Seeking to mollify Sri Lanka after the vote against it in UNHCR, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today wrote to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, telling him that India made all efforts and succeeded in introducing an “element of balance” in the US-sponsored resolution, according to PTI.
At the same time, Mr Singh underlined the need for achieving a lasting political settlement that will address the grievances of minority Tamils.
“I had instructed our delegation to remain in close contact with its Sri Lanka counterparts in an attempt to find a positive way forward. Your Excellency would be aware that we spared no effort and were successful in introducing an element of balance in the language of the resolution,” Mr Singh said.
He was referring to India voting against Sri Lanka at the UNHCR in Geneva when it supported the resolution against alleged human rights violations during the civil war. Though India voted in favour of the resolution, it worked behind the scenes to tweak the document to make it “non-intrusive”. Mr Singh’s letter comes against the backdrop of Sri Lanka’s displeasure over India voting against it at the UN and criticism from various sections that “domestic compulsions” had forced the country to vote against it.
In the letter, which suggests that Mr Rajapaksa had written to him three days before the vote, Mr Singh noted that both countries had discussed the way ahead to a political solution that will address all outstanding issues, in particular 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 self-respect,” Mr Singh said. Mr Singh told Mr Rajapaksa that he was happy to learn about his intention to continue the process of implementing the recommendations of the LLRC.
He said the two governments have, over the past three years, engaged intensively in the immediate tasks of relief and rehabilitation for those displaced by the conflict, as well as the more long-term effort of reconstruction of national infrastructure.
“Much important progress has been registered on this front and I wish to record my appreciation of the assistance your government has provided to various Indian agencies implementing projects of national significance on the ground in Sri Lanka,” he said. The Prime Minister also assured Mr Rajapaksa that India will continue its 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.