India’s vote against Sri Lanka, Kashmir

India’s terrorist activities against the innocent and oppressed people of Kashmir in the occupied territory are not hidden from anyone. Similarly, day in and day out double standards of Delhi in other issues appear before the world as well. In the same context, on March 23, 2012, India voted against Sri Lanka in the conference of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva regarding the resolution moved by the US. Analysts are viewing this measure by India as a worth-considering act for the South Asian region. UNHRC has forty-seven members. Out of forty seven members of the UNHRC, twenty-four members that mainly include India, the US, Austria, Belgium, Spain, The Czech Republic, Switzerland etc have voted in favour of the resolution steered by the US which accused the Sri Lankan government of violating the ‘human rights’ under the cover of tackling the rebellious activities of Tamil Tigers. It further argued that a case of war crimes should be made against the government of Sri Lanka. However, on this issue, Pakistan, China, Russia, Bangladesh, Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, in total fifteen countries, opposed the resolution. Eight countries did not participate in the voting process.

Reacting to the resolution, the spokesperson of the Sri Lankan government strongly condemned the Indian role in this regard. He stated that in the near future, the Sri Lankan government might move a resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) against India. The resolution would address the on going state-sponsored terrorism by New Delhi in the occupied Kashmir. Similarly, that would also draw attention towards the constant violation of human rights by India in terms of persecuting the people of Kashmir. Moreover, the resolution would also appeal to initiate a case of war crimes against the concerned Indian officials.

By reviewing the situation in detail, neutral analysts are of the view that the above mentioned situation would affect the regional and global situation to a great extent. Similarly, it would provide ample boost not only to the struggle for the freedom of Kashmiri people but would also strengthen Pakistan’s position and stance on the unjust occupation of Kashmir by India. Broadly speaking, the regional political parties are having an increasing impact on the foreign policy of India. A few days back, the current chief minister of the state of Tamil Nadu, J. Lalita who belongs to the party of AIDMK, pressurised the Indian government to vote in favour of the resolution against Sri Lanka. Soon after that, DMK, an important coalition party of Manmohan Singh’s government, shoved the Delhi government to vote against Sri Lanka. It also threatened the government of parting ways from the coalition of the government. Paradoxically, government decided to protect its coalition government and voted in favour of the resolution, though other factors were also involved.

Likewise, in October 2011, chief minister of West Bengal, Mamta Banerjee, nudged the Manmohan Singh government to revert the TEESTA agreement regarding the division of river water between Bangladesh and India — which Singh had signed in the September 2011 during his visit to Bangladesh. According to the agreement, it was decided to give 50 percent water to Bangladesh. Ironically, soon after the agreement, Banerjee and her party members made a hue and cry over the accord by claiming that it would not be in favour of the Indian state of West Bengal. So, even the ink of the agreement had not dried and when it was reverted by the Indian government. Mind you, Mamta Banerjee is not only the chief minister of Bengal but her party Trinamool Congress is one of the important coalition partners of the ruling government. For the same reason, Delhi government decided to retract on its decision of TEESTA agreement with Bangladesh.

According to the analysts, India’s antagonistic approach towards Bangladesh and Sri Lanka points towards number of issues. Firstly, the contradiction between what India says and does has taken deep roots in the Indian politics. Secondly, regional political parties in India have gained lot of momentum and influence on the foreign policy of India. In this context, Pakistani media, government and concerned authorities should be fully aware of the importance and functioning of India’s regional political parties in order to maintain peaceful relations with that country. Similarly, serious and practical attempts to resolve the dispute of Kashmir and water issues between India and Pakistan should be made in this backdrop. Friendly relations between India and Pakistan are of great significance for regional peace and stability of South Asia.

—The writer works for Islamabad Policy Research Institute.

[Pakistan Observer]