torsdag 17. juli 2014


Civil Society Coalition for JUSTICE AND PEACE No. 9, Lyn Wood Lane, Mahalingapuram, Chennai – 600034 To Honorable. Mrs. Sushma Swaraj Minister of External Affairs Government of India New Delhi Madam, Sub: War crimes in Sri Lanka – continuing human rights violations – reassessment of India’s Foreign Policy with Sri Lanka – regarding ------------ We congratulate you for taking over the office of the Ministry of External affairs. You are taking charge at a historical time. India’s security is under serious threat. There is aggression by Pakistan in the western border due to the strained relationship between our country and Pakistan. China is creating ruckus in the northeast border and had occupied our land. What is disturbing is that a small country like Burma also showed signs of disobedience. To cap it all Sri Lanka had openly shaken hands with China and let the Chinese defense officials visit Triconmalee Port and Kachatheevu. These are not just signs of threat to Indian security. These are evidences of a failing foreign affairs policy. China wants to end India’s dominance in the Indian Ocean. The Sri Lankan issue had come as a shot in the arm for China. Sri Lanka had always been subordinate to India. After the elimination of LTTE, Sri Lanka had totally changed its attitude towards India and the Tamils. India believed that it is vital to establish peace in the island to have a stable government in Sri Lanka. In turn a stable government in Sri Lanka is essential for India to conduct its defense maneuvers in Indian Ocean. What India had forgotten is that there cannot be peace without justice. India under the leadership of United Progressive Alliance, participated and collaborated in the war crimes perpetrated by Sri Lankan Army that culminated in mass massacre of the innocents in May 2009, India has been rock-like in defending and protecting Sri Lanka in all International fora. This policy is failing India. India’s foreign policy architecture is coterie-driven, mired in secrecy and lacks the depth and breadth of stakeholder participation and Parliamentary oversight, an essential element in any democracy. The appalling fiasco in Sri Lanka is testimony to this and India may have to pay a very heavy price in terms of national security and integration unless the new central government acts and act fast. Father of Indian diplomatic policies is Jawaharlal Nehru. A great statesman he was he designed an excellent policy and stood by it. Mrs. Indira Gandhi followed his footsteps and treaded carefully. The height of her career was the victory over Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh. But the present situation is far from satisfactory. Honorable Sri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the only other man who was proactive in drawing the foreign policy during his time. We, as civil society are disturbed by the ‘gang up’ of our neighbours Pakistan, China, Burma and Sri Lanka. The Government of India may feign ignorance of the happenings by gifting warships to Sri Lanka and signing trade facts with Burma. But the truth is in the open. The unholy relationship between China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka was evident in the way they supported Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Council. If India does not openly admit these facts and seriously review its foreign policy the nation will be put in to danger from enemies. It is time for review, evaluation and redesigning of our foreign affairs policy. Madam, we believe you will make a change. You have a reputation for being a confident, knowledgeable person, willing to change and make changes. India has not been following a nuanced foreign policy in Sri Lanka that would render justice to the war torn Tamils while safeguarding our security interests. Instead, driven more by parochial prejudices and commercial interests, India’s foreign policy and national security mandarins have succeeded in alienating the Tamils, who occupy two-third of the island’s coastal area, without endearing the Sinhalese in any manner. Sri Lanka has thus been handed on a platter to the China-Pakistan axis thereby jeopardising India’s maritime security. In March 2014, when everyone who have been keenly following the Sri Lankan affairs expected India to vote for the US sponsored resolution seeking International Investigations on war crimes India abstained after giving an unwanted moral preaching at the 25th UNHRC in Geneva. In all there were three voting on the 27th of March 2014. The first one was on a vote sought by Pakistan to ascertain whether there were enough finances in the UNHRC to conduct an International Inquiry and wanted the resolution to be deferred for a year. India which had announced abstention jumped into action and voted for the Pakistan sponsored motion. The second vote was also sought by Pakistan to remove operative paragraph 10 (OP10) seeking an International inquiry. India once again voted along with Pakistan, China, Russia and Cuba to remover OP 10. But on the third vote seeking the passing of the resolution sponsored by the USA, India abstained. This did not help Sri Lanka since the Resolution was passed with good majority and the International Investigation is on. Shockingly India is again taking a stand that it is opposing international investigation into Sri Lankan war crimes. This is indeed unfortunate since now is the time for Delhi establishment to wash off the stigma of its foreign policy failure in Sri Lanka. Considering the fact that Sri Lankan government has repeatedly betrayed its trust, misplaced though it may be, India should support the investigation and adopt a proactive role to facilitate the ‘credible international investigation’ to succeed. This step, besides enhancing India’s reputation worldwide would also render justice to Sri Lankan Tamils could greatly contribute to our maritime security. People of India had voted for change and given a historical verdict. We submit that the government stands up to that high expectation and puts its heart and mind for a change in India’s policy towards Sri Lanka in every spear. Considering all these facts, we submit on behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu to act to render justice to the Sri Lankan Tamils and thus bring back peace in the island nation and strengthen India’s security. To facilitate this Indian Government under the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi should consider nominating an independent person as Special Representative for Sri Lanka to go into all aspects of the Indo-Sri Lankan relations, outstanding and vexing issues like fishing, enter into dialogue with concerned parties in India and SL and come out with a comprehensive solution-oriented blueprint and oversee its implementation. This could enthuse the Tamils and lead to an early healing of the festering wound that could otherwise turn into gangrene. Thanking you, Yours truly, CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION FOR JUSTICE & PEACE TAMILN


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