have given yet another reason for Sri Lanka to get closer to China and Pakistan. Colombo is doing so, anyway, albeit in a temperate way, but India siding with the West at UNHCR would have made the Sri Lankans do it much more brazenly.

    A “no” vote from India would have angered the Indian political parties in Tamil Nadu as well as the West. The UPA government in New Delhi could not afford it without huge political costs as India is in the middle of general elections and the support of the DMK, a major political party in Tamil Nadu, would be crucial for the Congress-led UPA in the post-poll scenario, just about 45 days from now.

    Although diplomacy is a continual process, the UPA government must have been aware that this was not the time for taking an all-white or an all-black decision. Therefore, it was best to take a grey approach and leave the next government to decide how it wants to navigate its bilateral diplomacy with Sri Lanka. That’s why India adopted a middle-of-the-road approach and abstained from the voting.

    But unlike India’s abstention on the Ukraine resolution in the UN General Assembly in New York the same day, India’s abstention on the Sri Lanka resolution was not a silent one. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Offices in Geneva, Dilip Sinha, gave exhaustive reasons in his “explanation of the vote” speech as to why India was abstaining.

    India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Offices in Geneva, Dilip Sinha.(Reuters / Faisal Mahmood)

    India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Offices in Geneva, Dilip Sinha.(Reuters / Faisal Mahmood)

    Sinha conveyed India’s concerns that the UNHCR resolution would do more harm than good to Sri Lanka and would hinder Colombo’s efforts rather than contribute constructively to its efforts, and hence inadvertently complicate the situation. He elaborated: “Moreover, any external investigative mechanism with an open-ended mandate to monitor national processes for protection of human rights in a country is not reflective of the constructive approach of dialogue and cooperation envisaged by UN General Assembly resolution 60/251 that created the HRC in 2006 as well as the UNGA resolution 65/281 that reviewed the HRC in 2011.”

    Dilip Sinha pointed to the elections to Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council in September 2013 and underlined that though it was “a significant step forward” much more needed to be done by Mahinda Rajapakse’s government towards a meaningful devolution of powers.
    Long road to reconciliation

    India has periodically urged Colombo to continue to take specific measures toward broad-based, inclusive, meaningful and genuine reconciliation with the minority Tamil community. India has called on Colombo to make purposeful efforts to fulfill its commitments, including on the devolution of political authority through the full implementation of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution of Sri Lanka and build upon it.

    “In asking the OHCHR to investigate, assess and monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, the resolution ignores the progress already made by the country in this field and places in jeopardy the cooperation currently taking place between the government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR and the Council’s Special Procedures,” Sinha explained. “Besides, the resolution is inconsistent and impractical in asking both the government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR to simultaneously conduct investigations.”

    Sinha also acknowledged and appreciated the steps taken by Sri Lanka to implement some of the important recommendations of Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), such as Trilingual Policy, promoting the official use of the Tamil language and the upgrading of schools in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

    The UNHCR itself has lauded Sri Lanka on these points as is evident by the High Commissioner’s report mandated by UNHCR’s resolution of 2013 on Sri Lanka, which acknowledges the progress made in reconstruction, resettlement and implementation of some of the recommendations made by the LLRC. On the flip side, the report also notes that the Sri Lankan government has failed to ensure independent and credible investigations into past violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. India is in complete agreement with the UNHCR on this point.

    India has consistently taken the stand that every country should have the means of addressing human rights violations through robust national mechanisms. India wanted the UNHCR to make efforts in a direction to enable Sri Lanka to investigate all allegations of human rights violations through comprehensive, independent and credible national investigative mechanisms. No foreign assistance should be thrust on a country unless it is specifically asked for by that country. Adopting an intrusive approach that undermines national sovereignty and institutions is fraught with dangerous consequences, contrary to UNHCR’s stated objectives.

    The end of the conflict in Sri Lanka has provided a whale of an opportunity for the Rajapakse government to pursue a lasting political settlement, acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka, including the Tamils. However, the Rajapakse government has not moved as rapidly as the international community, including India, desired.

    Colombo must not forget that it won’t be let off by the international community till it implements the LLRC recommendations in full; these findings and recommendations lie at the core of reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka.

    The Rajapakse government needs to move toward implementation of these recommendations in double quick time, particularly those pertaining to missing persons, detainees, reduction of ‘high security zones,’ return of private lands by the military, and withdrawal of security forces from the civilian domain in the Northern Province.

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