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India's UNHRC 'change of heart' a body blow: SL media

March 20, 2012 12:55 IST

Sri Lankan media on Tuesday said the country has been delivered a body blow by India which has said it is "inclined to" vote in favour of a United States moved resolution against it at the on-going United Nations Human Rights Council session.

In an editorial titled 'Muddying the waters the Indian way', the pro-government The Island daily said, "It was only the other day that the Indian government made it very clear that it was opposed to the any country specific resolution at the UNHRC."

"We thought India had taken a principled stand on the issue," the editorial added. The paper dubs the Indian decision as endorsement of the US double standards on human rights and questions, "What are India's real objectives that Prime Minister Singh says his government is trying to achieve through its support for the US resolution?".

On Monday, speaking in Parliament Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said India was "inclined to" vote in favour of a resolution at the UN that would advance "our objectives" with regard to the future of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The independent Daily Mirror with its lead captioned 'India inclined to vote for US motion' reports that the Indian decision has left fresh hurdles for Sri Lanka to clear in Geneva. (The decision) "has seriously impeded the country's efforts to defeat the resolution".

It adds that the Indian decision had sent a message to those countries which were on the fence, "Hence it could erode Sri Lanka's vote base".

The paper quotes the foreign secretary K Amunugama as saying that Sri Lanka was assured of enough support to defeat the resolution in spite of the change in the Indian stance. "India is an independent sovereign nation. It will make decisions based on its internal politics," he said.

The daily also ran a comment by the leader of the JVP or the People's Liberation Front who in 1987 adopted a very anti-Indian policy over Rajiv Gandhi's accord with the then Sri Lankan president Junius Jayawardena.

Somawansa Amerasinghe says that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wanted to manage the Sri Lankan problem to safeguard Indian interests and the Congress party follows this policy to this day.

The 'Ceylon Today' daily reported that the senior minister Dinesh Gunawardena as saying that it was surprising that countries are "backtracking" without appreciating government's efforts towards reconciliation.

"Sri Lanka it would seem will be reeling from the shock of this announcement for a few days", the paper's editorial opined.

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