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The UNHRC can just urge Sri Lanka to take action: Suhasini Haidar

IBNLive.com
Mar 21, 2013 at 09:26am IST

Why is India not in favour of a strong UN resolution against Sri Lanka? CNN-IBN's senior editor Suhasini Haidar joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. Why no nation is bringing a strong UN resolution against UK, USA etc killing so many innocents allover world? including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc? Asked by: Prathap

The UNHRC can just urge Sri Lanka to take action: Suhasini Haidar

Why is India not in favour of a strong UN resolution against Sri Lanka?

A. Hello everyone and thanks for joining in! I think Prathap you have a point...the UN tends to work on behalf of the wishes of the more powerful countries of the world but that is why India has traditionally tried to play a mediating role. And yes, it is interesting that despite the high civilian casualties in all these wars, no aggressor has been named at the UN.

Q. Why is DMK not so vocal over domestic issues that impact the country like price rise, corruption and fall in governance standards? Asked by: Ravi

A. Tamil sentiments in India are quite angered over the issue too, and it has become an issue of competitive politics.

Q. The whole purpose of UN is to keep the world order, and if we have enough evidence of a genocide. What stops them from an impartial international investigation on war crimes? And how this affects India's interest? This clearly shows India and Srilanka do not want the world to know what happened there. Asked by: Bharani

A. Sri Lanka has made it clear it will not accept an international investigation making the point that no sovereign nation does. India has also been against international interference on such matters. Remember, in the past India has faced allegations over Kashmir,in Manipur, in Naxal areas. it would certainly not agree to opening them up to international enquiry. Secondly,the word genocide cannot be used loosely. The war against the LTTE was a real war, given that the Sri Lankan army only controlled half the island, while the LTTE controlled the other half (not exactly). In such a situation, civilian casualties are likely to be higher. But at the end, it is the country that will have to investigate and try to reconcile the atrocities of the past.

Q. Is it the right time for this resolution when India is already having external affairs crisis in Italy, Pakistan, Maldives etc so it will further complicate its situation? Asked by: Shailesh

A. You have a point Shailesh - qun right now is about timing, given that the DMK has already left the govt, and the US's resolution comes up on Thursday-Friday. So it has to be now. But it is true that India is having many difficulties on the external affairs front.

Q. Tamil kings ruled Sri lanka for hundreds of years and together we have thousands of year's history. Tamil in India still have blood relation with Eelam Tamils. Also people compare Eelam and Kashmir, one quick clarification India is not conducting mass killing in Kashmir. Why people in North India do not understand our sentiments? Asked by: Priya

A. Priya, I understand your sentiments, but every part of the subcontinent is linked by hundreds of years of history. Sri Lanka is a sovereign independent country, so while the kinship and emotional bonds are strong, they cannot over-rule International precept, and thats what is the consideration right now...not for North or South Indians, but for all Indians.

Q. Is the UN a strong enough institution that the resolution can be worked on and quick investigation can happen to find out the facts? Asked by: Shailesh

A. No Shailesh, the UNHRC can simply urge Sri Lanka to take action. If the UN wants to take the next tough step, those will come from the UNGA and the UN Security Council (not on the cards right now).

Q. At the end of the day should we not look at each of these situations separately and treat them on merit as the largest democracy in the region? Each situation is separate - china is not pakistan and pakistan is not srilanka so how can they be compared and confused?? Asked by: c4conscience

A. Wise words!

Q. Being a matured country, we should not favour because we are in a similar situation in Kashmir. it is DMK is playing politics Asked by: Suresh

A. Fair point!

Q. I think, some of the questions already asked are interesting and there are purposely to brighten the secular image of their respective parties, of course I will be reading them as well and then you own think on Why is India not in favor of a strong UN resolution against Sri Lanka? your opinion Asked by: Subopdh Deshpande

A. I think Indian diplomats and politicians are speaking at cross purposes- while diplomats carrying out negotiations on the basis of past principles, the politicians are working on political compulsions. The diplomats are working on the following issues: 1. India has never been in favour of taking neighbours, commonwealth countries to international fora, 2. India-Sri lanka has a strong bilateral relationship that is seeing a strain because of the resolution. 3. India is against any international intervention in sovereign countries. 4. A strong resolution will still not be able to force Sri lanka to keep its promises.

Q. Suhasini, What makes us think, that if we add word "genocide", there will not be any countries supporting us in UN, as i truly believe that what Sri Lankan armay did with the LTTE people, that is not less then a genocide. Asked by: Rakesh

A. Genocide is a strong word...technically it can be used at the un after an international rapporteur hase investigated and called it a genocide. It is difficult to pre-judge that, since Sri Lanka won't allow an international investigation.

Q. Tamil oppression in Sri Lanka is happening for more than 75 years and LTTE is there for only 25 years. And LTTE was groomed by Indira Gandhi for India's own benefit (To keep US at its Bay). Is it not India's responsibility to restore peace in that Island nation? Asked by: Vignesh

A. Yes..but how? Times have changed. India may be sympathetic to the Tamil cause, but that doesn't entitle it to make a military intervention- and will that even fix the situation?

Q. Where was this LTTE supporters in Tamil Nadu when this LTTE killed Rajiv Gandhi and innocent Jawans of IPKF? Asked by: Prathap

A. Yes, but perhaps none of this can be resolved by the strong emotional bonds so many Tamils feel, and anger against the Sri Lankan govt, or the extreme anger many Tamils feel against the LTTE for killing Rajiv Gandhi, and so many Tamil leaders inside Sri Lanka too. Need to think rationally.

Q. Has India got too much clout to change Sri Lankan strategy as it is definitely not NATO or US to change power equations and it being close region to Sri Lanka it can face resurgence of hostile activities from that country. Asked by: Manav

A. Manav, you're right, which is why it is particularly unusual that India would choose to follow the US resolution when dealing with a neighbour, rather than taking the lead on an area in India's influence.

Q. Before deciding foreign policy in relation to Srilanka, let the authorities visit Tamilnadu to assess the ground reality. Asked by: Narasimhan

A. And perhaps, to Sri Lanka too?

Q. Why is the Srilankan issue looked at as a Tamil Issue? Agreed, people impacted are Tamils. But, it is time to differentiate the purpose of the current protests from what was anchored by LTTE. We are raising against the humanitarian issues, the war crimes and for the human rights of the people there. Voices need to be raised irrespective of where such issues are seen and who is affected, and this is what the people of Tamil Nadu are expecting India to do. Please don't pose this as a Tamil issue, but look at it as a humanitarian issue. Asked by: Mary

A. You have a point. However, the politicians have made it clear this is an important issue because of "Tamil sentiment".

Q. From US point of view, why does it interfere on Sri Lanka's issue? What does US benefit anyway? Is it only because of China angle or any other to mention? Asked by: Venkatesh T

A. The US feels Sri Lanka hasn't kept promises, I guess. It is also about the large and influential Tamil disapora that has been an effective terror group.

Q. Suhasini ji, this time students especially from engineering stream have taken over protests and across the state massive protests are erupting. Don't you think it's time India put sanctions on Sri Lanka for atrocities? Asked by: syed mohammad hannatagu

A. Bilateral action may infact be more effective than going to the international bodies.

Q. What is the difference between India's stance on Tamilians living in Sri Lanka and Pakistan`s stance on Kashmiris? Don't you feel both involve meddling in other countries business. Asked by: kaushik bhowal

A. Kaushik, it is that perception that worries many. Of course there are many differences. Pakistan's claim over Kashmiris is also about territory, whereas India has no claim on Tamil territory in Sri Lanka. Even so, India's actions must be about international interference.

Q. India got to realize that it is living with difficult neighbours and any attempt to implicate itself in internal situations of others can drive itself into instability. Asked by: Manav

A. That is another big worry. Sri Lanka has come through a very turbulent time, and it would be unfortunate to see the gains of peace being lost. Thanks again folks, it has been very interesting chatting with all of you. Hope to do so again soon. Catch a special show tonight on CNN-IBN: Lanka Resolution: The TamilNadu connect at 8.30pm!!

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