India may tilt against Sri Lanka at Geneva

india flag     Despite Sri Lanka’s hopes, India is likely to back the US-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva against Colombo – if there is a vote.

But this decision will not be influenced by the anger in Tamil Nadu against the killing of large numbers of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan military in the war against the Tamil Tigers. New Delhi is convinced that while rehabilitation of the war displaced is taking place in the island’s northeast in some measure, Sri Lanka does not seem to be sincere vis-a-vis national reconciliation.

Last year, after Sri Lanka’s refusal to deal with Washington, India engaged with US diplomats and toned down the resolution, deleting references to its intrusive aspects.

Like many developing countries, India remains sensitive to Western moves that could be construed as interference in a country’s sovereign affairs. This time, Pakistan and some like-minded countries are said to be talking to US diplomats, apparently on behalf of Sri Lanka.

Despite strident demands from political players in Tamil Nadu, the Congress-led central government has not revealed how it will vote this year. One reason is that the US resolution is subject to amendments, and India will wait to see its final shape.

Second, there is a possibility that the resolution may be adopted by consensus, in which case it will be futile for India to reveal its cards – at this point.

In a move that shook Sri Lanka, India broke ranks with the rest of South Asia and voted for the US resolution that got passed despite hectic lobbying by Colombo.

Colombo has also dragged its feet on the issue of national reconciliation, refusing to engage in an earnest dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance, the biggest Tamil political grouping in parliament. This has prevented Sri Lanka from taking bold steps to bring about a national reconciliation that would help heal the wounds of a conflict that left tens of thousands dead over a quarter century.

Sri Lanka has also gone back on the promises it made to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on political steps it would take once the LTTE became history.

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