NEW DELHI: After India voted against Sri Lanka in UNHRC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa saying that it “spared no effort” in introducing “element of balance” in the final text.
In Sri Lanka, the official discourse has been that India was forced into supporting due to pressure from its coalition partner and political parties in Tamil Nadu. However, the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his first reaction had been cautious, and not named any countries for supporting the resolution.
Incidentally, Singh’s letter also indicated that Rajpaksa had also solicited India’s support through a written missive dated March 19 - the very day that Prime Minister announced in Parliament that India was “inclined” to favour the resolution.
The Prime Minister noted that both leaders had discussions with regard to a political solution that will address the grievances of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka “in a spirit of understanding and mutual accommodation.” “It is our conviction that a meaningful devolution package, building upon the 13th Amendment, would lead towards a lasting political settlement on many of these issues and create conditions in which all citizens of Sri Lanka, irrespective of their ethnicity, can find justice, dignity, equality and selfrespect,” he said.
Singh reminded him that India had “stood firmly by Sri Lanka in its struggle against terrorism.” “The end in May 2009 of a long and tragic conflict that had claimed numerous innocent lives, in Sri Lanka and India, was something that we regarded as providing, at long last, an opportunity for genuine national reconciliation end for addressing the urgent needs of development and reconstruction of all citizens of Sri Lanka,” he said.
The PM expressed appreciation for Colombo’s assistance in helping various Indian agencies to implement projects in Sri Lanka. “I was also happy to learn of Your Excellency’s intention to continue the process of implementing the recommendations of the LLRC,” he added.
India, Singh said, will continue to engage with the Rajapaksa government and “will continue our engagement with the shared objective of building a stable, secure and prosperous environment in Sri Lanka in which all communities can flourish and in which India-Sri Lanka relations can continue to grow from strength to strength.” According to sources, India expects there to be some “repercussions” from the vote in UNHRC, but does not expect there to be a longterm disadvantage on its interests. “Our economies are so intertwined that if they try to hurt us, it will hurt them too,” he said, adding that any symbolic signs of displeasure have “been factored in India’s move”.
Any move to put hurdles in India’s rehabilitation projects in north and east Sri Lanka would also hurt them, added sources.