Manmohan writes to MR

India has tried its best to ensure an “element of balance” in a US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka that it backed, Prime Minister Manmohan said in a letter to Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa in an apparent effort to mollify a possibly miffed neighbour.

However, Singh also underscored the need for achieving a lasting political settlement that will address the grievances of minority Tamil community, who were the target of much of the alleged human rights violations and war crimes by the Sri Lankan army.

“I had instructed our delegation to remain in close contact with its Sri Lanka counterparts in an attempt to find a positive way forward. Your Excellency would be aware that we spared no effort and were successful in introducing an element of balance in the language of the resolution,” Singh said.

India was among 24 countries which voted in support of the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday however media reports said it had worked behind the scenes to tweak the document to make it “non-intrusive”.

Sri Lanka on Saturday warned India of possible repercussions, saying “some countries” or groups might use the vote on Sri Lanka as a precedence to bring a similar resolution on India over the Kashmir dispute, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported

In the letter, which suggests that Rajapaksa had written to him three days before the vote, Singh noted that both countries had discussed the way ahead to a political solution that will address all outstanding issues, in particular the grievances of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, in a spirit of understanding and mutual accommodation.

“It is our conviction that a meaningful devolution package, building upon the 13th Amendment, would lead towards a lasting political settlement on many of these issues and create conditions in which all citizens of Sri Lanka, irrespective of their ethnicity, can find justice, dignity, equality and self-respect,” Singh said.

In his letter to the Sri Lankan President published by India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Singh said that he was happy to learn about the country’s intention to continue the process of implementing the recommendations of its domestic civil war inquiry commission LLRC.

He reiterated the progress made by the two countries, over the last three years, in the immediate tasks of relief and rehabilitation for those displaced by the conflict, as well as the more long-term effort of reconstruction of national infrastructure.

“Much important progress has been registered on this front and I wish to record my appreciation of the assistance your government has provided to various Indian agencies implementing projects of national significance on the ground in Sri Lanka,” he said.

The Prime Minister also assured Rajapaksa that India will continue its engagement with the shared objective of building a stable, secure and prosperous environment in Sri Lanka for all the welfare of all communities and the strengthening of ties between the two countries. (IBNS)

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