India’s vote `to help Tamils` upsets Sri Lanka

India voted for a US-backed resolution urging Sri Lanka to probe rights abuses in the war on the Tamil Tigers.

Zeenews Bureau

Geneva: India on Thursday voted for a US-backed resolution urging Sri Lanka to probe rights abuses in the war on the Tamil Tigers, but quickly underlined that it did so only to enable Sri Lankan Tamils to get justice.

However, this stance of India has disappointed Sri Lanka, which blamed strategic alliances and domestic political issues, an apparent reference to politics in Tamil Nadu, for the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution.

Sri Lanka`s Foreign Minister GL Peiris said the most distressing feature of this experience is the reality that voting at the Council is now determined not by the merits of a particular issue but by strategic alliances and domestic political issues in other countries which have nothing to do with the subject matter of a Resolution or the best interests of the country to which the Resolution relates.

After joining 23 other countries to vote against Colombo in Geneva, India notably underlined its "strong ties" with Sri Lanka and claimed that there won`t be any rollback of the robust relationship.

India is also understood to have worked behind the scenes in toning down the resolution to make it "non-intrusive".

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear that Colombo`s sovereignty must be respected.

"We have to weigh the pros and cons... What we did is in line with our stand... We don`t want to infringe upon sovereignty of Sri Lanka but our concerns should be expressed so the Tamil people can get justice and live a life of dignity," Manmohan Singh said.

The UNHRC adopted the resolution with 24 votes in favour, 15 against and eight abstentions.

The motion called on Colombo to address abuses of humanitarian law during the climactic phase of the war that crushed the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, ending 26 years of civil war.

China and Russia rallied behind Sri Lanka in Geneva.

(With Agencies’ inputs)

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