India balm after UN vote against Sri Lanka

Endorsing a U.S.-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) on Sri Lanka's war crimes against the Tamil Tigers, India for the first time ever voted on Thursday censuring the government in Colombo.

But India tried to do the balancing act, so as not to miff the Lankans completely, by persuading the U.S. to make changes in the original resolution.

It was passed 24 to 15 with eight abstentions in the UN Human Rights Council. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's reaction made it clear that India's vote was shaped by coalition compulsions.

India voted for a U.S.-backed resolution asking Sri Lanka to probe rights abuses in the war on the Tamil Tigers, though it underlined its ¿strong ties¿ with the nation

India voted for a U.S.-backed resolution asking Sri Lanka to probe rights abuses in the war on the Tamil Tigers, though it underlined its 'strong ties' with the nation

'We don't want to infringe on Sri Lanka's sovereignty but our concerns should be expressed so Tamils get justice and dignity. We had to weigh pros and cons what we did was in line with our stand,' he said.

The DMK wasted no time in welcoming India's vote saying Tamils across the globe would also be thankful to India for voting for the U.S.-sponsored resolution.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa too echoed the sentiment saying 'amid all this confusion and procrastination, it is heartening to note the government has voted in favour'.

But DMK chief M. Karunanidhi requested the By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury in New Delhi Prime Minister to prevent a possible backlash against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

'News reaching here indicates that there is widespread apprehension among the Lankan Tamils about possible attacks in view of the UN resolution,' Karunanidhi said.

India was earlier reluctant to vote on a nation-specific resolution but had to change its stand following pressure from Tamil Nadu parties, particularly DMK that had threatened to pull out its ministers.

The resolution pulled up Sri Lanka for its internal inquiry report that 'does not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international law' and urged it to investigate alleged abuses during the final phase of war with Tamil rebels.

But Colombo reacted sharply to India's stand. Foreign minister G.L. Peiris said: ' at the council is now determined not by the merits of a particular issue but by strategic alliances and domestic political issues in other countries.'


Peeved with veiled U.S. threats of imposing sanctions against it unless Iranian oil imports aren't significantly reduced by June 28, India has warned such a move will adversely impact growing bilateral ties.

On Tuesday, the U.S. exempted Japan and ten European nations from U.S. sanctions for having reduced purchases of Iranian crude oil. Later the U.S. state department asked 12 countries, including India, China and Russia, to follow suit, asserting that a decision on imposing financial sanctions on them would depend on progress in cutting down supplies from Tehran.

The Centre has taken an exception to the veiled U.S. threat, particularly when India is diversifying its sources for oil imports.

A senior government official described the U.S. position as unfortunate.

'This tone and tenor is unacceptable. Any move by the U.S. to impose sanctions against any Indian financial institution or bank dealing with Iran will adversely impact Indo-U.S. bilateral ties.

This will alter the public perception in India towards the U.S.,' the official said.

The U.S. sanctions censure dealing with the Central Bank of Iran and any other designated financial institution in Iran. But India has other mechanisms for oil payments to Iran.

'Therefore such U.S. sanctions do not apply in a blanket fashion,'another official said.


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