India Tries To Mollify, Lanka Warns On Kashmir

India Tries To Mollify, Lanka Warns On Kashmir

24 March 2012
Daily Pioneer
Sandhya Sharma

New Delhi: In an apparent move to reach out to Sri Lanka and cool down passions against India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday wrote to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, telling him that India made all efforts and succeeded in introducing an “element of balance” in the US-sponsored resolution at UNHCR. Earlier on Saturday, Sri Lanka warned India of possible repercussions on Kashmir issue. Singh also stressed the need for achieving a lasting political settlement to address the grievances of minority Tamils in Lanka. The Prime Minister wrote to Rajapaksa, “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.” Though India voted in favour of the resolution, it worked behind the scenes to tweak the document to make it “non-intrusive”, the letter claimed. Indicating that Rajapaksa had written to him three days before the vote, the Prime Minister said 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,” Singh said. He said the two Governments have, over the last 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. Earlier, Sri Lanka Government spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said in Colombo that some countries or groups might use the vote on Sri Lanka as a precedence to bring a similar resolution on India over the Kashmir dispute. Sri Lanka was, however, mindful that India acted under immense pressure from Tamil political parties, he told a public meeting. The Sri Lankan President commended the 15 countries which voted against “the anti-Lanka resolution for their support” and the eight nations which abstained in the 47-member UNHRC. Countries which voted against Sri Lanka would have to be concerned about consequences, he was quoted as saying. But another Minister Maithreepala Sirisena pointed out that the resolution was passed with the amendments added by India to safeguard Sri Lanka from “the interferences of UN bodies.” These amendments ensured that no intrusions can be imposed without the consent of the Government, he added. Sri Lanka has mainly downplayed India’s support to the resolution, saying New Delhi gave in to pressures from its coalition partners in Tamil Nadu who have been traditionally ranged against Colombo.