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Discuss the pros and cons of India's stand on human rights issue in Srilanka.

The UN Meeting held during March 2014 was a defining moment for India's Foreign Policy.The meeting was held to Vote on a Resolution seeking an Enquiry from The International Community into the war crimes committed by the Lankan forces on the forces belonging to the banned outfit LTTE.International Community gave a clear Majority favouring the Resolution. Only 22 countries voted against the resolution.

As India and Lanka share friendly relations Sri lanka had appealed to India to vote against the resolution before the Voting actually took place.Meanwhile all the regional parties of Tamilnadu were pressurizing the Government to vote for the Resolution as Lanka has sizeable number of Tamilians in its Northern part and the parties believed Tamilians were subjected to war crimes.Though it was politically motivated,the Govt could not ignore their concerns.There were agitations in some parts of Tamilnadu to put pressure on the Govt to Vote for the resolution.There was Widespread anticipation to see as to how India votes in the meeting.Strangely India abstained from voting.Since it neither wanted backlash at home in the case of voting against resolution nor wanted to have strained ties with Lanka.

PROS

  1. Srilanka being a very close neighbor of India shares cultural and regional ties with India.A vote favouring the resolution would has strained the relationship with the Island Country.
  2. India has bad relations with Pakistan from the time it attained Independence.It also has Border Problems with China.2 wars with Pakistan and 1 with China have been fought since independence.India cannot afford to turn Srilanka from a friend to a foe.In an event of Confrontation with any of the above mentioned Countries,India will need Srilanka to support it's cause.
  3. It also shows a neutral stand.It will not invite the ire of either Srilanka or Western countries and hence it is a safe stand.
  4. Oil imports to India was affected because of sanctions against Iran. Though the magnitude of trade is not too high, India does not want to strain its economy because Trade will be affected by Voting for the Resolution.
  5. There could have been backlash in Tamilnadu if India had voted against the resolution heeding to Srilanka's request.Even though it was politically motivated it could not be ignored.
  6. India avoided a situation where Western countries would be very unhappy with India if it voted against the resolution.

CONS

  1. Abstaining from Voting in such a sensitive Issue like Human Rights violations dilutes India's credibility to become a major power with considerable clout among other countries and also to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
  2. Abstaining from Voting in such an issue is ethically wrong as it is related to war crimes.
  3. Projects India as a weak country whose internal politics determine its Foreign Policy. When a country does'nt take a stand on a sensitive issue involving its neighbor, one will doubt credibility of its decisions on other international issues far from its borders.
  4. When India does not take a stand on such a sensitive issue involving one of its closest neighbors,International community will doubt India's concerns for human rights.
  5. Other neighbors will get an impression that India is not a strong country. Even our image in front of the Global community will be affected as India will be seen as a country which is not bothered about Human rights violations in its neighborhood.
  6. This incident will set a bad precedent for future Diplomatic decisions.

Though it is not mandatory for any country to take a stand on each and every issue, it should not shy away from taking bold decision in the sensitivitiest of issue like Human rights violation.That too at a time when India is looking at becoming a major player in the world and securing permanent membership at the UN Security Council, such weak decisions will only push India farther from its dream.

Harshavardhan B J