South Asia

India to be more supportive of Sri Lanka at UN: Swamy

BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo on Monday. Photo: Special Arrangement

BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo on Monday. Photo: Special Arrangement  

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Foreign policy to be guided by national interest, not regional interest

India will be far more supportive of Sri Lanka’s position at the United Nations Human Rights Council than ever before, former Union Cabinet Minister and the chairman of the BJP Committee for Strategic Action Subramanian Swamy said here on Monday.

Speaking on ‘India under Modi: relevance for the region and the world’, he said India’s foreign policy shall henceforth be guided by national interest and not regional interest.

Referring to the perceived fear about Tamil Nadu’s role in India’s foreign policy, he said there was no “Tamil Nadu factor”, adding that people of Tamil Nadu had repeatedly demonstrated so in elections. “I would urge Ms. Jayalalithaa to visit Sri Lanka and get a reality check.”

Observing that targeting of Sri Lanka on the human rights issue had gone farther than it should have, Dr Samy said, countries accusing Sri Lanka of rights abuse were themselves guilty of serious violations. “There is no need for Sri Lanka, or India, to be defensive about it.” In the March session of the Human Rights Council, India abstained from voting on the U.S.-backed resolution that called for an international probe into Sri Lanka’s rights record.

“We are very proud of your president for decisively finishing a sinister terror organisation that was a threat to our country too. Let no activity in the international arena subtract from them…sometimes I wonder is these HR issues contrived to belittle the importance of this decisive victory,” Dr. Swamy said, adding “no country has had a clear success in eliminating terrorism the way your country did.”

Referring to the meeting Dr. Swamy and his team had with President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier on Monday, he said, “We said let us delink Indo-Lanka relations from Tamil Nadu and problems of the Tamils.” However, Mr. Swamy was quick to add that as a friend he would urge Sri Lanka to address certain issues of the 13th Amendment, which he said, remain “unnecessarily” unresolved. “If our friendship and interaction develops sufficiently, we will give you ideas on what could be done.”

On the Sethu Samudram project, he said Sri Lanka had the right to have a view on the matter, questioning the propriety of the project.

Dr. Swamy’s talk was part of a discussion organised by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies. Seshadri Chari, national convener of the BJP’s foreign policy cell, Suresh Prabhu, former union minister, journalist and political commentator Swapan Dasgupta and Madhavan Nalapat, professor of geopolitics, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, were other panelists.

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Printable version | May 20, 2019 11:08:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/india-to-be-more-supportive-of-sri-lanka-at-un-swamy/article6234802.ece

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