NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said India was “inclined” to vote supporting the US-backed draft resolution on the post-war situation in Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
When External Affairs Minister SM Krishna gave a statement in Lok Sabha on the issue, DMK members had walked out and the House had to be adjourned for 30 minutes. The DMK took a series of steps to show its ire at the government’s stand. During the budget presentation on Friday, DMK’s S Palanimanickam, Minister of State for Finance, was absent from the House, though the party claimed that he was campaigning.
During the weekend, the DMK had upped the ante, announcing that party supremo M Karunanidhi will go on a token day-long fast on March 22, and that a meeting of the high-level executive committee will take place on Tuesday. The meeting was supposed to discuss India’s stand on the US-backed resolution.
Karunanidhi even said that the executive committee will decide on the question of withdrawal of support to the UPA government, if India did not support the resolution. Indian diplomats had been pointing out that the country had a traditional position against country-specific resolutions on human rights, asserting that it could bite back India on the international stage.
Before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cleared the air in his speech on Monday, he enunciated that it was only due to India’s continued engagement with the Sri Lankan government over concerns of the state of the Lankan Tamils that there has been substantial improvement in the ground situation in the island nation.
“As a result of our constructive engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka and our considerable assistance programme, a modicum of normalcy is beginning to return to the Tamil areas in Sri Lanka,” he said, adding that India had “emphasised to Sri Lanka the importance of a genuine process of reconciliation to address the grievances of the Tamil community.”
India had called for the implementation of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), appointed by Sri Lankan government, which has been presented in the Lankan Parliament. “These include various constructive measures of healing the wounds of the conflict and fostering the process of lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka,” said Singh.
The draft resolution, backed by the US and other western members of the UNHRC, also calls upon Sri Lanka to implement the LLRC report, but under UN supervision.