A day after India voted against Sri Lanka and supported US' resolution, India's envoy to the United Nations Dilip Sinha in Geneva tells NDTV that the resolution ensures Sri Lanka's sovereignty is respected.
Here is the entire conversation:
NDTV: It's being said that India had domestic compulsions which is why it voted for this draft resolution, but doesn't India also subscribe to the spirit of this resolution?
Dilip Sinha: This resolution is titled 'Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka'. This resolution is in line with our own belief in human rights, in the role of the Human Rights Council, as also with the kind of relationship we are promoting with Sri Lanka and we also are promoting reconciliation within the country
NDTV: It was said that India did try to make further amendments to the draft resolution but in the end there was only a small change made. Is that correct? What are the other changes you would have liked to see made to this resolution?
Dilip Sinha: This resolution as it was earlier had major issues which we took up with the sponsors of the resolution in order to ensure that the role that the Human Rights Commissioner was being given or was being urged to play in Sri Lanka was in line with the procedure adopted in the Human Rights Council. This is with regard to technical assistance being provided by the High Commissioner. The Human Rights Council envisages that such assistance should be provided with the consent of the concerned country. This was very important principal for us and was very important to us and we wanted to ensure it stayed within the resolution.
The other was that the report that the High Commissioner for Human Rights would be giving would be on the assistance that she would be rendering to Sri Lanka. This ensures that the principal of domestic procedures and the sovereignty of Sri Lanka is respected and also the assistance being provided is with the concurrence of Sri Lanka.
NDTV: Do you think the resolution as it stands now is a fairly mild one or is there a strong message that the international community has nevertheless sent to Sri Lanka?
Dilip Sinha: This resolution is not judgmental resolution. It is a declaratory resolution. It's an exhortative resolution. It exhorts the government of Sri Lanka to do certain things that the government of Sri Lanka itself is committed to. This resolution is also in line with the resolution of 2009 which NAM had moved and which India had played a very prominent role in with support of Sri Lanka. All the processes that the resolution invites Sri Lanka to do are processes inside the country; they are national processes so it is not as if there is anything being imposed
NDTV: There were 24 countries along with India who voted for the resolution. But 23 countries supported Sri Lanka in a way as 15 voted against the resolution and 8 abstained. Does that mean India wasn't part of an overwhelming majority in voting for the resolution?
Dilip Sinha: We see ourselves as equally in the camp of those who supported Sri Lanka. We see this resolution as supportive of Sri Lanka rather than against it.