The editorial “A wake up call for Colombo” (March 23) on the passage of the U.N. resolution on Sri Lanka was exemplary. Sri Lanka used all the help it could get from western countries during its war with the LTTE. The banning of the outfit was particularly helpful. But it now wants the same countries to keep out as the question of war crimes has arisen. It has been playing the “China card” ever since it won the war, despite the strong support it got from India.
The argument that India voted for the resolution under pressure is disturbing. The entire Tamil population of India expressed its opinion, with representatives cutting across party lines in Parliament demanding that India vote against Sri Lanka. India's responsibility in the Sri Lankan issue cannot be wished away.
The passage of the U.S.-sponsored resolution asking Sri Lanka to investigate charges of rights violations during its war with the LTTE has sent waves of euphoria among Tamils across the world. The UPA government has done the right thing by voting in favour of the resolution. Had Colombo taken credible measures to bring about the long overdue reconciliation to ensure that the Tamils lived with dignity and equality, New Delhi would not have backed the resolution. Permanent peace, stability and development in Sri Lanka are inextricably linked to the meaningful measures its government takes within a reasonable time frame.
India's decision has reinforced the emotional ties and responsibility it has towards the well-being of Tamils in Sri Lanka. We need not worry about China's emerging regional strength. At the time of the civil war, the Sri Lankan Tamils found refuge in India, not China. It is we who care for their right to live with dignity and equality in the island nation.
What happened to the Sri Lankan Tamils in May 2009 was a gross violation of human rights. Yet political pressure had to be brought on the UPA government by the political parties in Tamil Nadu for it to vote for the resolution against Sri Lanka. Had the Congress enjoyed an absolute majority in Parliament, the story would have been very different. India would have let down the Tamils of India and Sri Lanka yet again. As the editorial points out, it is the first time in many decades that the Central government stance is in sync with the sentiments of the Tamils.
It was not before making repeated pleas to the Sri Lankan government on the issue of rehabilitation that India bit the bullet. It had to use coercive diplomacy with one of its most immediate neighbours in South Asia. It is no doubt a break from the cautious diplomacy that has characterised its foreign policy in the post- Cold War era. But with regionalism overriding bilateralism everywhere in the world today, it is heartening to see humanitarian concerns for the Tamils outdo India's need to strike a balance of power in the region.
The editorial should serve as an eye-opener to those criticising India for supporting the resolution. We are Sri Lanka's next door neighbour and the victims of the alleged war crimes are of our origin. Thanks for presenting the ground realities in a nutshell without any bias.
V. Tilak Subramanian,